ArchivesSpace README

Build StatusCoverage StatusCode Climate Stories in Ready Dependency Status

System requirements

  • Java 1.7 or 1.8.
  • At least 1024 MB RAM allocated to the application; at least 2 GB for optimal performance.
  • A supported browser

ArchivesSpace has been tested on Ubuntu Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.

MySQL is not required, but is strongly recommended for production use.

The embedded database is for testing purposes only. You should use MySQL for any data intended for production, including data in a test instance that you intend to move over to a production instance.

Getting started

The quickest way to get ArchivesSpace up and running is to download the latest distribution .zip file from the following URL:

You will need to have Java 1.6 (or newer) installed on your machine. You can check your Java version by running the command:

 java -version

When you extract the .zip file, it will create a directory called archivesspace. To run the system, just execute the appropriate startup script for your platform. On Linux and OSX:

 cd /path/to/archivesspace

and for Windows:

 cd \path\to\archivesspace

This will start ArchivesSpace running in foreground mode (so it will shut down when you close your terminal window). Log output will be written to the file logs/archivesspace.out (by default).

Note: If you're running Windows and you get an error message like unable to resolve type 'size_t' or no such file to load -- bundler, make sure that there are no spaces in any part of the path name in which the ArchivesSpace directory is located.

Start ArchivesSpace

The first time it starts, the system will take a minute or so to start up. Once it is ready, confirm that ArchivesSpace is running correctly by accessing the following URLs in your browser:

To start using the Staff interface application, log in using the adminstrator account:

  • Username: admin
  • Password: admin

Then, you can create a new repository by selecting "System" -> "Manage repositories" at the top right hand side of the screen. From the "System" menu, you can perform a variety of administrative tasks, such as creating and modifying user accounts. Be sure to change the "admin" user's password at this time.

Configuring ArchivesSpace

The primary configuration for ArchivesSpace is done in the config/config.rb file. By default, this file contains the default settings, which are indicated by commented out lines ( indicated by the "#" in the file ). You can adjust these settings by adding new lines that change the default and restarting ArchivesSpace. Be sure that your new settings are not commented out ( i.e. do NOT start with a "#" ), otherwise the settings will not take effect.

Running ArchivesSpace as a Unix daemon

The startup script doubles as an init script. If you run: start

ArchivesSpace will run in the background as a daemon (logging to logs/archivesspace.out by default, as before). You can shut it down with: stop

You can even install it as a system-wide init script by creating a symbolic link:

 cd /etc/init.d
 ln -s /path/to/your/archivesspace/ archivesspace

Then use the appropriate tool for your distribution to set up the run-level symbolic links (such as chkconfig for RedHat or update-rc.d for Debian-based distributions).

Note that you may want to edit to set the account that the system runs under, JVM options, and so on.

Running ArchivesSpace as a Windows Service

Running ArchivesSpace as a Windows service requires some additional configuration.

You can also use Apache [procrun](( to configure ArchivesSpace. We have provided a service.bat script that will attempt to configure procrun for you (under launcher\service.bat).

To run this script, first you need to download procrun. Extract the files and copy the prunsrv.exe and prunmgr.exe to your ArchivesSpace directory.

You also need to be sure that Java in your system path and also to set JAVA_HOME as a global environment variable. To add Java to your path, edit you %PATH% environment variable to include the directory of your java executable ( it will be something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\bin ). To add JAVA_HOME, add a new system variable and put the directory where java was installed ( something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Java ).

Before setting up the ArchivesSpace service, you should also configure ArchivesSpace to run against MySQL. Be sure that the MySQL connector jar file is in the lib directory, in order for the service setup script to add it to the application's classpath.

Lastly, for the service to shutdown cleanly, uncomment and change these lines in config/config.rb:

AppConfig[:use_jetty_shutdown_handler] = true
AppConfig[:jetty_shutdown_path] = "/xkcd"

This enables a shutdown hook for Jetty to respond to when the shutdown action is taken.

You can now execute the batch script from your ArchivesSpace root directory from the command line with launcher\service.bat. This will configure the service and provide two executables: ArchivesSpaceService.exe (the service) and ArchivesSpaceServicew.exe (a GUI monitor)

There are several options to launch the service. The easiest is to open the GUI monitor and click "Launch".

Alternatively, you can start the GUI monitor and minimize it in your system tray with:

ArchivesSpaceServicew.exe //MS//

To execute the service from the command line, you can invoke:

ArchivesSpaceService.exe //ES//

Log output will be placed in your ArchivesSpace log directory.

Please see the procrun documentation for more information.

Running ArchivesSpace with a custom configuration file

Under your archivesspace directory you will see a directory called config which contains a file called config.rb. By modifying this file, you can override the defaults that ArchivesSpace ships with: changing things like the ports it listens on and where it puts its data.

