Open Archives


Open Archives

With these settings, you can:

  • Add a new search index for digital archives, local history collections, and more


Aspen Discovery can connect with any online archive that complies with OAI-PMH metadata standards, such as ContentDM or Omeka.


Enable the Open Archives Module

In Aspen Administration > System Administration > Modules > Open Archives > Enabled? checked and Save

Make sure to assign the correct permissions in Aspen Administration > System Administration > Permissions > Administer Open Archives - Allows the user to administer integration with Open Archives repositories for all libraries.

You will now see an Open Archives menu.

Create a New Archive: Add and Define Collections

To create a new Open Archive, head to Aspen Administration > Open Archives > Collections > Add New.

1. Add the Name of your collection

This is what will show in the Collection facet on the in History & Archives search. Ex: Library History Collection


2. Add the Base URL of the Open Archives site

For Omeka archives, the repository URL should usually have /oai-pmh-repository/request (for Omeka Classic) or /oai (for Omeka S) at the end. See Omeka Classic or Omeka S documentation for more information about settings for the repository URLs. 

Other archives (such as ContentDM) often end with /oai/oai.php

There is sometimes a checkbox or plugin that must be enabled on your end to have the OAI URL generate correctly. If you're unsure of the correct URL, contact the archive provider or submit a support ticket. 


3. Decide if you'd like to upload Background Image for Default Covers

This will become the default cover image of the collection if archive images are not available.

The recommended size is 280px x 280px and we recommend uploading a .png file.


4. Next, you can optionally define specific sets to index in the Set(s) to Index field.

These values should be the setSpec, not the setName. If there are multiple sets, separate each set with commas and no spaces.

To see a list of your archive's available sets, try adding ?verb=ListSets to the end of your OAI URL. Look for the setSpec value. Ex: 3,4,5,6



5. If you'd rather show everything, check Index all Sets.


6. Choose your Metadata Format. In most cases this will be Dublin Core but MODS is also available.


7. Available Subjects will automatically populate after saving the setting and Aspen has had a chance to fetch data from the archive.


8. Optional: to only show certain subjects, add Subject Filters. If there are multiple subjects, enter each subject on its own line.


9. Optional: to extract thumbnail images, you can add an Image Regular Expression (regex). The regex needed may vary depending on the metadata available from your archive.
Example:  <meta\s+property="og:image"\s+content="(.*?)"\s?/>
Example: data-thumb="(.*?)"


10. Set the Frequency to Fetch. The default fetch frequency is "Daily," but if your archive has infrequent updates, you may set it to a different frequency.


11. Select the applicable Libraries and Locations for the catalogs you'd like to apply this to.


12. Save.


After creating your open archive setting, you will need to enable the archive search for your catalog.

  1. Go to Primary Configuration > Library Systems > edit the applicable library settings.
  2. Scroll toward the bottom to Open Archives Results.
  3. Check the box for Allow Searching Open Archives.
  4. Save your changes.

You'll now see a new search index available. Switch the search index from in Library Catalog to in History & Archives to search through the collection once the records have been indexed. You can check on the indexing progress in Aspen administration from Open Archives > Indexing Log.


Note: After first setting up a new open archives collection, the Indexing Log will not run until after the nightly index. If you need the index run sooner, open a support ticket and we can manually run the log on the server.


Updated 2024-03-01 md bws
Replace the Default Archive Cover Image with Custom Image

The default cover that shows for archive results looks like this and is generated based off your theme. This will display if Aspen cannot pull in the image for that record.

To replace the default cover image, go to Aspen Administration > Open Archives > Collections > Background Image for Default Covers (280x280) and for each collection you can define a custom cover image to replace the default image.

The recommended cover size is 280px x 280px and .png files often look the best.


Updated 2023-08-15 km bws
Open Archives Facets

Once connected, a facet chart will automatically populate based on what is available through your archive API connection.

You can tailor the facets for Events in Aspen Administration > Open Archives > Open Archives Facet Settings.

In order to do this, you must have one of these permissions: 

  • Administer All Open Archives Facet Settings (typically assigned to full Admin/OpacAdmin) or
  • Administer Library Open Archives Facet Settings (typically assing to library-level Admin)

Facets can be sorted, re-labeled and deleted. The facet chart works the same as the Grouped Work facets. Learn more here.


Updated 2023-09-13 km bws
Indexing Log

To see the status of your loaded collections, go to Aspen Administration > Open Archives > Indexing Log

Note: When you are first setting up a new open archives collection, the Indexing Log will not run until after the nightly index.

Open Archives Dashboard

In Aspen Administration > Open Archives > Dashboard you have access to some reporting statistics. These statistics reflect usage through Aspen and not the user accessing the collections through the archive domains themselves. 

This dashboard will show statistics for both all collections and individual collections you have added.

Unique Records View - How many unique views the record has had per individual (i.e. 2 seperate users viewed the record for a total of 2)

Unique Records Used - How many times the individual record has been clicked on; these are unique so one per individual per record despite how many times they clicked on it (i.e. 2 seperate users clicked on the record for a total of 2)

Total Views - This could include views from Explore More or Combined Results; where in Aspen the information is shown to the user within Aspen (i.e. while navigating the catalog, I saw this record 4 times for a total views of 4)

Total Clicks - How many times the resource was clicked on in total; this could include one user clicking on the record multiple times (i.e. 2 users clicked on the record 3 times, for a total clicks of 6)

Searching Open Archives


Once enabled, a in History & Archives option will appear in your Aspen search bar.


Performing a search in History & Archives (this example is a keyword search for Colorado) will show you a number of related search facets to your Open Archive collections. An Explore More box will appear to show users other related options in Aspen.

Explore More

Once enabled, Open Archives results will begin to appear in related catalog searches in the Explore More box.

Combined Results

If you are using Combined Results, you can add Open Archives to the results in Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > Combined Results.

Add the Open Archives source from the dropdown to include these results in Combined Results.

FAQ / Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting Images Loading Into Aspen

For Omeka, if you go to Plugins > OAI-PMH Repository > Click "Configure" button, you should enter a settings or configuration window that includes the checkbox "Expose files". If it is not already unchecked, make sure that that setting is unchecked and save those settings. Per the Omeka Classic documentation, that checkbox controls whether the repository should expose direct URLs to all the files associated with an item as part of its returned metadata:

Other ways to bring images into Aspen is to go into Aspen Administration > Open Archives > Collections > click into Collection >  Image Regular Expression (regex) and add in regex.

The regex needed may vary depending on the metadata available from your archive:

Example:  <meta\s+property="og:image"\s+content="(.*?)"\s?/>

Example: data-thumb="(.*?)"

Example: <a class="download-file" href="(.*?)">
<img class="full" src="(.*?)"

How long does it take for changes/additions to appear in Aspen?

Indexing for the Open Archive collections happens every 24 hours, so any changes made will be seen the next day.

Can we control which fields from the archive records display in Aspen?

Aspen pulls the most important fields from the OAI feed. At this time, the data harvesting is not configurable.