1. What is ArchivesSpace?
Think of it as a library catalog, only instead of searching for books, it allows you to search for archival materials.
ArchivesSpace is a searchable database for unique, historical items. It has a public interface that you can search, and a staff interface that allows us to catalog and describe our collections in ways that facilitate searching.
2. What can I find in ArchivesSpace?
Lots of different things! Beloit College Archives is the final home for the organizational and business records of the college, which include things like financial records, meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, and the papers of all past Beloit College Presidents. We also hold a diverse assortment of manuscript collections from faculty, staff, and students, that document their Beloit College experiences. Many collections contain historic promotional materials, memorabilia, photographs, scrapbooks, and audio-visual materials.
Currently, between one-half to two-thirds of Beloit College's collections can be searched via ArchivesSpace. The rest are being added gradually, as time permits.
3. What won't I find in ArchivesSpace?
ArchivesSpace allows users to search inventories and descriptions (also called "finding aids") that help navigate a collection. Our finding aids vary in style and depth of detail depending on the collection, but their common purpose is to describe and enable access to our archival and manuscript collections.
ArchivesSpace does NOT include copies of digitized materials from the Archives. To see some materials from the Archives that have been digitized, please visit the Beloit College Digital Collections website.
Additionally, ArchivesSpace does not contain rare books and special collection materials. Catalog records for these materials can be searched in on our library online catalog.
4. Who developed ArchivesSpace?
Development on ArchivesSpace began in 2009 when representatives of New York University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of California San Diego, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation agreed to integrate the Archivists' Toolkit and Archon into a single application in order to increase overall functionality within a single application and to optimize sustainability of the application. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation provided generous funding for the first two phases of the ArchivesSpace program.
5. Who manages ArchivesSpace?
ArchivesSpace is a program with a current staff of 3 FTE, a community of over 300 members, and three administrative groups: a Governance Board (elected), a Technical Advisory Council (appointed), and a User Advisory Council (appointed) - and published bylaws. LYRASIS is the organizational home for ArchivesSpace, and is who Beloit College uses to host our ArchivesSpace instance.
1. What do the colorized icons in the search results mean?
When performing searches in ArchivesSpace, you will see each item classified with a color coded type. These include:
1. Why can't I find archives materials in the library catalog?
Libraries specialize in providing access to collections of books and other print or non-print materials. Archives specialize in providing access to both published and unpublished materials which can be in any format. Materials in archives are typically unique, specialized, or rare, meaning very few of them exist in the world. Many times, they are the only items of their kind. Since archival materials are unique, archives have guidelines for how people may use collections. This is to protect the items from damage and theft, so that we may keep them available for posterity.
2. Why can't I find individual documents in ArchivesSpace?
Archivists organize materials in ways that make them easier for users to use them for research purposes. There are typically five levels of arrangement - by repository, collection, series, folder, and item. Most archives arrange and describe records only to the folder level. Since a single archival collection can have thousands of individual documents, it can be impossible to provide item-level access.