Resources for Members

Still have questions about Archival Resources of the Virginias? Explore our FAQs, EAD (Encoded Archival Description) best-practices tutorials, and membership information below to help you get started.


Creating a finding aid for ARVAS

ARVAS finding aids are created using Encoded Archival Description or EAD. We are currently using Version 2002. There are multiple ways to create an EAD finding aid.

  • You can create one manually.
  •  You can use the clip library, maintained by ARVAS in GitHub and NoteTab text editor.
  • You can use the DACS-compliant form (you fill in the mandatory and any optional fields you choose, and we will return an XML file to you).
  • ArchivesSpace users can have their finding aids automatically harvested. Contact Kira Dietz if you want to get set up!
How do I upload a finding aid to ARVAS?
  1. Go to the Administrative site and click on "Admin Upload."
    • It will prompt you to enter your institution's username and password
  2. Click on “choose file”
  3. Locate the file (you can only upload one file at a time!)
  4. Click “upload”
    • The default schema type that is listed. You should not change the schema type unless you are working with EAD3.
  5. The system will attempt to validate your file.
    • If you get a green box with a link to your finding aid, you’re all set!
    • If you get a yellow box with a message and a link to your finding aid, there are things you may want to change in your code, but the file is considered valid.
    • If you get a red box, there will be an error message (or messages) and no link. If you can’t figure out how to fix the file or don’t understand the message, please copy the message or take a screenshot and contact the chair of the Technology Team, Kira Dietz. Or you can post your question to the VIVA SC list ( or to the ARVAS Slack Channel.

If your finding aids are harvested from ArchivesSpace then they will be added automatically.

How do I update a finding in ARVAS?
  • You can override a file in the database by uploading a new version with the same identifier (MARC code + number, exs. viblbv01986 or vi00399)
  • Updated files can immediately be accessed using the link directly, but this system re-indexes at night, so any new changes will not be found in a database search until the following day.
  • If your finding aids are harvested from ArchivesSpace changes will appear the following day after the system re-indexes.
How do I delete a file from ARVAS?
  • At this time, you cannot delete a file yourself. If you need something permanently removed, please provide the identifier(s) for anything you need to be deleted to Kira Dietz. She can remove them.
  • Updated files will disappear from the database when they are removed, but the system reindexes at night so that they may appear in search results for up to 24 hours.
How do I see a list of all my organization's EAD files?

Log in to the administrative site and click on "published directory" on the ribbon menu.

Files are also available on the GitHub site:

Where do I find use statistics for my organization's finding aids?

ARVAS has a dashboard feature that displays:

  • Number of unique visitors
  • Number of returning visitors
  • Time spent on site
  • Most common referrers
  • Most popular finding aids

The statistics are shown by day, month, year, or a specific date range. View the dashboard for your organization by logging into the administrative site and click "dashboard" on the ribbon menu.

Please note that the dashboard can be slow to update when you change the parameters. Contact Kira Dietz if you have any questions or issues.

How do I update my logo, address, contact info, etc.?

Finding aids created using the clip library have a logo and address files containing an institution's information. Rather than adding that information every time a finding aid is created, the information is stored, and a URL points to the information. To change that information, contact  Mike Durbin

If similar information is in your Institutional Profile, please contact so that the Outreach Team can update your information.

Useful Links

Promotional Material

Looking for an easy way to share information about ARVAS? Use this rack card. Print it out or send it electronically. ARVAS_card

Front view of the rack card.
Front view of the ARVAS rack card

ARVAS Sessions

Note: The member sessions are currently on hiatus. If you have suggestions for a future session please email

As an added benefit for our members, ARVAS is now hosting regular sessions to address topics of interest. These range from open sessions to communicate with members about ARVAS and to answer questions and received feedback, to presentations on tools and workflows for creating finding aids. The standing time for the sessions is the first Thursday of the month at 11 am. Some of the sessions are recorded and you can access them here.

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Encoded Archival Description (EAD) Tutorials

This series of four screencasts instruct users on creating EAD finding aids using NoteTab Light and the clip library. Questions? Contact

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Interested in joining?

  • How can my organization become a contributor to Archival Resources of the Virginias?
  • What is my organization’s MARC code?
  • What’s my organization’s username and password?
    • If you don’t have your organization’s username and password to upload finding aids, contact Steve Majewski. He can help you get or reset your password.

Membership is free to libraries, museums, colleges, universities, and other cultural institutions that have archival holdings they wish to share.

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