Contributed by: John Zarrillo, Senior Archivist, New York University


The Documentation sub-team of the ArchivesSpace Users Advisory Council is charged with writing and updating documentation to assist users of the ArchivesSpace application. This includes the online User Manual, screencasts, and video tutorials. Our goal is to assist all ArchivesSpace users, regardless of technical expertise.

The 2017-2018 sub-team consisted of Jasmine Jones (UCLA), Miloche Kottman (University of Kansas), Sue Luftschein (University of Southern California), Brittany Newberry (Robert W. Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center), Jamie Weeks (Weber State University), and John Zarrillo (New York University). Ann Merryman (University of South Carolina Upstate) was also a member for a portion of the term. Additionally, UAC Chair Suzanne Stasiulatis and ArchivesSpace Community Engagement Coordinator Christine Kim assisted the sub-team with their work throughout the year.

User Manual Review

Our primary focus this past year was a revision of the ArchivesSpace User Manual. Each section was reviewed by two Documentation sub-team members to ensure that the manual was up to date. Some sections received minor tweaks, while others required major revisions. Outdated screenshots were replaced and we attempted to use more uniform language throughout the manual. During the review process we found that many sections referred exclusively to older versions of the application and were no longer relevant to most users. To streamline the manual and avoid confusion, we decided to “archive” these sections. They are still available via the manual’s search function, but no longer appear in the manual’s table of contents. Finally, Jasmine Jones suggested that a “last modified” date be added to each section, which was implemented earlier this year.

Public User Interface Tooltips

Earlier this year an ArchivesSpace user submitted a JIRA ticket requesting tooltip definitions for terms found in the Public User Interface. The tooltips would function exactly as they do in the staff interface, but the definitions should be written in a manner that is understandable by the general public. We assembled a list of terms and used existing resources, such as SAA’s A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology, the EAD Tag Library, and the Archives Hub Glossary as a starting point for the definitions. These definitions were tweaked to remove professional jargon, while others were developed and revised by Documentation team members themselves. Overall, we assembled a list of 75 terms and definitions and hope that this new feature will be implemented in the near future.

Improving User Documentation – A Call for Comments

This year, the Documentation sub-team is seeking input from the community in an effort to improve the application’s documentation.

  • Are there any sections of the manual that you would like to see improved?
  • Are there features of the application you find difficult to implement?
  • Is there a new type of screencast you’d like to see?
  • Do you have an idea for a completely new way of documenting ArchivesSpace?

Please let us know! Use this form to submit your comments and ideas.We will also be hosting on Twitter chat on August 8th from 11am-12pm PDT (2pm-3pm EDT) and 6pm-7pm PDT (9pm-10pm EDT). The chat will be hosted by @ArchivesSpace. Please use the hashtag #aspacedoc to tag your questions/comments.


John Zarrillo is a Senior Archivist at New York University. He is currently the leader of the ArchivesSpace Users Advisory Council’s Documentation sub-team.

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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