Running ArchivesSpace against MySQL

Out of the box, the ArchivesSpace distribution runs against an embedded database, but this is only suitable for demonstration purposes. When you are ready to starting using ArchivesSpace with real users and data, you should switch to using MySQL. MySQL offers significantly better performance when multiple people are using the system, and will ensure that your data is kept safe.

Download MySQL Connector

ArchivesSpace requires the MySQL Connector for Java, which must be downloaded separately because of its licensing agreement. Download the Connector and place it in a location where ArchivesSpace can find it on its classpath:

     $ cd lib
     $ curl -Oq

Note that the version of the MySQL connector may be different by the time you read this.

Set up your MySQL database

Next, create an empty database in MySQL and grant access to a dedicated ArchivesSpace user. The following example uses username as and password as123.

NOTE: WHEN CREATING THE DATABASE, YOU MUST SET THE DEFAULT CHARACTER ENCODING FOR THE DATABASE TO BE utf8. This is particularly important if you use a MySQL client to create the database (e.g. Navicat, MySQL Workbench, phpMyAdmin, etc.).

NOTE: If using AWS RDS MySQL databases, binary logging is not enabled by default and updates will fail. To enable binary logging, you must create a custom db parameter group for the database and set the log_bin_trust_function_creators = 1. See Working with DB Parameter Groups for information about RDS parameter groups.

     $ mysql -uroot -p

     mysql> create database archivesspace default character set utf8;
     Query OK, 1 row affected (0.08 sec)

     mysql> grant all on archivesspace.* to 'as'@'localhost' identified by 'as123';
     Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.21 sec)

Then, modify your config/config.rb file to refer to your MySQL database. When you modify your configuration file, MAKE SURE THAT YOU SPECIFY THAT THE CHARACTER ENCODING FOR THE DATABASE TO BE UTF-8 as shown below:

 AppConfig[:db_url] = "jdbc:mysql://localhost:3306/archivesspace?user=as&password=as123&useUnicode=true&characterEncoding=UTF-8"

There is a database setup script that will create all the tables that ArchivesSpace requires. Run this with:

scripts/  # or setup-database.bat under Windows

You can now follow the instructions in the "Getting Started" section to start your ArchivesSpace application.

Backup and recovery

Creating backups using the provided script

ArchivesSpace provides some simple scripts for backing up a single instance to a .zip file. You can run:

 scripts/ --output /path/to/

and the script will generate a file containing:

  • A snapshot of the demo database (if you're using the demo database)
  • A snapshot of the Solr index and related indexer files

If you are running against MySQL and have mysqldump installed, you can also provide the --mysqldump option. This will read the database settings from your configuration file and add a dump of your MySQL database to the resulting .zip file.

Managing your own backups

If you want more control over your backups, you can develop your own scripts. ArchivesSpace stores all persistent data in the database, so as long as you have backups of your database then you can always recover.

If you are running MySQL, the mysqldump utility can dump the database schema and data to a file. It's a good idea to run this with the --single-transaction option to avoid locking your database tables while your backups run. It is also essential to use the --routines flag, which will include functions and stored procedures in the backup (which ArchivesSpace uses at least for reports).

If you are running with the demo database, you can create periodic database snapshots using the following configuration settings:

 # In this example, we create a snapshot at 4am each day and keep
 # 7 days' worth of backups
 # Database snapshots are written to 'data/demo_db_backups' by
 # default.
 AppConfig[:demo_db_backup_schedule] = "0 4 * * *"
 AppConfig[:demo_db_backup_number_to_keep] = 7

Solr indexes can always be recreated from the contents of the database, but backing them up can reduce your recovery time if disaster strikes. You can create periodic Solr snapshots using the following configuration settings:

 # Create one snapshot per hour and keep only one.
 # Solr snapshots are written to 'data/solr_backups' by default.
 AppConfig[:solr_backup_schedule] = "0 * * * *"
 AppConfig[:solr_backup_number_to_keep] = 1

Recovering from backup

When recovering an ArchivesSpace installation from backup, you will need to restore:

  • Your database (either the demo database or MySQL)
  • The search indexes and related indexer files

Of the two, the database backup is the most crucial--search indexes are worth restoring if you have backups, but they can be recreated from scratch if necessary.

Recovering your database

If you are using MySQL, recovering your database just requires loading your mysqldump backup into an empty database. If you are using the scripts/ script (described above), this dump file is named mysqldump.sql in your backup .zip file.

To load a MySQL dump file, follow the directions in Set up your MySQL database to create an empty database with the appropriate permissions. Then, populate the database from your backup file using the MySQL client:

`mysql -uas -p archivesspace < mysqldump.sql`, where
  `as` is the user name
  `archivesspace` is the database name
  `mysqldump.sql` is the mysqldump filename

You will be prompted for the password of the user.

