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Yale Archival Management Systems Committee: Accessioning

Accessioning - Overview

As we began the process of implementing ArchivesSpace at Yale, the accessions module was the first that we reviewed in detail. As a result of this analysis, we identified a few crucial areas that required further development before we could ensure continuity of business practice at Yale (and in particular at the Beinecke library).

  • We needed finer control over who could edit accession records in order to better secure our accessions data.
  • We needed advanced search functionality in the staff interface (not just the public interface) in order to support sophisticated staff use of accession data.
  • We needed to be able to generate a variety of reports specific to accessioning in order to support a wide range of staff use cases.
  • We needed to be able to import MARCXML records as accessions (not just as resources) in order to improve the efficiency of our printed accessioning program.
  • We needed to be able to import records directly from OCLC WorldCat via their API in order to improve the efficiency of our printed accessioning program.
  • We needed to be able to spawn copies of existing accession records in order to improve the efficiency of our printed accessioning program .
  • We needed to be able to create accession-to-accession relationships in order to reflect the sibling and part relationships that many of our accessions have to each other.
  • We needed to implement a strict scheme for system-generated accession identifiers in order to ensure unique, meaningful identifiers across all repositories.
  • We needed to be able to capture complex information documenting payments in order to fully record the financial transactions that generate a majority of our accessions.
  • We needed to be able to record “material type” codes in order to migrate data in our current systems and support specific search strategies.

The plug-ins profiled below let us do each of the functions on this list.

OCLC Bibliographic Record Importer Plug-In

This plugin allows us to import bibliographic records from WorldCat as accessions in ArchivesSpace. This is accomplished via the WorldCat Metadata API.

The ultimate aim of this plug-in is to allow streamlined workflows across bibliographic and archival accessioning.

The video below is a demonstration of how an OCLC record can be imported as an accession record.

Accession Identifiers Plug-In

This plugin modifies the four-part accession identifier. The first part is restricted to fiscal year (based on the accession date), the second part is a department code selected from an enumerated list, and the third is a system-generated sequential four-digit number for each department and fiscal year. The fourth segment is suppressed.

This means that (other than specifying your department code), the accession identifier is system-generated and far more error proofed.

Here's what it looks like during data entry:

And after saving, you see that the next available accession number is populated.

The department list is configurable.

This plug-in is availble on github, here.

Material Types Plug-In

This plug-in allows the accessioning archivist to note the various material types present in a given accession.

Additionally, staff can set a default, prepopulated materail type from this list if they so choose. This may be useful to departments that assign accessioning responsibilities to staff based on material types.

This plug-in is available on github, here.

Payments Module Plug-In

This plugin allows us to add payment information to our accession records. A given accession record can have one Payment Summary subrecord, which can then have zero or more associated Payment records. Together these capture the financial details of our purchased accessions, including price, invoice number, fund code, currency, etc.

This plug-in is available on Github, here.