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Archival Processing Documentation: Assessments

Guide for UB Special Collections covering accessions, processing, description, and care of collection material.
Last Updated: Jun 6, 2024 4:13 PM

Using the Assessments Module
The assessments module [UB only link] in ArchivesSpace is used to evaluate both collections and documentation. There are publicly available webinars and training materials for this module, as well as documentation and sessions on specific use cases, such as surveying AV collections and using the module for reparative description.

Currently, UB Special Collections uses the module for the following purposes:
  • Survey of physical condition and documentation of any preservation or conservation treatment.
  • Survey of condition of digital content.
  • Conscious / reparative description * 
    • Review of description for completeness, with a particular focus on lack of description for materials about and/or created by historically underrepresented groups of people
    • Conscious editing / reparative description: Review of collection content or documentation (finding aid) with harmful language
For more resources on inclusive description:

In the Basic Information section, the assessment is linked to a record--in this case, a resource record.










In this section, we also record the surveyor...


... and purpose of the assessment.

In the Assessment Information section, there is the option to evaluate a number of criteria.






For this assessment, we focused on physical condition.

Just by selecting the material type/format, we can anticipate physical condition concerns or preservation needs.







In this case, the collection contained a garment that carried a strong smoke odor and required intervention to both stabilize humidity and eliminate the odor.






We used the conservation note to track the intervention and result.

For materials requiring conscious description or re-description, the Basic Information section will look similar...

...but we may also add a reviewer so that more than one archivist works on the description...






... and we will check the Sensitive Material box and indicate why these materials are being assessed--in this case, for conscious description and to evaluate for content warning.


In the Assessment Information section, we added a criterion, Candidate for reparative description. 





We elected not to use the scale to rate this, instead using 5 as YES.

List of Material Type/Format                                                                                       

Conservation Issues


When creating an assessment record for digital content, select Computer Storage units under the List of Material Types/Formats.








Conservation Issues for digital content include File Format Stability and Obsolete Storage Media.

File Format Stability: A file manifest is created and file formats are identified as needing migration for preservation or access reasons.

Obsolete Storage Media include 5 1/4-inch floppy disks, 3 1/2-inch floppy disks, Zipdisks, CDs, and DVDs.