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Archival Processing


The tabs below are arranged to mimic the main sections of data within the ArchivesSpace Resource Record. Browse the tabs for more detailed information on various sections and fields. If a field is not mentioned, it is likely meant to be left blank. Ask the Archivist if you have any information that is not accounted for in the selected fields. 

ArchivesSpace Data Fields


  • format to be DACS compliant
  • capitalize proper names and institutions
  • lower case pretty much everything else
  • examples:
    • Hambleton Project records
    • Adalbert G. Bettman papers
    • Pharmacy collection of Robert Ambrose (note this is a collection of pharmacy-related materials collected by Robert Ambrose -- not: Robert Ambrose Pharmacy Collections)
    • Frank B. Queen lantern slide collection (not: Frank B Queen Glass Lantern Slide Collection)


  • Enter collection/accession number

Level of Description

  • almost always "Collection" (you are describing this at the collection level)

Resource type

  • choose appropriate option for each record

Repository Processing Note

  • don't use this field; instead, enter a "Processing Note" in the Notes section, but do NOT publish that note
  • Make sure the date span is noted in both the “Expression” field and the “Begin” and “End” field for both Inclusive and Bulk dates at the collection level; don't worry about this issue at lower levels.


  • Generally, list the whole collection size in Linear Feet
  • Use the Container Summary section to describe the containers more specifically, as needed
  • Visit the Metrics tab for more information on measuring archival collections


  • This should be a unique file name, formatted as ohs_####-###.xml (where ####-### is the collection number and the same as the number in Basic Information>Identifier)
  • Example: ohs_2016-005.xml

EAD Location

  • URL of location on Archives West site
    • Formatted as
  • Check that the website loads; if not, double check you have the address correct

Finding Aid Title

  • Should read “Guide to the [Collection Title]"
    • use the DACS-compliant collection title as formed in Basic Information>Title
    • Example: Guide to the Pharmacy collection of Robert Ambrose

Finding Aid Filing Title

  • This should be formed to provide correct alphabetical filing of the finding aids – generally by the last name for personal names, or the first non-article word for institutions
  • Examples:
    • Hambleton Project records
    • Bettman (Adalbert G.) papers
    • Pharmacy collection of Robert Ambrose
    • Queen (Frank B.) lantern slide collection

Finding Aid Date

  • Only put the year, format as YYYY

Finding Aid Author

  • List your name here, or the names of all processors
  • Do not include text such as "Finding aid prepared by ..."

Description Rules

  • Choose "Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)" 

Language of Finding Aid

  • Most likely " Finding aid written in English."

Finding Aid Status

  • Choose appropriate option - most likely, Complete (if not, speak to the Archivist)
  • Link each Resource Record to its related Accession(s)
  • Mark the Accession(s) as Completed when appropriate (Collection Management > Add Field > Processing Status)
You are not permitted to create agent or subject terms; if you need a term not already in the database, please check with the Archivist


  • Agents are names of people and institutions related to creating or collecting the materials in the collection
  • Make sure the Creator agent is correct
  • Remember – not every name mentioned in the collection needs an Agent link – just the most prominent/important/significant WITHIN the collection (i.e. don’t mention Roosevelt simply because he signed one brief letter in a 20 ft. collection)


  • Similarly, subjects should document the topic/geographical area/record formats most prevalent in the collection – not every single little thing. Remember, there is (or will be or should be) an inventory of the records included that will supply more detailed information.
  • Some terms are entered multiple times as they serve multiple purposes; use the browse option to choose the correct one
    • Example: Oregon (which exists as both a topical term and a geographic term)
      • Is the collection ABOUT Oregon? Choose the topical term.
      • Is the collection FROM Oregon? Choose the geographical term.
  • Always add "Medicine and Health" (Archives West browsing term) for our collections
Do not use the label field for notes, with the exception of the Biographical/Historical note.

Biographical / Historical note

  • Make sure the “Label” field reads either “Biographical Note” (for a person’s papers or a collection about a person) or “Historical Note” (for an institution or a subject collection)
  • If the collection has both biographical and historical information combined, label it "Biographical and Historical Note"

Conditions Governing Access

  • If there are any restrictions noted, make sure to check the “Restrictions?” box under the basic information section
  • Standard notes are:
    • No restrictions: "There are no restrictions on access. This collection is open to the public."
    • If any restrictions exist: "Some materials in this collection may be restricted due to the presence of protected health information (PHI) or other confidential information. Please contact Historical Collections & Archives for more details regarding access."

Conditions Regarding Use

  • This is where any copyright or licensing notes should go, as well as any notes regarding intellectual property. 
  • If copyright status of the collection materials is specifically known, state that here. If unknown, use the standard statement below.
  • OHSU's standard note is:
    • OHSU Historical Collections & Archives (HC&A) is the owner of the original materials and digitized images in our collections, however, the collection may contain materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials. Consult with HC&A to determine if we can provide permission for use.

Preferred Citation

  • Format as “[Collection title], Collection Number [####-###], Oregon Health & Science University, Historical Collections & Archives"

Physical Location

  • Make sure the box for “Publish?” is not checked.

Processing Notes

  • The vast majority of Processing Notes are meant for internal information only - please mark any entries as unpublished unless the note is beneficial for the general public.
  • This is usually dealt with via import - see Importing to ArchivesSpace for more information