Contributed by: Scott Hanrath, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Discovery Services, University of Kansas Libraries


The Technical Documentation sub-team of the ArchivesSpace Technical Advisory Council (TAC) seeks to make sure that the technical documentation for ArchivesSpace meets the needs of the community. The technical documentation is intended to help developers and IT staff install, maintain, and customize ArchivesSpace. We work with other TAC teams, developers, the ArchivesSpace program staff, and the community to identify gaps in the technical documentation, make improvements, and in general help keep the documentation up to date.

The 2017-2018 sub-team is Bobbi Fox (Harvard University), Scott Hanrath (University of Kansas), Rachel Maderik (Virginia Military Institute), Dallas Pillen (University of Michigan), and Trevor Thornton (North Carolina State University). We’ve also benefitted this year by the regular participation of ArchivesSpace Technical Lead Laney McGlohon. The sub-team meetings via roughly monthly calls and post our notes online.

In our 2017-2018 Work Plan we set goals of enhancing general ArchivesSpace provisioning documentation, improving documentation for creating and using plugins, and encouraging community contribution to the technical documentation in general. In support of those goals, our major activity this year has been to explore migrating the technical documentation out of the ArchivesSpace application GitHub repository into a separate, stand-alone repository, and pilot a workflow for maintaining the documentation through pull requests and GitHub issues.

The current ArchivesSpace Technical documentation is generated from Markdown files distributed throughout the application’s GitHub repository. The Tech Docs sub-team has created a new GitHub repository where we’ve moved and re-organized the documentation files. We hope that the new repository will make it easier for the community to contribute to the documentation. Needs or questions can be submitted as GitHub issues. Edits and additions can be submitted directly via pull-requests. Our sub-team has piloted this process this year, reviewing and merging pull requests submitted by team members. We’ve added more information on configuring HTTPS and working with subdomains, and expanded basic plugin information.

Technical Documentation sub-team’s GitHub repository

This year the sub-team has focused on the content of the technical documentation, leaving the presentation as basic rendered Markdown files. A future iteration of the group may turn some attention to improving the presentation of the documentation.

The sub-team invites the ArchivesSpace community to review the re-organized technical documentation at https://github.com/archivesspace/tech-docs and especially encourage contributions to improve the technical documentation. Feel free to reach out to any member of the team with questions.


Scott Hanrath is Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Discovery Services at the University of Kansas Libraries.  He serves on the Technical Documentation and Testing sub-teams of the ArchivesSpace Technical Advisory Council.

All About Community is a blog series that highlights the many teams and groups that contribute to the growth and development of ArchivesSpace. This series aims to provide insight on how our diverse community comes together with a shared vision to preserve permanently valuable records and provide access to our researchers.

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