Version 2.7es una versión descatalogada y no se realiza mantenimiento.


About page
The about page provides general information on AtoM. It can be reached via the header bar at the top of all pages. The content of the about page can be edited by administrators (see Manage static pages).
Accession record
The accession record is an administrative and descriptive document that summarizes standard information about the process of transferring materials to a repository, including information about the provenance, contents and legal and physical transfer of the records such as, rights and restrictions. See Entity types and Accessions.
Access point
An access point is “A name, term, keyword, phrase or code that may be used to search, identify and locate an archival description.” (ISAD glossary). In AtoM, access points are derived from authority records and taxonomies created and customized by users. See Terms.
Access privilege
Access privileges control the ways a user is able to interact with AtoM. For example, some users are able to add and edit content while others may only be able to search and browse content. Access privileges are based on defined user roles (see User roles). See : Edit permissions.
An accrual is “an acquisition additional to a unit of description already held by a repository.” (ISAD glossary). In AtoM, an accrual can be added to an existing accession record. See: Accessions.
According to PREMIS, an act is “The action the preservation repository is allowed to take.” In AtoM, a set vocabulary of acts are used in PREMIS rights records, which are then actionable upon digital objects. See: Rights.
Add menu
The “Add” menu allows authorized users to add new archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, terms, and functions. Only logged-in users can see the “Add” menu, which appears in the main menu located in the header bar. See: Main menu.
Add new button
The add new button is located in the button block of the view page and allows users to add new records (archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, and terms) to AtoM.
Admin menu
The admin menu allows users with administrator access to customize AtoM to meet institution-specific requirements and to manage user accounts and user profiles. The admin menu is only visible to users with administrator privileges. See Administer and Admin.
Administration area
The Administration area is part of the resource description edit template. It allows the User to change the publication status of the resource - Draft (this resource description is not available for public viewing) and Published (this resource description is available for public viewing). It also allows the user to set a default display standard for an archival description.
The administrator is a type of user who has access privileges to do the following: install or uninstall AtoM; create, read, update, or delete any record; customize AtoM to institution-specific requirements or themes; and manage user accounts and user profiles (see User roles and Administer).
The advanced search is used to find descriptions in AtoM that contain text matching a search query. The advanced search hyperlink can be accessed in the drop-down that appears when a user places the cursor in the search box. It is also available on all archival description search and browse pages, in the Advanced search panel. In the advanced search panel, the user can select “and, or, not” operators, and search specific fields, to create a powerful search query. The option to apply filters to limit or narrow the search are also provided. See: Advanced search.
Advanced search panel
The advanced search panel appears on archival description search and browse pages, contained in a collapsible section at the top of the results page. Click on the panel to expand or collapse it. The options in the panel can be used to perform advanced search queries, and/or to further refine initial search or browse results. For more information, see: Advanced search.
Archival description

An archival description is a body of information about an archival record or records. The descriptions provide contextual information about the archival materials and are arranged into hierarchical levels (fonds, series, files, items, and variations of these in accordance with institutional standards).

The International Council on Archives (ICA) defines an archival description as “The creation of an accurate representation of a unit of description and its component parts, if any, by capturing, analyzing, organizing and recording information that serves to identify, manage, locate and explain archival materials and the context and records systems which produced it. This term also describes the products of the process” (ISAD glossary).

In AtoM the data elements used for describing archival records are derived from the ICA’s General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD). See Entity types and Archival Descriptions.

Archival institution
An archival institution is “An organization which keeps and preserves archival material and makes it accessible to the public” (ISDIAH glossary). In AtoM the data elements used to describe such institutions are based on the ICA’s International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings (ISDIAH). See Entity types and Archival institutions.
Archival unit
Archival unit is a generic term for an aggregation of archival materials. A unit can be a fonds, series, file, item, or variation thereof, depending on institutional standards. A unit may be divided into sub-units for the purposes of description: e.g. a fonds may contain several series, each of which may contain several files, and so forth. The smallest (and therefore indivisible) unit is the item. See also level of description.
Area header
The title/heading that appears at the top of information areas in archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, functions, and other records. When an authenticated (i.e., logged in) user with edit privileges clicks on the heading of an information area when in view mode, the page reloads in edit mode so the user can edit content. See: Information areas.
The International Council on Archives (ICA) defines arrangement as “the intellectual and physical processes and results of analyzing and organizing documents in accordance with archival principles” (ISAD glossary).
Authority record
In AtoM, authority records are collections of information about actors - corporate bodies, persons, or families - who interact with archival materials, typically as creators. The data elements used to describe authority records are based on the ICA’s International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR). ISAAR defines authority record as “The authorized form of name combined with other information elements that identify and describe the named entity and may also point to other related authority records.” See Entity types and Authority records.
Base URL

The base URL is used to create absolute URLs included in XML exports (e.g. MODS and EAD exports). For example, your AtoM site is made up a series of web pages. Each page has a full Uniform Resource Locator (URL) something like The Base URL is the part of this URL that does not change - in this example,

Setting this value will ensure that links included in your XML exports will be properly formed. The Base URL value can be set in AtoM via Admin > Settings > Site information. See: Site information.

