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How to create an accession record in ArchivesSpace

  1. Provide a DACS-compliant title to the collection. This should include the name of the creator (if known) and type of materials it contains. 
  2. A more general description can be used when the collection contains multiple different formats. For example:
    1. Use “papers” for a personal collection containing documents, photographs, and VHS.
    2. Use “photographs” for a personal collection containing prints, negatives, and slides.
    3. Use “records” for collections of businesses or organizations with multiple types of material.
  3. Provide an identifier. This should be the date the Archives received the item in the form of YYYY-MM-DD. If more than one item was received on the same day, add letters as suffixes in the fourth box. For example, for the above accession, if it was the second accession of the day, the identifier would be 2024-01-18-b.
  4. Write the accession date.
  5. Briefly describe the item(s) in Content Description. This should include subjects, locations, and extent (if known). At minimum, it’s helpful to have a box count.
  6. Ignore the Condition Description box unless something is of significant note (e.g., mold or vinegar syndrome suspected, water or pest damage noted, etc.). 
  7. If immediately transferring some items to other departments in the library or beyond, note that in Disposition. You can ignore Inventory.
  8. Under Provenance, describe where the collection came from and how it ended up at the Archives. If a deed was signed, mention that here. You can ignore Retention Rule and General Note.
  9. Under Acquisition Type, select the option that best describes how the collection was left at the Archives. If it was gifted to the Archives with a signed deed of gift, select Gift. If it was left here by an organization that retains ownership of the records, select Deposit. If it was transferred from another part of the library or another archives, select Transfer.
  10. Ignore everything except Language of Description and Script of Description. These should be English and Latin, respectively.
  11. Jump down to Dates. Fill in with as much information as you have. You can ignore Era and Calendar.
  12. Jump to Extents. Use cubic feet to guess about how much of the collection there is. Under Container Summary, enter the quantity and type of container the collection is in.
  13. Jump to Instances. Next to Top Container, click Create.
  14. In Container Type, select the most appropriate option. It will usually be Box or Folder.
  15. In Indicator, type a number for each distinctive item of that type. For example, if you have 1 folder, select Folder in Container Type and type 1 in Indicator. If you have 3 boxes, choose Box and type 1-3. Group these as they will be stored in a location. If you’re going to store boxes 1-2 in a different location from box 3, create two separate Top Containers (Box 1-2 and Box 3).
  16. Click Add Location. Browse for the location you want. Once selected, save it and click Click and Link to the Top Container. If you don’t have a location, you can leave this blank, but it’s best practice to have some location listed so we always know where to find items.
  17. Click Save Accession. You did it!

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