Can't find "Control area"

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Veronica Lencinas

Sep 28, 2015, 10:28:13 AM9/28/15
to ICA-AtoM Users
I'm new to ICA-AtoM but from what I have seen (and used) I like it very much.
I need to add some local fields and from what I have read in the User manual wiki it seems that I can do this
at the Control area. The problem is that I can't find something called "Control area" at my ICA-AtoM. There is no  I run version 1.3.1 - 92 on Debian. My error-log is blank. I have no clue.
Thank you very much in advance
Verónica Lencinas
Observatorio Astronómico de Córdoba

Dan Gillean

Sep 28, 2015, 1:05:04 PM9/28/15
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Verónica,

In the ISAD template, the Control area is labelled as the "Decription control area". You can see it in the view page, near the bottom, for this description in our ICA-AtoM demo site:

If the template is flipped to the Canadian RAD standard, for example, you can see the same area labelled as the Control area:

The control area was originally added in anticipation of plans the ICA had discussed to harmonize all of standards - since there is a control area in the other 3 ICA standards (ISAAR-CPF, ISDIAH, ISDF), early ICA-AtoM developers addeds similar fields to the ISAD(G) template. Those revisions never materialized, but early AtoM users found the additional fields useful for capturing  information about the descriptions themselves, for maintenance, so they were kept in successive versions.

However, because some of the fields are not officially included in the ICA standard, they have at times been difficult to maintain - for example, there is no standardized mapping to EAD 2002 XML - we have mapped all the fields in as logical and consistent a manner as we could, but if you were migrating your descriptions to another system there is no guarantee that the source system would be set up to parse these fields in the same way - so some data loss could occur.

We learned from this experience, and though we maintain these fields in more recent AtoM versions (such as the current release, AtoM 2.2), we generally strongly advise against creating local custom fields. The goal of AtoM is to assist users in creating archival descriptions based on recognized standards, for ongoing ease of maintenance and accessibility. Instead of adding custom local fields, we suggest careful analysis and crosswalking with the existing standards, so you can express your local data using one of the existing, standards-based fields.

If you do create local fields, it will require a developer to modify the application - and you will have to maintain those customizations going forward. There is no way for users to generate new fields via the user interface.

Note that we are not actively developing the ICA-AtoM 1.x branch any more - consider checking out AtoM 2 instead! Much of the code base is the same - and it is the same developers, same open-source license - but we greatly improved the search index (for better performance and scalability), overhauled the user interface, rewrote all of the documentation, and since our initial 2.x release, have added a number of powerful new features. The 2.2 release includes, for example, the ability to generate PDF or RTF finding aids from archival descriptions, and the ability to manage public access to digital objects and their derivatives based on PREMIS rights statements. More info:


Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Product Manager / Systems Analyst,
Artefactual Systems, Inc.

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