Update on ArchivesSpace PUI

Many of you may be familiar with YFAD, the Yale Finding Aids Database. The Library developed YFAD locally several years ago, and the system is showing its age. After a few years of intense technical development, a new discovery interface for ArchivesSpace is available for implementation. Yale implemented ArchivesSpace as an archival management tool for staff several years ago, and with it for the first time, a standard tool used across almost all libraries, museums, and galleries on campus with archival materials. The extension of the ArchivesSpace platform to include a public user interface will provide new opportunities for systems integration, more seamless staff workflows, and an improved user experience for researchers.

The project at Yale to implement the ArchivesSpace discovery had a three month preplanning process, involving the project sponsors and administrative stakeholders. Melissa Wisner, Senior Systems Librarian in Library IT, serves as the Project Manager. Mark Custer, Archivist and Metadata Coordinator at Beinecke, serves as an ex officio member due to his role as Project Manager for the technical development and design phase. The project is sponsored by E.C. Schroeder, Director of Beinecke Library and Associate University Librarian, and Chris Weideman, Director of the Department of Manuscripts and Archives, and has a roster of approximately 30 staff members, and a larger number of stakeholders.

There is significant work to accomplish along with preparations for changes before the debut of the new service to users. The plan is to begin with a soft-rollout of the new discovery interface, while continuing to keep YFAD available. There will be a period when both tools are available through the Library website as final adjustments are made for the transition from YFAD to ArchivesSpace. As of today, the project team anticipates an early 2018 soft-launch.

The following working groups comprise the ArchivesSpace project team:

  • Public User Interface Enhancements & Ideas, led by Alison Clemens
  • Data Cleanup & Enhancement, led by Alicia Detelich and Christy Tomecek
  • Staff Training & Documentation, led by Emily DiLeo
  • Technical Integrations, led by Steve Wieda
  • Usability & Accessibility, led by Jenn Nolte
  • Marketing & Branding, led by Mike Morand

Several different tools to organize and manage the work and communication of the project are being used: Asana for the project plan, a Slack channel for day-to-day project team communication, Google Drive for file sharing, GitHub, and the local Yale ArchivesSpace email distribution list. Monthly updates on progress will be sent to Yulib. Project team members will post details about the project and aspects of project management to the Yale ArchivesSpace blog on a regular basis.

The monthly All Project Member/Stakeholder meetings are open to everyone with an interest in the new user interface, special collections, or an interest in teaching users about finding aids, archives, and special collections at Yale. The meeting for October is Tuesday Oct. 31 in Bass Library L01 & L02 from 3-4pm.

For more information about the ArchivesSpace project, visit the YAMS LibGuide or the ArchivesSpace blog. This month’s post by Melissa Wisner focuses on project management: Implementing the ArchivesSpace PUI: A Before Action Review.


Morris holdings now appear in Quicksearch!

The best way to view this new feature is to search for a law-related topic like ‘Human Rights Law’ in Quicksearch, http://search.library.yale.edu.

In the Search Results list you will now see real-time availability information.    A red ‘x’ appears if the title is checked out, and a green check mark displays if the title is available.


In the individual holdings screen, you can see the location, call number, and status of the title pulled directly in real time from Morris.


This is an important milestone in the Quicksearch project ;  the two Yale Library catalogs, Orbis and Morris, are both now fully represented in Quicksearch.

HydraCamp at Yale

Earlier last month, members of Yale Library IT as well as colleagues from around campus and from other institutions attended Hydra Camp at Yale.

The group Data Curation Experts held the week long training in the Bass Library Instruction room L01. The training wrapped up on Friday March 13th with an Advanced Blacklight Workshop.

Some members of Yale Library IT who attended share their reflections below:

  • What Hydra-related projects are you currently working on?

Eric James
I’m working on Findit, Kissinger, and the future Sufia/Spotlight instances

Kalee Sprague
I work on two Hydra/Blacklight related projects: the Blacklight-based Quicksearch unified search project and the Findit Hydra/Blacklight project

Lakeisha Robinson
I’ve worked on three Hydra/Blacklight projects: Findit, Quicksearch and Kissinger.

Tracy MacMath
I work on the Findit Hydra/Blacklight (Kissinger) project, and will soon be working on the Blacklight-based Quicksearch unified search project.

Jenn Nolte
I do external (non-development) work on the Quicksearch beta project, which is powered by Blacklight.

  • Name three things about HydraCamp that you liked or think will help you with your work:

Eric James
I don’t know if I can name 3 things, but one is I found it helpful how Mark Bussey shared his personal process working with Hydra.

Kalee Sprague
Three things I liked about HydraCamp include:

The introduction to how RDF will fit into the new Fedora4 environment was very useful, especially the examples Drew Myers from WGBH gave showing their work converting PBCore to RDF.  This provided an early road map for our own conversion from XML based Fedroa3 to RDF based Fedora4.

Demos of some of the new Blacklight plugins gave me some interesting ideas for things that could be done in the future in both the Quicksearch and Findit interfaces, including a date slider and gallery view.

I really liked the connections that we made with our colleagues at other institutions that are doing similar implementations; it’s always easier to solve problems if you have good contacts at other institutions, and HydraCamp really strengthens those ties.

Lakeisha Robinson
Here are the things I liked most about HydraCamp:

Recommendations for easier upgrades.

Suggestions for tools to aid in efficient workflow practices.

Clarity on certain pieces of code.

Tracy MacMath

HydraCamp helped me better understand the Hydra stack and how each component interacts with the others.

It was also good to learn a little about databases in Hydra/Fedora, especially how they differ from the relational databases I’ve worked with in the past.

 Finally, it was nice to see Hydra/Blacklight/Sufia implementations from other institutions and learn about the Hydra/Blacklight communities. These are great resources, especially since we’ll be upgrading soon.

Jenn Nolte
I did not attend the whole HydraCamp, just the Blacklight session on Friday. To go through the motions of setting up a virtual machine and getting a Blacklight project up and running was really helpful (and fun!). It isn’t the type of thing I get to work on often and it puts a larger context around the work I do to collaborate with my colleagues in LIT.

  • Any other comments on HydraCamp?

Lakeisha Robinson
In general, I did like the HydraCamp this year and I think it helped a lot.

Tracy MacMath
I found HydraCamp to be particularly valuable because I am new to Hydra (and digital repository development in general).