Boolean searching is a particular application of what is known as Boolean logic, a subset of algebra used for creating true/false statements originally developed by George Boole, a 19th century English mathematician. Since computers operate in binary (using ones and zeroes), computer logic can often be expressed in boolen terms (true/false). Boolean expressions use a number of operators, the most common of which are AND, OR, and NOT - using Boolean operators in terms of search queries (Boolean search) allows a user to limit, widen, or otherwise define a search in granular terms. Most modern web search engines support Boolean search statements,allowing complex queries to be expressed in human- readable form - for example, searching “fonds OR collection” would widen a search to include results that have either term in their title. In AtoM, boolean search operators are supported in the search box and in the Adanced search menu - see: Search and Advanced search.
Breadcrumb trail

A breadcrumb trail is a navigational element in a user interface that provides contextual information about the current location of a user in an application or document. Breadcrumb trails provide links back to each previous page the user navigated through to get to the current page or — in hierarchical site structures — the parent pages of the current one.

In AtoM a breadcrumb trail is displayed to add contextual information and to facilitate navigation in several places. On archival descriptions, the breadcrumb trail is located at the top of record’s view page when viewing a child description to provide information about where in the hierarchy the current description appears. When moving archival descriptions (see: Move an archival description), A breadcrumb trail is used to indicate where in a hierarchy the Move browse results are currently showing. At the top of:term:archival institution and authority record view pages, the breadcrumb trail is used to provide a link back to the Browse page for each kind of record. Additionally, taxonomy terms (such as places and subjects) that are organized hierarchically will also display parent terms as a breadcrumb trail when added to an archival description - for example, if the subject term ‘Apple’ is a child of the term ‘Fruit’, then when ‘Apple’ is added as a subject access point to an archival description, it will be expressed as: Fruit >> Apple

In AtoM, breadcrumbs (i.e. individual components of a breadcrumb trail) are expressed as hyperlinks, and can be clicked to navigate to the related source or parent record.

Browse menu
Browsing allows a user to see all records that have a certain type of access point (such as subject, name, or place) or other type of filter, such as media type or type of entity. In AtoM’s default theme (the Dominion theme) the browse menu appears in a drop-down next to the search box in the header bar on all pages, as well as on the home page. See: Navigation in AtoM and Browse; see also: Browse menu.
Button block
The button block allows authorized users to add, edit, delete, move, and duplicate content and to save or cancel changes made in the edit pages. See: Button block.
The carousel shows sets of thumbnails of digital objects and allows the user to scroll through the thumbnails using a mouse or keyboard scroll arrows. It is similar to the cover flow used in “the Macintosh Finder” and other Apple Inc. products for visually flipping through snapshots of documents, website bookmarks, album artwork, or photographs. In AtoM, a carousel viewer appears at the top of archival descriptions whenever there are associated lower-level descriptions that have digital objects attached. See: Carousel; see also: Upload and manage digital objects.
Child record
Child record refers to a description of the archival unit that is one level of description lower than the current unit, e.g. if a series belongs to a fonds, the series is the child record of the fonds. Terms can also be organized hierarchically (with parent-child relationships) in a taxonomy, and expressed as broader or narrower terms. A narrower term would be a child of the parent broader term. See also: Parent record.
The Clipboard is a user interface element that allows users to select records while searching and browsing, and add them to a list (the “clipboard”), for later review or further action. Authenicated users (i.e. those logged in) can also perform CSV exports of Clipboard results via the user interface. The clipboard is session-based - meaning that it does not persist between user sessions. When you close your browser, any results on the clipboard will be lost. However, users have the option of saving clipboard results, which can then be loaded in a future session. See: Clipboard
Clipboard menu
The Clipboard menu appears in the AtoM header bar for all users. It is represented by a paperclip icon, and allows users to manage Clipboard selections as the navigate around the application. See: Clipboard, especially Clipboard menu.
In ISAD, a collection is “[a]n artificial assemblage of documents accumulated on the basis of some common characteristic without regard to the provenance of those documents. Not to be confused with an archival fonds.” In the Canadian Rules for Archival Description, it is “[a] grouping of documents of any provenance intentionally assembled on the basis of some common characteristic.” In Dublin Core, a collection is “[a]n aggregation of resources. A collection is described as a group; its parts may also be separately described.”
Color picker
A color picker is a graphical user interface element that allows users to set a hex color code when theming an element of the application by selecting from a visual representation of a color pallette, instead of keying in alphanumeric values such as a hex color code. In AtoM, the color picker is made up of a text-box where users can enter a hex color code, a preview box where the color selected is displayed, a slider (on the right-hand side of the drop-down) where a user can select a hue, and a pallette (main part of drop-down) where a user can select a tint. In AtoM a color picker is used when choosing the background color of an archival institution - see: Change the background color of an archival institution.
Column header

Column headers appear at the top of the lists on list pages and some browse results (e.g., subject and place browse pages), and give the name of the field for whatever is being listed below. On some pages, the column headers include a caret-down-grey caret icon next to the column header field name - when clicked, these icons will reverse the sort order of the data in the list based on that column (i.e., changing from A-Z to Z-A, or from most recently updated first to oldest update first).

Column headers appear wherever display data on a page has been organized into a table, and are used extensively throughout the pages available in the Admin menu. See: Column headers for screenshots.

Context menu

The context menu appears on all view pages and some edit pages to provide greater contextual information about the record currently being viewed.

AtoM’s view pages and edit pages are generally displayed in the user interface in either a 2 or 3 column layout - the current record’s display data is presented in the central part of the page, while the side column(s) are generally used to provide additional options and further contextual information to enhance user orientation and navigation. These side columns make up the context menu.

The information provided in the context menu varies by the entity type (i.e. archival description view pages, authority records or archival institution) or display. For more information and screenshots, see: Context menu and Recurring page elements.