If you are using the demo database, your backup .zip file will contain a directory called demo_db_backups. Each subdirectory of demo_db_backups contains a backup of the demo database. To restore from a backup, copy its archivesspace_demo_db directory back to your ArchivesSpace data directory. For example:

 cp -a /unpacked/zip/demo_db_backups/demo_db_backup_1373323208_25926/archivesspace_demo_db \

This step is optional since indexes can be rebuilt from the contents of the database. However, recovering your search indexes can reduce the time needed to get your system running again.

The backup .zip file contains two directories used by the ArchivesSpace indexer:

  • solr.backup-[timestamp]/snapshot.[timestamp] -- a snapshot of the index files.
  • solr.backup-[timestamp]/indexer_state -- the files used by the indexer to remember what it last indexed.

To restore these directories from backup:

  • Copy your index snapshot to /path/to/archivesspace/data/solr_index/index
  • Copy your indexer_state backup to /path/to/archivesspace/data/indexer_state

For example:

 mkdir -p /path/to/archivesspace/data/solr_index

 cp -a /unpacked/zip/solr.backup-26475-1373323208/snapshot.20130709084008464 \

 cp -a /unpacked/zip/solr.backup-26475-1373323208/indexer_state \

Checking your search indexes

ArchivesSpace ships with a script that can run Lucene's CheckIndex tool for you, verifying that a given Solr index is free from corruption. To test an index, run the following command from your archivesspace directory:

 # Or scripts/checkindex.bat for Windows
 scripts/ data/solr_index/index

You can use the same script to check that your Solr backups are valid:

 scripts/ /unpacked/zip/solr.backup-26475-1373323208/snapshot.20130709084008464

Re-creating indexes

ArchivesSpace keeps track of what has been indexed by using the files under data/indexer_state. If these files are missing, the indexer assumes that nothing has been indexed and reindexes everything.

To force ArchivesSpace to reindex all records, just delete the directory /path/to/archivesspace/data/indexer_state. Since the indexing process is cumulative, there's no harm in indexing the same document multiple times.

Resetting passwords

Under the scripts directory you will find a script that lets you reset a user's password. You can invoke it as:

scripts/ theusername newpassword  # or password-reset.bat under Windows

If you are running against MySQL, you can use this command to set a password while the system is running. If you are running against the demo database, you will need to shutdown ArchivesSpace before running this script.

Configuring LDAP authentication

ArchivesSpace can manage its own user directory, but can also be configured to authenticate against one or more LDAP directories by specifying them in the application's configuration file. When a user attempts to log in, each authentication source is tried until one matches.

Here is a minimal example of an LDAP configuration:

 AppConfig[:authentication_sources] = [{
                                         :model => 'LDAPAuth',
                                         :hostname => '',
                                         :port => 389,
                                         :base_dn => 'ou=people,dc=example,dc=com',
                                         :username_attribute => 'uid',
                                         :attribute_map => {:cn => :name},

With this configuration, ArchivesSpace performs authentication by connecting to ldap://, binding anonymously, searching the ou=people,dc=example,dc=com tree for uid = <username>.

If the user is found, ArchivesSpace authenticates them by binding using the password specified. Finally, the :attribute_map entry specifies how LDAP attributes should be mapped to ArchivesSpace user attributes (mapping LDAP's cn to ArchivesSpace's name in the above example).

Many LDAP directories don't support anonymous binding. To integrate with such a directory, you will need to specify the username and password of a user with permission to connect to the directory and search for other users. Modifying the previous example for this case looks like this:

 AppConfig[:authentication_sources] = [{
                                         :model => 'LDAPAuth',
                                         :hostname => '',
                                         :port => 389,
                                         :base_dn => 'ou=people,dc=example,dc=com',
                                         :username_attribute => 'uid',
                                         :attribute_map => {:cn => :name},
                                         :bind_dn => 'uid=archivesspace_auth,ou=system,dc=example,dc=com',
                                         :bind_password => 'secretsquirrel',

Finally, some LDAP directories enforce the use of SSL encryption. To configure ArchivesSpace to connect via LDAPS, change the port as appropriate and specify the encryption option:

 AppConfig[:authentication_sources] = [{
                                         :model => 'LDAPAuth',
                                         :hostname => '',
                                         :port => 636,
                                         :base_dn => 'ou=people,dc=example,dc=com',
                                         :username_attribute => 'uid',
                                         :attribute_map => {:cn => :name},
                                         :bind_dn => 'uid=archivesspace_auth,ou=system,dc=example,dc=com',
                                         :bind_password => 'secretsquirrel',
                                         :encryption => :simple_tls,

Configuring OAI-PMH

A starter OAI-PMH interface for ArchivesSpace allowing other systems to harvest your records is included in version 2.1.0. Additional features and functionality will be added in later releases.

