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Peter Kühne

Sep 22, 2020, 9:28:24 AM9/22/20
to AtoM Users

Hi all!
I run a very small family archive for geneological information and family heirlooms. I think AtoM would be perfect for keeping track of everything.
My only concern though is that I would like to keep a physical backup of all the archival descriptions, in case my server breaks beyond hope or (god forbid) something happens to me and my less tech-savy family has to take over without loss of information.

Is it possible to print out the whole archival description for each level? Ideally in a nice format, rather than XML... Or else, does anyone know of a tool that generates nice output from the XML?


Dan Gillean

Sep 22, 2020, 6:09:17 PM9/22/20
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Peter, 

Welcome to the AtoM community! 

I think it's possible that AtoM's ability to generate finding aids from archival descriptions may meet your needs. AtoM can create a finding aid in either PDF or RTF (if you want a version that can be easily edited in a word document program), and offers two modes of generation - an inventory list (which is useful when you have no or minimal details at the file and item level - in this case AtoM will just provide a summary table for these levels of description), and the full details option, which includes all metadata elements at all levels of description. For more information, see: 
It doesn't cover all levels, but AtoM can also generate File and Item list reports, for lower-level records. See: 
Also, please note that a finding aid wouldn't really act as a backup, in the sense that there would be no easy way to import the information back into AtoM in the future. For something you can still import, but that is a bit more readable than an XML file, you might consider running CSV exports. See: 
Finally, if you're interested in just backing up your AtoM data in a way that could be loaded back into an AtoM instance if your server experiences some kind of catastrophic failure, please see: 
When users upgrade, we typically recommend creating a new AtoM instance and then loading your backups into it and upgrading the data schema - so our Upgrading documentation describes how you would load these backups into a new AtoM instance: 
Hope this helps!


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

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Peter Kühne

Sep 23, 2020, 3:03:04 AM9/23/20
to AtoM Users
Hi Dan,

Thank you so much for the detailed response! The Finding Aid is exactly what I'm looking for. When set to Full Details it basically prints out everything for a given Fonds, which also means there are fewer files for me to keep track of!
I do understand that a printout is not a proper "backup" (for that I would keep copies of the Docker volumes for the database). My concern is more about making sure that there is some way for all the information about the items I'm accumulating to be kept with the physical items themselves.

Once again thank you for the detailed response!

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