A contributor is a type of user who can search, browse, create, and edit descriptions. See User roles; see also Default settings: Contributor.
Controlled vocabulary
A controlled vocabulary is a set of pre-defined, authorized terms grouped into taxonomies or entered into authority records and used for generating value lists and access points. See Terms.
Converse term
A term that has an inverse reciprocal relationship to another term in the same taxonomy. Converse term relationships can be managed via a term’s edit page; currently converse relationships are only used in the Actor relations taxonomy, though the field is available in all term edit pages. Examples of default converse terms include: is the parent of and is the child of, or is the employer of and is the employee of. Actor relation terms are used in the ISAAR Relationships dialogue to establish relationshps between authority records. When one term is added as a relationship qualifier to an authority record, its converse term will automatically appear on the related authority record. A term whose converse is itself (e.g. is the sibling of) is known as a self-reciprocal term. For more information, see: Add/edit a converse term and Create a relationship between two authority records.
Corporate body

The International Council on Archives (ICA) defines a corporate body as “An organization or group of persons that is identified by a particular name and that acts, or may act, as an entity” (ISAD glossary).

Similarly, in the Canadian Rules for Archival Description (RAD), a corporate body is defined as “an organization or association of persons that is identified by a particular name and that acts, or may act, as an entity. Typical examples of corporate bodies are societies, institutions, business firms, nonprofit enterprises, governments, government agencies, religious bodies, places of worship, and conferences.”

Create button
The create button, located on the button block, is used to save new entities. Once an entity has been saved for the first time, the create button disappears and is replaced by the “Save” button, which is used to save all subsequent changes. See: Button block.
A creator is “any entity (corporate body, family or person) that created, accumulated and/or maintained records in the conduct of personal or corporate activity” (ISAAR glossary). In AtoM, the creator is described in an authority record linked to an archival description, usually at the highest level of description only. Lower levels inherit the creator from the parent record, unless a different creator is specified. AtoM can accommodate multiple creators at all levels of description. Information about the creator is entered into the context area in the archival description edit page (ISAD-G template).

Most often understood as an acronym for “comma-separated values” (though sometimes called “character-separated values” because the separator character does not have to be a comma), CSV is a file format that stores tabular data in plain-text form. Information with common properties that can be expressed as a sequence of fields sharing a common header can be stored in plain-text using the CSV format, making it application agnostic and highly transportable.

A CSV file consists of a number of records (rows), that have identical fields, separated by commas (or in some cases, another separator). Often a header column (i.e. the cell values in first or top row of a CSV file) is included, naming each column and indicating what kind of data the column contains. Data is then entered using a separator or delimitor (such as a comma) to indicate a separation of fields (or cells), and a line break or carriage return to indicate rows (i.e. different records). Most spreadsheet applications (such as OpenOffice Calc or MS Excel) can open CSV files and express them as a spreadsheet. See Wikipedia for more information on CSV. In AtoM, CSV templates conforming to content standards templates such as ISAD(G) and RAD can be used to migrate large datasets into the application. For more information, see: CSV import.

Current language
Refers to the language in which the user interface elements and database content are displayed. Users can switch between languages by using the language menu. See: Language menu.
Data element
Data elements, or elements of description, are ICA standards-based units of information applied to archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, and terms. The elements are entered into fields in AtoM’s edit pages.
Database content
Database content refers to information stored in Atom’s database tables, including data elements, static page content, and user profile information.
Deaccession record
The deaccession record is used to indicate that a repository has removed an accession, in part or whole, from the collection. Instead of deleting an accession record, the repository will create a deaccession record that is kept. See: Deaccession records.
A search box, generally provided on a Browse page, that will search only one entity or record type, giving users a means to search for particular content within that type. In AtoM, dedicated search bars are provided for: Accessions, Archival institutions, authority records, Place terms, Subject terms, Donors, Rights holders, Functions, and Users. For more information, see: Dedicated search boxes.
Default content
Default content is any database content that is included by default when AtoM is installed. This includes things like the default home page and drop-down menu values that are stored in taxonomies.
Default language
The default language is the language in which all user interface elements are displayed when AtoM is opened. The language is specified when the application is installed. Users can switch to other supported languages (see: Language menu) and translators can translate database content and user interface elements. See Choose language and Translate.
Delete button
The delete button appears in the button block. Clicking on the delete button will prompt a warning to appear asking whether the user really intends to delete the entity. See: Button block.
Delete icon
Delete icons are small buttons in edit pages used to delete values from multi-value fields, such as those containing event dates or access points. They are generally portrayed as an “X”.
A developer is a programmer who is able to modify the underlying software code of an AtoM application.
Digital object
Digital objects are computer files that can be uploaded into and displayed by AtoM. They include scanned images, digital photographs, sound and moving image files, and other scanned or born-digital items. See Upload and manage digital objects and File formats.
Display standard

The display standard indicates which archival description standard is used to display and edit the archival unit. The default display standard for the application can be set by an Administrator in the Default template area of the Settings menu. See Settings.

AtoM also allows an authenticated user with the appropriate permissions to set which archival description standards template is used to display the current description, and if desired, all of its related child records. Users can select from multiple standards-based templates supported in AtoM. Using this feature, located in the Administration area of an archival description’s edit page, users can choose if archival descriptions held by the same archival institution are displayed to end-users with different archival standards templates, or even if different levels of description in the same fonds or collection are displayed with different standards templates. See Entity types, Descriptive standards, and Archival Descriptions.

