Skip to Main Content

MIT Libraries logo

MIT logo Search Account

Using MIT ArchivesSpace: Finding digital materials

A Web interface for MIT ArchivesSpace, the archives collections management system used by the Libraries' Distinctive Collections and the Aga Khan Documentation Center.

Digital objects in ArchivesSpace

Digital objects (also known as digital records) are pages within ArchivesSpace that describe online archival material. These records often just contain a title and a link.

Digital objects are connected to archival objects in the finding aid. Archival objects contain more description about the actual item. Digital object records look similar to archival object records and both contain a blue box with a link to the material online. 


If you want to find the archival object connected to the digital object, go down on the digital object page and expand the Linked Records section.

Click on the text in bold to get to the counterpart archival object.

The other links separated by pipes ( | ) go to higher level parts of the finding aid (subseries, series, collection, etc.).


Finding all digital objects in MIT ArchivesSpace

Click on the Digital Materials tab on the top of the page in ArchivesSpace.


From there you can browse everything that is available online.

On the all digital objects page you can limit your search by repository or you can use the search box to narrow your results.


Digital objects often do not have the same amount of description as their counterparts in the finding aid (archival objects). Some legacy digital objects may also not have links. See the Digital objects in ArchivesSpace section for how you can find the linked archival object for more information and after that, the archival objects with digital material section, if you're looking for how to request the material from digital objects without links.

Archival objects with digital material

Archival objects are what you interact with in the finding aid. If an archival object has an attached digital object, the link to the file will be available from the archival object description. To view the online version of the file, click on the blue box with an icon inside it.

You can also see when an item is available online through the collection organization window on the right side of the finding aid. When a small image icon is present next to the title of the item, it means there is a link to the digital content for that item.

screenshot of finding aid showing "Collection Organization" section with arrow pointing to entry with an image icon next to it

If an archival object does not contain a direct link, it does not mean that a digital file doesn't exist. Not every archival object that is digital or digitized will have a link online. To find out if an archival object has a digital version:

  • First, click on Physical Storage Information to show container information.

  • If there is a listing for a container beginning with DigitalStorage, it means there are digital files for that archival object.



If you would like to view a digital file that is not available online, request the archival object by clicking the request icon. If the material is not restricted, DDC will provide you with a temporary access link.

Seeing all digital materials in a collection

To see all the digital objects for a collection, click on the View Digital Material tab that appears at the collection level in the finding aid. 

You will be taken to a page that lists all of the digital objects available throughout the entire collection.

You can also find all digital material within a collection, including material that is not available online, through the container inventory.

In the collection description, click the Container Inventory tab.


Use the filter box on the right to choose Type DigitalStorage.


This will list all the "containers" that have digital material.

Click a container to see the contents. These will be either archival objects or collection level records.


Click on the item you're interested in.

  • If the material is available online you will see a link to the object. It appears as a blue box with an icon in it 
  • If the material does not have a link, you can submit a request for the material. If the material is not restricted, you will be provided with a temporary access link.

Questions? Comments?

Please contact Ask Distinctive Collections! for help finding collection material and to make appointments to access material.

To suggest corrections or report errors, email us at

We respond to questions Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.