Information on configuring the OAI-PMH is available at By default, it runs on port 8082. A sample request page is available at http://localhost:8082/sample. (To access it, make sure that you have set the AppConfig[:oai_proxy_url] appropriately.)

The system provides responses to a number of standard OAI-PMH requests, including GetRecord, Identify, ListIdentifiers, ListMetadataFormats, ListRecords, and ListSets. Unpublished and suppressed records and elements are not included in any of the OAI-PMH responses.

Some responses require the URL parameter metadataPrefix. There are five different metadata responses available:

EAD oai_ead (resources in EAD) Dublin Core oai_dc (archival objects and resources in Dublin Core) extended DCMI Terms oai_dcterms (archival objects and resources in DCMI Metadata Terms format) MARC oai_marc (archival objects and resources in MARC) MODS oai_mods (archival objects and resources in MODS)

The EAD response for resources and MARC response for resources and archival objects use the mappings from the built-in exporter for resources. The DC, DCMI terms, and MODS responses for resources and archival objects use mappings suggested by the community.

Here are some example URLs and other information for these requests:

GetRecord – needs a record identifier and metadataPrefix




ListIdentifiers – needs a metadataPrefix




ListRecords – needs a metadataPrefix




Harvesting the ArchivesSpace OAI-PMH server without specifying a set will yield all published records across all repositories. Predefined sets can be accessed using the set parameter. In order to retrieve records from sets include a set parameter in the URL and the DC metadataPrefix, such as "&set=collection&metadataPrefix=oai_dc". These sets can be from configured sets as shown above or from the following levels of description:

Class class Collection collection File file Fonds fonds Item item Other_Level otherlevel Record_Group recordgrp Series series Sub-Fonds subfonds Sub-Group subgrp Sub-Series subseries

In addition to the sets based on level of description, you can define sets based on repository codes and/or sponsors in the config/config.rb file:

AppConfig[:oai_sets] = {
'repository_set' => {
    :repo_codes => ['hello626'],
    :description => "A set of one or more repositories",

'sponsor_set' => {
    :sponsors => ['The_Sponsor'],
    :description => "A set of one or more sponsors",

The interface implements resumption tokens for pagination of results. As an example, the following URL format should be used to page through the results from a ListRecords request:


using the resumption token:


Note: you do not use the metadataPrefix when you use the resumptionToken

The ArchivesSpace OAI-PMH server supports persistent deletes, so harvesters will be notified of any records that were deleted since they last harvested.

Mixed content is removed from Dublin Core, dcterms, MARC, and MODS field outputs in the OAI-PMH response (e.g., a scope note mapped to a DC description field would not include <p>, <abbr>, <address>, <archref>, <bibref>, <blockquote>, <chronlist>, <corpname>, <date>, <emph>, <expan>, <extptr>, <extref>, <famname>, <function>, <genreform>, <geogname>, <lb>, <linkgrp>, <list>, <name>, <note>, <num>, <occupation>, <origination>, <persname>, <ptr>, <ref>, <repository>, <subject>, <table>, <title>, <unitdate>, <unittitle>).

The component level records include inherited data from superior hierarchical levels of the finding aid. Element inheritance is determined by institutional system configuration (editable in the config/config.rb file) as implemented for the Public User Interface.

ARKs have not yet been implemented, pending more discussion of how they should be formulated.

Customizing and theming ArchivesSpace

Customizing and theming readme Changing labels and messages can be done in the locales files. To do more in-depth customization and theming, a plugin or a custom build is likely the best mechanism.

# Plug-ins and local customizations

Plug-ins and local customizations readme

Running ArchivesSpace with an external Solr instance

Instructions for using an external Solr server

Running ArchivesSpace under a prefix

Instructions for running under a prefix.

Upgrading ArchivesSpace

Upgrading to a new release of ArchivesSpace

Monitoring with New Relic

Configuring ArchivesSpace to integrate with New Relic

Further documentation

Additional documentation can be found on the ArchivesSpace wiki at

A document describing the architecture of ArchivesSpace is published at

The latest technical documentation, including API documentation and architecture notes, is published at


Contributors are welcome! Please read about our Contributor License Agreements for more information.


ArchivesSpace is released under the Educational Community License, version 2.0. See the COPYING file for more information.


ArchivesSpace 1.0 was developed by Hudson Molonglo in partnership with the New York University Libraries, UC San Diego Libraries, and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library and with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, organizational support from LYRASIS, and contributions from diverse persons in the archives community.