The International Council on Archives (ICA), in the ISAD glossary, defines a document as “recorded information regardless of medium or characteristics. (See also Record)”.
Dominion theme
The Dominion theme is the default theme that ships with AtoM 2.0. It has been built using Twitter Bootstrap, with some added JavaScript elements, and features a black header bar and a light grey application background color. AtoM 2.7 ships with a newer version of the Dominion theme based on Bootsrap version 5 that provides accessibility and other user interface improvements. AtoM has been designed so that other themes can be added to the application as plugins, after which an administrator can change the application theme via the user interface by navigating to Admin > Themes. See Themes and theming.
Donor dialog
The dialog that opens when adding donor contact information to the accession record or when selecting to edit an existing donor record. Donor records are located under the “Manage” tab in the menu. Donor records are only available to logged-in users with permissions. See: Donor records.
Draft record

A draft record is an archival description that has not been published. All new and imported archival descriptions have draft status until the user changes that status to published in the Administration area the bottom of the archival description edit page. The Administrator can change the default publication status from draft to published in the Admin > Settings > Global > Default publication status.

The publication status is inherited from the highest level of description. Users who are not authenticated cannot view draft records. See also Published record. See: Publish an archival description.

Drop-down menu
A drop-down list menu is a list of data-entry options that appears below certain fields in edit pages. Values are drawn from controlled-vocabulary terms, authority records, and default data contained in AtoM’s database tables.
Duplicate button
The duplicate button appears at the bottom of the view page; clicking the button takes the user to the edit duplicate; this page is an edit page that is pre-populated with the existing data from the original record. The user can edit the duplicate record page and then save it as a new record. Some users use the duplicate function in AtoM like a record skeleton when doing large amounts of data-entry on similar records. See: Duplicate an existing archival description; see also: Button block.
Edit button

The edit button appears at the bottom of view pages; clicking the button takes the user to the edit page for that record.

The user can also switch between view and edit pages by clicking the title bar of an information area. See: Button block.

Edit duplicate
After the user clicks the duplicate button the edit page provides a warning. The user is now editing a duplicate record (automatically draft status). After editing the duplicate record the user can click the cancel or save button at the bottom of the screen.
Edit icon
The edit icon appears in edit pages next to fields that derive data from a related record. The user clicks the icon to edit the text in the related record, e.g. to edit the “Administrative/biographical history” in an archival description, the user must click the edit icon because the data resides in the creator’s authority record.
Edit mode
Edit mode allows the user to add, modify, or delete the contents of archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, terms, and other database content using edit pages. In edit mode, AtoM displays all fields in a record for data entry.
An editor is a type of user who can search, browse, add, edit and delete archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, functions, and terms. See User roles.
Edit page
Edit pages allow users to add, edit and delete the contents of archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, functions, terms, and accession records. They are also used to carry out administrative functions such as changing user profiles and editing static pages.
An entity is an object about which an information system collects data. From the user’s perspective, in AtoM there are six main entities: archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, functions, rights records, and terms. See Entity types.
Error message
An error message will display when AtoM is unable to execute an action. See Error for examples of types of error messages.
In AtoM, an event registers an action by an actor (corporate body, person, or family) at a particular time or over a span of time and may establish a relationship between the actor and other actors or entities. This is accomplished through the use of start and end dates in the context area of the archival description (ISAD-G template), which links the creator or other actor to the records for the period of time delimited by the dates. See Entity types and Context menu.
Facet filter

In information science, a facet is a clearly defined component (based on a particular concept group, characteristic or aspect) of a class or subject. Facets are used in a system of faceted classification, which “allows the assignment of an object to multiple characteristics (attributes), enabling the classification to be ordered in multiple ways, rather than in a single, predetermined, taxonomic order.” (Wikipedia).

Facets are made up of clearly defined, often mutually exclusive categories drawn from the properties of a group of information elements. When applied as filters, facets allow a user to access and order query (search or browse) results in multiple ways dynamically.

In AtoM, facet filters are available to users on search and browse pages as a means of grouping and narrowing results. They are drawn from available fields within the entity type being browsed or searched. For further information and usage, see: Facet filters and Settings. See also: Browse, Search, and Navigate.

Facets title
The facets title is the text that appear above the list of facet filter headings and results. By default, the text appears as “Narrow your results by:”. For further information and usage, see: Facet filters and Settings. See also: Browse, Search, and Navigate.
A field is a container for a data element. Content is added to or modified in fields in edit pages. For further information, see the Wikipedia entry for Field.
Field label
Field labels identify fields in view pages and edit pages. In AtoM, the Administrator can select certain field labels and hide them from public (unauthorized Users) views. See Visible elements.
Filter tag

A filter tag appears at the top of a search or browse results page when a user arrives there with a search already delimited to a particular collection, archival institution, or other aspect of the results (for example, showing only digital objects). Displayed as a white tag with orange text indicating the filter being applied (for example, the name of a repository to which search or browse results have been limited), the filter tag also includes a grey “X” that, when clicked by a user, will remove the filter and reload the page to display global search results (i.e. results from throughout all holdings in the application).

The most common uses of filter tags in AtoM are: 1) When a user clicks the “Show results with digital objects” option provided at the top of archival description search/browse pages, the page will reload with a filter tag in place reading, “Only digital objects.” 2) When a user performs a search in the search box using the Institutional search box delimiters, a search results page with a filter tag for that institution will appear (limiting results to the holdings of the related repository). 3) When a user visits an archival institution page, and clicks the “Browse # holdings” option below the list of the institution’s holdings in the left-hand context menu, a browse results page with a filter tag for that institution will appear. 4) When a user performs a quick search on an archival description using the treeview search tab, an option to “Browse all descriptions” is presented. If the user clicks the option, AtoM will redirect the user to a browse page with a filter tag in place limiting the results to the current fonds or collection. In all cases, clicking the “X” will remove the filter tag and reload the search results correspondingly.

