Navigating Archival Collections

As we prepare to say goodbye to ArchivesUM, we look toward the future and how much better searching will be using our new Archival Collections database. Our previous blog post explored why we decided to adopt a new database for managing our finding aids. This post will provide tips for successful navigation within the new Archival Collections database.

Welcome to Archival Collections. The homepage provides some background on what users can expect to find using this search and helpful tips on how to request desired material for use.

Archival collections homepage
Archival collections homepage

Searching is super simple and results to keyword searches much improved. Advanced search is already included on the main page, but simple keyword search will yield great results.

On the results page, you will see individual items, folders, digital material or collections, related to your search term. Use the filters on the right hand side of the screen to limit your results by date, type or choose another filter. For more information or to find answers to frequently asked questions, visit our Archival Collections help page.

Archival Collections search results page
Archival Collections search results page

Once you find something that you would like to view, click the “Request” button in the top right column of the item record to view the box, and click “Request” again to import the information into your Special Collections Account.

Archival Collections item page
Archival Collections item page
Archival Collections box list page
Archival Collections box list page

Returning users will be prompted to login. If you are a new user, you will need to set up an account.

Special Collections Account login screen
Special Collections Account login screen

Once you have imported everything into your account, you will select the first group of up to 15 items or boxes that you would like to view in our reading room and schedule the date of your visit. Material can be requested on site, but it is recommended that you request material in advance of your visit in case it needs to be pre-screened or retrieved from Severn Library. Material can be placed on hold and quickly retrieved upon your arrival, allowing you to get right to your research.

Special Collections Account unsubmitted requests screen
Special Collections Account unsubmitted requests screen

For more information about any of these topics visit our Archival Collections help page.

Introducing new archival collection search!

We have some exciting news to share in Special Collections! After years of work behind the scenes, we are rolling out a new database to help you conduct research using our archival collections.

For the last 11 years, we have used a tool called ArchivesUM to provide access to our archival finding aids. The time has come to say goodbye to ArchivesUM. We are rolling out a new product, called ArchivesSpace, to help improve our user experience, database search-ability, information organization and indexing of our finding aids. ArchivesSpace is a an open source web application used by many other academic libraries for managing archives information.

ArchivesSpace helps us to move away form static, single-page finding aids to a dynamic database that will allow users to easily search by keyword, dates, names, and other useful terms. Users will be able to locate relevant collections, series, folders, and items returned in each search. We will outline more about features and tips over the coming weeks, so follow our blog to learn more.

Our staff has been working with ArchivesSpace for several years, using the back end system to help us organize information about our collections and prepare for the time when we were able to move forward with a new and improved public interface. We have been working with a group of librarians and technicians, both within the UMD Libraries and across the country, to continue to improve the system.

We are excited to announce that we will officially switch to our new discovery system January 28th. To see the upcoming changes, you can use the new Beta site link. More changes are still to come, and we would appreciate your help making those final changes. Please send us feedback as you use this new tool and help us make it even better.  

ArchivesSpace homepage screen shot from December 19, 2018
Beta site for the new finding aid database, official launch date is January 28, 2019