Publishing spreadsheet records
"the spreadsheet guide is really useful and the whole process was very smooth. Many congratulations for building such a useful tool." (Hub contributor, 2022)
Contributors can now publish their spreadsheet records on Archives Hub. There are two options, depending on the nature of your spreadsheets:
Download our Guide to publishing spreadsheet records (PDF) for detailed instructions on uploading to the Editor, using the Hub template, and matching the column names from your own spreadsheets.
Uploading via the EAD Editor
Spreadsheets are first uploaded to our free, online cataloguing tool, the EAD Editor. You can then check and enhance your descriptions before making them live on Archives Hub. Please note that at present only .xlsx spreadsheets saved in Excel can be uploaded. We hope to expand this to other spreadsheet formats in the future.
If you want to upload a box or file list and combine it with a top level description, see below.
Using the Archives Hub template
Our simple cataloguing template includes most of the standard ISAD(G) fields (fields set out in the international standard for archival description), as well as cataloguing tips and help. Our guide provides detailed information about the individual columns and how to enter data.
Using your own template
If your own spreadsheets follow the basic one row per record, one column per field format, you should be able to upload them by matching your own column names to those in the Hub template. The guide provides information on how to do this. If you encounter any problems, get in touch and we will identify a solution for you.
The National Archives 'Manage Your Collections' template
If you already use (or plan to use) the National Archive's Manage Your Collections service, our upload facility will accept records which follow the MYC template. This has been done to promote interoperability and reduce duplication of work for contributors.
Uploading to the EAD Editor
Our EAD Editor is free and simple to use. It offers a preview facility, so you can check how your descriptions will look before making them live.
The Editor detects and highlights potential errors in your records, such as gaps in the reference hierarchy or duplicate references, enabling you to easily fix them and improve the quality of your data.
You can also enhance your records before publishing them using the Editor's specialised data creation tools. These include:
- Formatting text fields such as Scope and Content and Administrative and Biographical History for display.
- Structuring name entries for people, families and organisations.
- Adding VIAF identifiers to personal and organisational names, which aids cross-searching and linking of data.
- Adding place names using our Geonames lookup.
- Easily adding other subject terms and access points, including multi-part LCSH subject terms.
Once your spreadsheet records are uploaded, you can download high quality EAD versions of your descriptions, which can be shared with or imported into other systems.
Note: you should think about version control if you edit your records within the Editor - if you subsequently re-upload the spreadsheet, the changes made to the version in the Editor will be lost.
Box or lower level lists
You may have assistants or volunteers creating box lists or file lists. If you would like to combine these together we can do that. Maybe you already have a collection description on the Hub and want to add your lower level lists to it?
There is a tutorial avaialble on YouTube for uploading a box or file/item list to the Editor when you already have a collection level description. This takes you through possible steps to modify the box list to make it ready for upload. Note that actually combining a box list with a collection description is best done by the Hub team unless you are familiar with EAD. But you can upload, view and edit the list in the Editor, and then ask us to combine it with the top level entry.
If you are interested in uploading your spreadsheets, but would like more information or help, please email us.
We have also been looking at methods of efficiently converting records which don't follow a standard template into EAD for upload to the Hub. This might include spreadsheets which are formatted in different ways, have been exported from data management systems or other kinds of database, or include large numbers of item level records without fonds, collection or series level information (box lists etc). We are developing a set of scripts which can be adjusted to deal with individual contributor's unique data, and can work with you to resolve any issues in your data, and then transform it for upload to the Editor or direct to the Hub.
If you have data in spreadsheets which you would like to make more widely available, but which you don't think matches our template, do get in touch. We will assess your records and discuss them with you, before proposing the best method for converting and publishing them.