See: Search; see particularly Institutional search box delimiters for a screenshot and example application of the filter tags.

Finding aid

The International Council on Archives (ICA) defines a finding aid as “The broadest term to cover any description or means of reference made or received by an archives service in the course of establishing administrative or intellectual control over archival material” (ISAD Glossary)

The finding aid is a tool for discovering information about the fonds or collection. In AtoM, the entirety of an archival description (including all child records and the parent record can be understood as an online finding aid, used for discovery and access. The View archival description screen can also be printed and saved as a Finding Aid in pdf.


Fonds is an archival unit defined as “The whole of the records, regardless of form or medium, organically created and/or accumulated and used by a particular person, family, or corporate body in the course of that creator’s activities and functions.” (ISAD glossary).

In AtoM, the fonds is by default the highest level of description. This default can be changed by administrators (see User interface labels).


A function is a type of entity that describes activities linked to records creation, maintenance and use. The International Council on Archives (ICA) defines a function as “Any high level purpose, responsibility or task assigned to the accountability agenda of a corporate body by legislation, policy or mandate. Functions may be decomposed into sets of co-ordinated operations such as subfunctions, business processes, activities, tasks or transactions” (ISDF Glossary).

Functions in AtoM are linked to archival descriptions, authority records and other functions. In AtoM the fields for describing functions are taken from the ICA’s International Standard for Describing Functions (ISDF). See Entity types and Functions.

Group profile
A “Group” profile is information about a user group in AtoM. The following 4 user roles are established as default “Groups” in AtoM and each contain their own Group profile: Administrator; Editor; Contributor; and Translator (see: User roles). Additional Group profiles can also be created and maintained by authenticated (i.e. logged-in) administrators. See: Manage user accounts and user groups.
Header bar
The header bar is the navigational tool at the top of all pages in AtoM. It includes the search box, browse menu, and site logo for all users, and the main menu for authenticated (i.e. logged in) users. See: The AtoM Header Bar.
Hex color code
A hexidecimal color code is a method of expressing web based colors using hexidecimal notation. Hexidecimal notatation is a positional numerical system that uses a base of 16 distinct symbols (0-9 to represent values zero to nine, A-F to represent values ten to fifteen) to represent binary notation in a more human-readable manner. In a hex color code, 6 consecutive symbols (a hex triplet) are used to represent the red, green, and blue (RGB) components of a color - the first 2 symbols represent the red value, the next two (3 and 4) represent the green value, and the last two (5 and 6) represent the blue value. Each hex triplet has a value range between 00 and FF, and when added together, a hex color code can represent a total of 16,777,216 colors. For example, pure black is represented in hex color code as 00 00 00 or #000000, while pure white is represented as FF FF FF or #ffffff. Hex color codes are often used in HTML, CSS, SVG, and other computing applications to represent web colors. In AtoM, a user can enter a hex color code when choosing a background color for an archival institution. See: Change the background color of an archival institution.
Hierarchy browser
The hierarchy browser is a user interface element that can be enabled or disabled by an administrator via the treeview settings page. When enabled, it provides users with a full-width treeview of all of AtoM’s archival description holdings. Users can expand and collapse individual nodes to explore the hierarchical arrangement of a specific archival unit; however, clicking any node in the hierarchy browser will redirect the user to the related description’s view page. See: Using the Hierarchy browser and Treeview settings.
Holdings is a generic term referring to the records and other materials held by archival institutions. In AtoM a list of holdings is displayed in the context menu on archival institution view pages. The list is generated from the titles of archival descriptions that have the archival institution selected as a repository. See Context menu, Archival Institutions and Browse the holdings of an institution.
Home page
The home page is the first page the user sees when opening the AtoM application. It can also be accessed by clicking the site logo. The content of the home page can be edited by administrators (see Home page and Manage static pages).
Information area

Information areas appear on view pages and edit pages of any standards-based description template in AtoM, and group related fields based on the organization of elements of description in ICA (or other supported) descriptive standards. They are comprised of a number of fields in the body of the information area, and an area header, whose name is drawn from the related area or section of the standard upon which the descriptive template is based.

Clicking on the area header of an information area toggles it between closed (all fields in that area hidden) and open (all fields visible) when in edit mode; in view mode, clicking on an area header will result in opening the related information area in edit mode (if the user is logged in and has sufficient access privileges to edit a record). For more information and a screenshot, see: Information areas.

Information object
An information object is another term for an archival description that can be more broadly applied to any description of a resource, not necessarily archival in origin.
Institution block
An element of the Institutional scoping setting (found in Admin > Settings > Global), this user interface element comprises of a repository logo, dedicated search box, and dedicated browse menu that will return search or browse pages related to the holdings of a particular institution. When enabled, the institution block appears on the view page of a repository, as well as any search or browse page that has been filtered (i.e. “scoped”) to a particular archival institution. For more information, see: Enable institutional scoping.
In AtoM, a job refers to a set of operations requested by a user that are performed asynchronously in the background, rather than via the web browser, to guarantee that web requests are handled promptly and work loads can be distributed across multiple machines. This ensures time and/or resource-intensive tasks do not timeout when running via the web browser. Example asynchronous jobs in AtoM include generating finding aids, managing PREMIS rights inheritance, and uploading DIPs from Archivematica. Jobs in AtoM are handled by Gearman, and the status of AtoM jobs can be seen in the user interface via the Manage > Jobs page. For more information, see: Manage jobs and Asynchronous jobs and worker management.
Language menu
The language menu, located in the top-right corner of the page, allows the user to switch to any of the supported languages in AtoM. See Choose language; see also Default language and Add/remove languages .
Level of description
The level of description is “the position of the unit of description in the hierarchy of the fonds” (ISAD glossary). In AtoM, the level of description is selected from a value list in the edit page of an archival description. See: Data entry / templates. Level of description values are maintained as terms in a taxonomy - AtoM ships with a number of common archival default values, but these can be edited or deleted, and new values can be added by authorized users. See: Terms.
Main menu
The main menu is the the navigational tool located at the top of all pages for authenticated (logged in) users, as part of the header bar. It allows the user to navigate to all the main areas of AtoM. See: Main menu
Master digital object
The master digital object is the unaltered version of a digital object that has been uploaded to AtoM. AtoM automatically generates a thumbnail and a reference display copy of the object. Only authenticated users may view master digital objects. See Upload and manage digital objects.
Media type

