Descriptive Metadata Workflow – Interface


There are two ways to upload metadata into Archivematica: either via the interface or by importing a CSV file:

  • Uploading via the interface is for transfer metadata only and is limited to the use of the 15 basic terms of the Dublin Core standard with non-repeating fields.
  • Uploading a CSV file allows you to include transfer, folder/subfolder, and item level metadata using Dublin Core or custom metadata, and can also enable the repetition of terms, such as multiple subjects. 

It is best to use one or the other method of metadata ingest rather than both. Any transfer level metadata in the CSV file will be included in the METS file in addition to metadata added via the interface, but the link to the metadata entry entered via CSV will no longer resolve in METS. However, both can be used in combination – adding transfer metadata via the interface and folder or item metadata via CSV.

Before you begin: Determine transfer type

Choosing a transfer type in Archivematica will impact how your descriptive metadata is imported when using the CSV method.

Archivematica has four key transfer types:

Un-bagged transfers
  • Standard transfer: A folder with the objects and metadata folders at the top level
  • Zipped directory: The same as the above, but as a .zip or .tar.gz package
Bagged transfers
  • Unzipped bag: A folder of files in BagIt format. The top-level directory will contain checksum manifests and a folder called data that itself contains the objects and metadata folders
  • Zipped bag: The same as above, but as a .zip or .tar.gz package

There are two key differences here: whether your transfer is zipped; and whether it is bagged

Uncompressed vs. zipped
  • Standard (uncompressed) transfers are easy to create – it’s a folder with files inside – and and don’t require any additional steps or software
  • Zipped transfers make it easy to package and upload files all together. Zip files of both types also have the advantage of acting as a primary integrity check. If zip extraction fails in Archivematica, then you know the zip was either corrupted or not fully uploaded to the transfer source point, and should be re-created on your local system or re-uploaded. Note: Zipped transfers must be in .zip or .tar.gz format. Other kinds of packages in .7z, .rar, etc. will not function as transfer types.
Bagged vs. not bagged
  • Bagged transfers are created using a tool that implements the BagIt specification. Tools that create bags place your preservation and metadata files in a folder called data that is accompanied by a manifest of files with their checksums that enables the files to be validated after transfer, including when Archivematica ingests the package as part of this workflow. This adds a higher-level assurance that files have retained their fixity during movement from your local system to Archivematica.
  • Unbagged transfers mean that you can reduce the number of steps and time spent during a processing workflow. Bagging transfers can be very slow for large packages or for files being accessed over network connections such as a shared drive folder. Tools to create bags also require separate installation and upgrades. Using the zipped directory transfer format instead of bags is a good alternative if you would like to ensure a basic level of integrity during transfer.

Uploading descriptive metadata through the Archivematica interface

  1. Start a transfer.
  2. At any time during processing before the “Approve Normalization” step, click on the small report icon next to the transfer name.
  3. A new tab will open. Under the bold “Metadata” heading click “Add” to add new metadata. Note that clicking “List” will not display any metadata that may have been also added by the CSV import method described below – it will just show what has been entered via the interface.
  4. A new page will open with a series of fields. Clicking inside the fields will give a tooltip about how data should be entered in the field, including a link to the Dublin Core standard.

  5. Once you’ve entered the metadata, click the blue “Create” button at the bottom of the page.
  6. If you would like to edit the metadata you just entered, go back to step 3 and click the “Add” button again. This will not open a second set of metadata, as you can only have one set of metadata per transfer, but will allow you to make changes to the metadata before you continue past the normalization step of the transfer.