ECU Pirate

Over the past two years, the East Carolina University Pirates have engaged in a large-scale migration project to evaluate, prep, and load data from several dispersed databases into ArchivesSpace. ECU has shared the journey, from careening data to sailing into production. By regularly posting their progress ECU aimed to empower you, the ArchivesSpace community, to know that you can do it, too.  And now ECU is weighing anchor and unveiling their new public user interface!

Weighing Anchor

Commandeering a ship can be a complex, difficult, and risky business. As pirates you’d think we’d prefer our migration to be a hit-and-run raid of data and turn-key solutions. Not us! Instead, we chose to survey our crew for their functional requirements and scout the shipping lanes for design inspiration. After months of testing the rigging, stockpiling sea biscuits, trimming out the galleries, and checking the jackstays, our new public user interface is under full sail!

ECU ArchivesSpace Public User Interface

Users will be quick to get their sea legs with new features such as the unification of all ECU Libraries archival collections, improved ease of use, highlighted search results, and even a little user-friendly humor.

ECU ArchivesSpace Public User Interface About page

But we didn’t stop at keel depth. Our interface includes a custom-built request system taking our project all the way to the crow’s nest!

ECU ArchivesSpace Public User Interface custom request button

In addition to requesting archival material, the in-house request system allows users to request Special Collection’s rare books as well as non-circulating material in the North Carolina Collection directly from the library catalog.

ECU ArchivesSpace Public User Interface request form

Curious about the code at the helm? On the public user interface, our EAD publication looks like a standard Carolina Two-Step: Export from ArchivesSpace, publish to the interface. Don’t be fooled, though, pirate tricks are running in the background! One bit of code programmatically matches component unique identifiers against digital objects, while another bit lets the interface talk to our authorities database to pull names and subjects as linked data.

ECU ArchivesSpace Public User Interface name authority functionality

In our request system, the program queries ArchivesSpace for the location codes of top containers to generate call slips. The system also includes the ability to request material down to the item-level using the component unique identifier. This feature is invaluable when tracking through processes such as conservation, digitization, or exhibition! For example, the material being tracked below is folder c from collection 0323, box 2b.

ECU ArchivesSpace request information

Have a look around, mateys, and let us know what you think! Email your comments to

The address for our public user interface is

You can pillage our code at


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