Media type refers to the format of uploaded digital objects. The media type is selected automatically by AtoM when a digital object is uploaded and the thumbnail and reference display copies of the object are generated. See Upload and manage digital objects.


Media type terms are controlled by the media type taxonomy. AtoM ships with five terms (audio, image, text, video, other) that are locked; these cannot be edited or deleted because they are referenced by AtoM’s code. Editors and administrators can add new media type terms, but unless developers incorporate these into the code, the system will not be able to do anything with them.

Multi-repository system
A multi-repository system exists when a single instance of AtoM is used by a network of archival institutions or other types of repositories.
Multi-value field
A multi-value field is a field that is structured to contain more than one data entry.
In AtoM, names are registered in authority records for corporate bodies, persons, and families who interact with archival materials as e.g. creators, custodians and publishers. Names can be applied as access points to archival descriptions. See Terms; see also Authority records and On Name vs. Subject Access Points.
A network is an aggregation of institutions using one instance of AtoM to produce a union list of archival holdings (a multi-repository system).
Parent record
The parent record refers to the description of the archival unit that is one level of description higher than the current unit. For example, a fonds may be the parent record of a series. A parent record may have multiple child records. Terms can also be organized hierarchically (with parent-child relationships) in a taxonomy, and expressed as broader or narrower terms. A broader term would be the parent of its narrower child terms. See also: Child record.
A password is a case-sensitive, unspaced string of characters (alpha- numeric and/or special characters) associated with a user account and intended to be kept private, to provide a user with a secure means of logging into the AtoM application. Passwords are required by every user of the system who needs to be able to add, edit, delete, or translate content. The initial passwords are set by the system administrator (see Manage user accounts and user groups) and can subsequently be changed by the user (see Change password). System administrators can also change user passwords via the command-line - see: Change a password.
Permissions tab
In AtoM, permissions tabs can be viewed by navigating through user profiles and group profiles. An administrator can view and maintain user and group access privileges by navigating through these tabs. When editing a user’s access privileges, these tabs will appear under the user’s name as follows: “Archival description permissions”; “Authority records permissions”; “Taxonomy permissions”; and “Archival institution permissions”. When editing a group’s access privileges, these tabs will appear under the user group’s name as follows: “Information object permissions”; “Actor permissions”; “Taxonomy permissions”; and “Archival institution permissions”. See: Edit user permissions.
Physical storage
Physical storage is a grouping of fields relating to the management of physical objects such as folders, boxes, shelves, and cabinets. In AtoM, users can create and edit information about physical objects by clicking on the “Link physical storage” option, found under the “More” menu in the button block of an archival description or accession record. See Physical storage.
In AtoM, a place is a geographic location registered in a taxonomy and used as an access point in archival descriptions, authority records, and archival institutions. See: Terms and Add an access point “on the fly” from an archival description.
Print icon
An icon of a printer is located in the title bar of the View Physical storage and Search/Advanced Search results screen. Clicking the icon will take the user to a print preview page (simple black and white). Go to the browser tabs and select file, from the drop-down list select print. See Reports/printing.
Publication status
The publication status of a record, which can be set to either draft or published, determines whether or not the associated description is visible to unauthenticated (i.e., not logged in) users, such as researchers. It can be changed in the administration area of a description’s edit page by a user with edit permissions. See: Publish an archival description.
Published record

A published record is an archival description that has had its status changed from draft to published in the Administration area at the bottom of the archival description edit page. See: Publish an archival description.


The publication status is inherited from the highest level of description; e.g. when a fonds description is changed from draft to published, all child records within the fonds are automatically changed as well. Once archival descriptions have been published, users who are not logged in can view them. See Publish an archival description.

The quick links menu, located in the header bar in the top-right corner of the page, allows users to navigate to static pages and/or other external links added to the application by an administrator. See: Quick links menu.
Radio button
A radio button is an element of a user interface that allows a user to select only one of a predefined list of options. Radio buttons are used throughout the AtoM application, including in the Admin > Themes page to select a theme, and in the Admin > Settings page to control a number of different options.

The International Council on Archives (ICA) defines a record as “recorded information in any form or medium, created or received and maintained, by an organization or person in the transaction of business or the conduct of affairs” (ISAD glossary).

The Society of American Archivists (SAA), which maintains an excellent glossary of archival terminology, holds several different definitions of a record, including: “data or information in a fixed form that is created or received in the course of individual or institutional activity and set aside (preserved) as evidence of that activity for future reference.”

In AtoM, an archival description is used to provide contextual information about and intellectual control over archival materials, which include records. See: Archival Descriptions.

