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Welcome to the Architypes Community Group

Welcome. The assumption being that you are here because you are passionate about archives digital, physical, or both, and how to describe them and their contents in a way that can be easily consumed by search engines and others.

Using structured data ontologies and vocabularies to describe archives and their contents is nothing new, but these approaches are often targeted for use by software and professionals in the archives community.  The intention of additionally using the vocabulary is to make those descriptions more readily understandable and discoverable in the wider world, leading to more discoverable archives.

The purpose of this group is to identify how the vocabulary, and its extensions, can be utilised to describe archives and their contents.  It is clear that there will be need for some new or enhanced types and properties to provide adequate descriptive capability for generally sharing information about an archive.  Hopefully we can form a consensus around a set of these that can become a proposal for an extension to the core vocabulary.

As a start, I believe we need to focus on five areas:

  1. Description of an archive – a collection of items
  2. Description of an archive – an organisation, institution or building
  3. The physical location of items in an archive/collection – in a folder, in a box, on a shelf, in a room – or in a file, in a directory, on a disc, on a server.
  4. The relationship between items – by date, subject, collector, creator, etc.
  5.  Item types that are often in archives that cannot be currently described using – candidates for discussion could include a letter or a diary.

In the near future I will add proposals into the wiki that have already been suggested from other areas that will give us a start on 2 & 3.  Meanwhile spread the word and invite others to join this group, start the conversation in the public mailing list, or if you have proposal suggestions add them to the wiki.

Richard Wallis


4 Responses to Welcome to the Architypes Community Group

  • Mark Matienzo

    Hi Richard – where is the wiki located? I’m not seeing link from the community group’s home page.


  • Asa Letourneau

    Great question Mark as I’m keen to find the wiki as well.


  • Richard Wallis

    Yes I’m wondering where the wiki went – will track it down and get it linked to.


  • Mark Custer

    This is a great set of assumptions to start off with. One thing that I would add is that it needs to include the term “aggregations” within its areas of focus, not just “items.” Most levels of archival description are not item-based, so that’ll be key in developing the extension for architypes.

    Here’s a typical example:

    The description doesn’t get any deeper here, but it’s not describing a single item. It’s describing an aggregation of materials related to Brendan Cleary (in this case, it’s a boxful of documents). Additionally, this description is only really useful when it inherits certain information from its ancestors in the EAD source file (e.g. information this aggregation of documents is described as part of the “Published Poetry and Translations by Author” series, which is part of the Editorial subfonds, within the Bloodaxe Books Archive fonds, which is held by Newcastle University.) These sorts of relationships are equally as important as defining other relationships according to date, subject, creator, etc.


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