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Server Change + Some New Information!

As many Virginia Heritage members may know, we have been working on making a test server, which incorporates automated harvesting of ArchivesSpace instances to the database, our live site. We’ve still been working on some bugs and improvements for this version. We have also had an on-going security certificate issue. This week, however, Virginia Heritage was taken offline due to some surprise circumstances. In response, we opted to put the new server online, rather than experience a potential sustained downtime. So…

What does this mean for member institutions?

  • For ALL Virginia Heritage member institutions:
    • You will see a large increase in the available number of finding aids. That’s because the database includes manually uploaded files AND automatically harvested files. Figuring out how to de-duplicate the database in on the bug list.
    • Speaking of the bug list:
      • We know that this expedited change has created some bugs, display issues, feature requests, and questions.
      • We highly encourage you to report these in our new spreadsheet (h/t to the Outreach Team for hosting!). Please include the date, your name, and an explanation of the bug, issue, request, or your question. We ask that you review the list BEFORE submitting your item and if it relates to something on the list, use the “Additional Comments” field to add your input with your name.
      • VH Governance, Technology, and Outreach will work on prioritizing and updating our partners about progress on submitted items.
  • For Virginia Heritage member institutions who have supplied the Technology Team with an ArchivesSpace OAI-PMH harvestable interface:
    • Your finding aids are now automatically being ingested, updated, and re-index daily.
    • You do not need to upload new finding aids through the administrative site if you are publishing them in your ArchivesSpace instance. Please let me know ( if you have questions about this process, have ASpace and would like to be included, or want to know more.
    • You will see duplicate entries for finding aids you have previously added to VH, as well as your new files. We have not resolved the duplication process, but it is on our bug list.
  • For Virginia Heritage member institutions who are creating EAD files using the clip library, a template, or the Google form:
    • You may continue to upload them through the administrative site.*
    • *Since we have resolved the http/https certificate issue, a temporary fix that a few member institutions may have been using, should be reverted. If you use a template to create EAD files, and changed all your “https” to “http,” you will want to change you template back to “https” before uploading future files.
    • If you have an issue with the upload process or need help unpacking an error, please let me know ( and I can help troubleshoot.

What does this mean for Virginia Heritage users (internal and external)?

  • If you work with the public or search guides yourself, there are a few things to note (feel free to share these with researchers or point them to this post):
    • Search and browse functionality has not changed!
    • There are some additional organizations represented!
    • You will see duplicate entries for finding aids that were previously in the database and which are now being harvested automatically. This is not permanent–we will de-duplication the system–but if you see two records for the same collection, this is probably why.
    • Since the current database is also drawing from two sources, you will also see two additional finding aid publishers: Virginia Heritage (finding aids manually added to the original database) and ArchivesSpace (finding aids harvested directly from the organization). You can use these as filters or facets to limit your results until we de-duplicate the database.
    • You may see additional records for different type of materials, depending on what records institutions have published. For example, you will now find descriptive records for art, maps, and textiles housed at Virginia Tech Special Collections and University Archives, based on how they are using ArchivesSpace.
    • Some finding aids may look a little different or be formatted in different ways. Please be aware that some cosmetic changes may take longer, but we will be working on display improvements.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Please let me ( know and I can try to help. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we adapt on the fly and we’ll plan to use this space to communicate updates as we have them.

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