Accession Record Linking

Skip to first unread message

Kody Whitt

Oct 19, 2020, 9:51:09 AM10/19/20
to AtoM Users
Is there a way to mass link records to an accession? Like is it possible to have child records inherit their parent records accession link? or anything like that

Dan Gillean

Oct 19, 2020, 5:14:45 PM10/19/20
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Kody, 

Currently the accessions module doesn't have any concept of inheritance baked in, so you'd need to add a link to all levels of a hierarchy if you wanted the relationship to an accession record expressed at every level. Practically, if you did this manually then I suspect this might be less useful - for example, if you manually inked a series and all 20 of its file-level children to an accession (instead of just linking at the series level), then you would see 21 different links in the "Related descriptions" section of the accession record. If this were across multiple series with even more children, it could very quickly become unwieldy and difficult for an archivist to distinguish between different hierarchies based on the accession module links. 

I believe  there would be a way to develop some user interface rules where you would add only one link in the accessions module to say, a series, and then on the child file-level descriptions still have AtoM display the link to the related accession record in these lower levels - is this more in line with what you mean? Either way, this will require development for us to implement. 

In the meantime, if you do want to create many accession record links to descriptions at once, then I suspect that a CSV import would be the best way to do so. The description CSV templates can include an accessionNumber column that will create a relationship between an accession and a description. This column cannot currently support piped values (i.e. linking more than 1 accession to a single description row), but it could still speed up the process. Please see our CSV import documentation - particularly that on update imports: 
I would recommend something like the following: 
  1. Find the description(s) that you want to update with accession links and add them to the clipboard. If you are working with hierarchies, remember that AtoM will give you the option to include descendants in an export - so with our previous example, you would only need to add the series record and check the "Include descendants" option before exporting to also include its 20 file-level children.
  2. Navigate to the clipboard, using the clipboard menu in the AtoM header bar
  3. Export the descriptions from the clipboard, using the "inherit descendants" option if you are also going to add accession links to the lower levels
  4. Open the resulting export CSV in a spreadsheet application - we strongly recommend using LibreOffice Calc over Excel, due to Excel's proprietary default line endings and character encodings (whereas Calc lets you set these every time you open a CSV)
  5. To avoid any risks of data duplication, I recommend deleting most non-essential columns from the CSV at this point. Keep only:
    1. legacyId
    2. parentId
    3. title
    4. identifier
    5. repository
    6. culture
  6. after the parentId column, add a new column. Give the column the header name of accessionNumber.
  7. Add in the accession number of the accession you would like to link to, for each description row. Remember, only 1 accession number per row! If you need to link multiple accessions to a description, you will need to either do it manually, or else repeat this process again with the additional accession number(s). 
  8. Save your CSV
  9. In the command-line, we have a --roundtrip option in the CSV import task. This ignores any of the complicated cascading matching options based on previous legacyID or title/identifier/repository exact matches. Instead, when used, it will ONLY match on the objectID value in AtoM's database - which is what you get in the legacyId column on export from AtoM, so as long as you haven't changed or removed that column in your CSV, then it's fine. This option is not currently supported via the user interface, but produces much better matching, which is why I suggest using it now. 
  10. Import the CSV as an update. Your CSV import command should look something like the following - note the options being used: 
  • php symfony csv:import --update="match-and-update" --roundtrip --skip-unmatched /path/to/your/import.csv
Finally, don't forget to repopulate the search index afterwards - you may also want to clear the application cache
  • php symfony cc
  • php symfony search:populate
Hope this helps! Meanwhile, if your institution is interested in potentially sponsoring development in this area, please feel free to contact Artefactual off-list, via, and we would be happy to discuss options and prepare estimates for you.  

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
he / him

On Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 9:51 AM Kody Whitt <> wrote:
Is there a way to mass link records to an accession? Like is it possible to have child records inherit their parent records accession link? or anything like that

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "AtoM Users" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
To view this discussion on the web visit
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages