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Physical storage

AtoM allows archival institutions to create relationships between archival descriptions and their physical storage locations.

Manage physical storage types

Institutions can change and manage the terms used to describe physical object containers and locations by using the Physical Object Type taxonomy:

Click on the pencil Manage menu, then on Taxonomies. From the list, click on Physical Object Type.

Physical Object Type taxonomy

By clicking on an object type, you can view the object type in the taxonomy, displaying hierarchical terms if applicable.

Physical object taxonomy showing hierarchy

The default hierarchy in the Physical Object type taxonomy in AtoM is as follows:

Physical object taxonomy showing hierarchy

The intended use is for “Containers” to include specific storage containers, such as box numbers, cabinet drawers, etc., and for “Locations” to include more general storage locations, such as “Cold storage,” “Vault,” etc. Storage types and uses can be customized to meet institutional practices, however in order to link a custom storage container to a new or existing archival description you must nest the storage container under “Container.”

For more information on working with terms and taxonomies in AtoM, see: Terms.

Edit storage types

All storage terms except “Artefact”, “Container” and “Location” can be edited or deleted by authenticated users (for more information about locked terms, see Terms).

Click on the name of a Physical Object Type, then click on edit:

Editing a physical object type

From here, the name of the physical object type can be changed, and internal notes, codes and uses can be added.

By clicking on the Relationships area, the term’s placement in the hierarchy can be altered and new narrow terms can be added:

Editing a physical object type's relationships

Click on save to save your changes.

Add storage types

New physical storage types can be created by clicking “Add new” in the button block located on the Physical Object Type taxonomy view page:

Add new physical object type

Another method of adding a new storage type is to click “Add new” when viewing an existing Physical Object type. This will automatically nest the new term as a child of the existing term.


This is the method to use is you wish to add a storage container to link to archival descriptions. Find “Container,” and click “Add new.”

Add new physical object type as a child

Browse physical storage

Physical storage can be browsed by authenticated (logged in) users through the pencil Manage menu:

Accessing physical storage in Manage menu

Once in Browse Physical storage, users have the option of sorting the storage entries by Name (of container) or Location by clicking in the first row of the Physical storage table:

Physical storage table with sorting

When a user clicks on a container name, AtoM displays a list of the resources associated with that name:

Viewing a storage name with related resources listed


If you click “edit” while viewing a container name, you can edit the information associated with the container, including the name, location and type. To change the resources associated with that container name, you must do so from the archival description for each resource.

By clicking the print icon users can produce a report for the storage container which includes the Reference code, Title, Dates, Part of (fonds or collection name) and Conditions governing access.

Storage print report

Click “close” to return to the container storage view.


Administrators are able to choose to make physical storage information available to unauthenicated (not logged-in) users or not through the Visible elements section of the Admin menu.

Visible elements showing physical storage

To access the visible elements menu, click on the gears Admin menu in the main menu located in the header bar and select “Visible elements” from the drop-down menu.

Click on “Physical storage” to show the Physical storage check box. Check the box to allow unauthenicated users to see storage information or uncheck to disallow. Click save.

If visible, physical storage information will appear in the right hand column of the screen when viewing an archival description.

Physical storage visible to the unauthenicated users

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