Reference code

In AtoM, a reference code is a unique identifier string associated with an archival description, created through the combination of inherited identifiers from other related entities. This unique string is built using the archival description identifier plus the identifier of all its ancestors (parent records), as well as the related repository identifier and country code if they have been entered. The string will appear in this order with the applicable elements:

  • Country code (derived from the country code of the country entered into the contact information of the related archival institution)
  • Repository identifier (derived from the identifier field on the related archival institution)
  • Fonds/Collection level identifier
  • Series identifier
  • Subseries identifier
  • File identifier
  • Item identifier

The display of either the full inherited reference code, or only the identifier associated with the current description, is managed by a setting available to an administrator in Admin > Settings > Global. For more information, see: Inherit reference code (information object).

Reference display copy
A reference display copy is a low-resolution version of a master digital object generated automatically by AtoM on upload. It is used to display images on the digital object view page when the user clicks on a thumbnail, on archival descriptions that have linked digital objects, and in the digital object area of edit pages. See See Upload and manage digital objects.
Report icon
In AtoM a report icon can be found in the right hand context menu of an archival description view page. Clicking on the report icon takes the user to a Reports screen and the choice of printing 4 different reports: File list, Item list, Physical storage locations, or a set of Box labels. See Reports/printing.

The Society of American Archivists Glossary defines a repository as “any type of organization that holds documents, including business, institutional, and government archives, manuscript collections, libraries, museums, and historical societies, and in any form, including manuscripts, photographs, moving image and sound materials, and their electronic equivalents.”

In AtoM, the term is sometimes used as a more generic term for archival institution that includes all cultural heritage organizations. For instructions on working with repositories in AtoM, see: Archival Institutions.

A researcher is a type of user who is limited to searching and browsing descriptions. See User roles and Default settings: Anonymous.
Rights record
In AtoM, Rights records can be linked to accession records, archival descriptions and digital objects. AtoM Rights metadata elements use PREMIS rights elements. In AtoM restrictions can be based on Copyright(s), License, Statute(s) and Policy. For a full explanation see Rights.
The search box is used to find descriptions in AtoM that contain text matching a search query. The search box is located in the header bar on all AtoM pages, including the home page. See Access content and Search
Self-reciprocal term
A term that has an inverse reciprocal relationship to another term in the same taxonomy is known as a converse term. A self-reciprocal term, in contrast, is one whose inverse reciprocal term is itself. Converse and self-reciprocal term relationships can be managed via the term’s edit page; currently converse and self-reciprocal relationships are only used in the Actor relations taxonomy, though the field is available in all term edit pages. Examples of default converse terms include: is the parent of and is the child of, or is the employer of and is the employee of, while examples of a default self-reciprocal terms include is the sibling of and is the associate of. Actor relation terms are used in the ISAAR Relationships dialogue to establish relationshps between authority records. When one term is added as a relationship qualifier to an authority record, its converse term will automatically appear on the related authority record. Terms marked as self-reciprocal will automatically appear similarly on both related authority records. For more information, see: Add/edit a converse term and Create a relationship between two authority records.
Settings is a broad term used to describe the properties that affect the way a program looks and functions. In AtoM, certain settings can be changed by an administrator in order to customize AtoM to institution-specific requirements. See Settings.
Site description
The site description is a brief description of the site’s purpose or its contents, that can be optionally included by an administrator when configuring the settings of an AtoM installation. When made visible via AtoM’s Settings, the site title appears at the top of the page directly under the header bar. It is a configurable element - the text can be changed or removed. See Site information and Default page elements. See also The AtoM Header Bar and Recurring page elements.
Site base URL
The site base URL is the absolute URL to your site’s homepage. This URL will be included in MODS and EAD XML exports to formulate absolute links to AtoM resources. If your domain is “”, for example, your base URL would normally be “”.
The site logo is the graphic that appears at the top of all pages in the left-hand corner of the header bar in AtoM. Clicking on the logo will take the user to the home page. AtoM ships with a default logo that can be replaced by administrators to theme the application to their own institution or network if desired. See Site logo; see also: The AtoM Header Bar. An administrator can also control via the Settings whether or not the logo is displayed in the AtoM header bar - see: Default page elements.
Site title
The site title is a configurable element in AtoM that can be managed by an administrator through the application settings. The site title will appear in the AtoM header bar if it is made visible via the Default page elements settings. See Site information; see also: Default page elements and The AtoM Header Bar.
Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) is a data standard model developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as a common data model “for expressing the basic structure and content of concept schemes such as thesauri, classification schemes, subject heading lists, taxonomies, folksonomies, and other similar types of controlled vocabulary.” (W3C SKOS Primer, 18 August 2009). It is used in AtoM to import and export hierarchical taxonomies. See: Export XML. See also: Terms and Import terms with SKOS files.

A slug is a word or sequence of words which make up the last part of a URL in AtoM. It is the part of the URL that uniquely identifies the resource and often is indicative of the name or title of the page (e.g.: in, the slug is about). The slug is meant to provide a unique, human-readable, permanent link to a resource. In AtoM, all pages based on user data (such as archival descriptions, archival institutions, authority records, terms, etc.) are automatically assigned a slug based on the title (or authorized form of name) of the resource. See Notes on slugs in AtoM for further details.

As well, static pages, or permanent links, include a slug field option, but only slugs for new static pages can be edited by users; the slugs for the default Home page and About page in AtoM cannot be edited. New static page slugs can either be customized by users or automatically generated by AtoM if the field is left blank; AtoM will automatically generate a slug that is based on the “Title” you have indicated for the new static page.

Sort button
The sort button is a navigational element that appears on some browse and search pages throughout AtoM. It allows a user to change the sort order of the results being displayed, from alphabetic to most recent. When the sort order is set to “Alphabetic,” results are organized A-Z. When results are ordered by “Most recent” the most recently added and/or edited records in the results will appear at the top of the list, allowing users to discover new or recently updated content. See: Sort buttons.
Static page
Static pages are pages that are designed to look the same each time they are accessed, in contrast to dynamic pages such as, search pages, view pages, or edit pages. AtoM has two static pages, the home page and the about page. Static pages can be edited by an administrator, and new static pages can be created. (see Manage static pages; see also: Quick links menu).
In AtoM, subjects are controlled-vocabulary terms grouped in a taxonomy and used as access points in archival descriptions. See: Terms.
Supported language
In AtoM, a supported language is one into which both data elements and user interface elements can be translated. See: Default language; see also: Translate.
A taxonomy is a grouping of controlled-vocabulary terms used to generate value lists and access points. See Terms.
Terms are the values that make up controlled vocabularies. In AtoM, terms are grouped into taxonomies that can be added, edited, and deleted through the “Term” item of the add menu. See Terms.
A thumbnail is a small, low-resolution version of a master digital object generated automatically by AtoM on upload. Thumbnails are displayed in search and browse results and in carousel views at higher levels of description. See Upload and manage digital objects and File formats.
Title bar
The title bar is a contextual element that appears throughout AtoM on various different page types, offering the user an indication of the type of page, and/or the name of the record, currently being viewed. On a view or edit page, the title bar displays the name (title) of the current entity. The title bar appears at the top of core entity records in AtoM, including archival descriptions, authority records, archival institutions, functions, and terms (such as subjects and places), as well as at the top of physical storage locations. On Donor and accession records, the title bar displays a message indicating whether the record is in view or edit mode, with the record’s name/title display below (as a sub-title). On archival descriptions, the title bar also displays the level of description of the displayed description. See: Title bar.
Tooltips are online text designed to assist users to enter data in edit pages. Tooltip text is usually derived from the standards on which the edit templates are based; in rare occasions where the field does not correspond directly to a standard, this text has been supplied. Note that administrators can turn tooltips on or off. See Global settings.
Top-level description filter
The top-level description filter appears on the search and browse pages for archival descriptions. It limits the returned results to those descriptions without any parents - that is, those that are not part of a hierarchy with any records higher than them in the hierarchy. By default, the filter is engaged on the browse page for archival descriptions, and disengaged by default on the search results page - but users can manually set the filter setting via the radio button above the Levels of description facet filter. See: Browse archival descriptions
Translation bar
The translation bar appears at the bottom of the page when users with translator access privileges select a language from the language menu. Clicking on “Translate user interface” in the bottom right-hand corner of the bar opens up the translation panel, where the user translates user interface elements. See Translate.
Translation panel
The translation panel is used by translators to edit user interface elements and is accessed via the translation bar. See Translate Interface.
A translator is a type of user who can translate data elements and user interface elements. See User roles; see also: Default settings: Translator and Translate.
The treeview is a contextual and navigation element located in the context menu for archival descriptions, places, and subjects. It shows the current record’s relationships to other records, with links, e.g. the hierarchical placement of archival descriptions within a fonds, or the hierarchical placement of a term (such as a subject or place) within a taxonomy. The treeview can also be used for navigation. See: Context menu.
Typeahead (also known as incremental search or real-time suggestions) is a form of auto-complete used in a user interface. As a user enters text, one or more possible matches are found and presented to the user, which continue to narrow as a user enters further text. This allows a user to dynamically view results and select a resource without necessarily having to enter its full name or title. In AtoM, the search box implements typeahead, and presents the user with results divided into entity types such as archival description, authority record, archival institution, subject, and place. It appears as a drop-down below the search box as a user enters text. See: Search and Search box .
User account
User accounts are established in order to manage access privileges through the assignment of user roles. Every user who must be able to add, edit, delete, or translate content must have a user account. In AtoM user accounts are established and maintained by administrators. See User roles, Manage user accounts and user groups, and Edit permissions.
User interface
The user interface is the set of elements that allow the user to interact with the AtoM application. These elements include the : main menu, drop-down menus, context menu, title bar, column headers, buttons and button block, fields, and field labels, and any other elements used to navigate AtoM or to search for, view, add, edit, and delete database content. The labels of some user interface elements can be customized by administrators (see User interface labels).
The username is a name supplied by an administrator to any user (other than a researcher) of the AtoM application as part of the user account. See Manage user accounts and user groups.
User profile
A user profile is information about a user managed in a user account. User profiles are created and maintained by administrators (see Manage user accounts and user groups), although authenticated (i.e., logged in) users can view their own profiles (and change their passwords) by going through the header bar (see: Change password). See: Manage user accounts and user groups.
User role
User roles define levels of access to functions in AtoM, ranging from view-only access to full administration rights. User roles are defined by groups that an administrator can add and edit. See User roles, Manage user accounts and user groups, and Edit permissions.
Value list
Value lists restrict data entry in certain fields to controlled vocabulary terms or terms derived from authority records. They appear as drop-down menus in edit pages.
View mode
View mode provides read-only access to the contents of archival descriptions, authority records, functions and archival institutions using view pages. In view mode, AtoM displays only those fields in a record which contain data.
View page
View pages allow users to view in detail the contents of archival descriptions, authority records, functions and archival institutions.
Visible elements
Visible elements enables an administrator to “hide” specific fields in the database from the public (i.e., unauthorized users, or users who are not logged in). To review which fields can be hidden from view, select ISAD template, RAD template, Digital object metadata area, and/or Physical Storage. The administrator can click on the checkboxes to reveal the field, while an unchecked box hides the field. See Visible elements.

Version 2.7