Administrator manual 0.10

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Main Page > Documentation > Administrator Manual

This manual covers administrator-specific instructions for Archivematica. It will also provide help for using forms in the Administration tab of the Archivematica dashboard and the administrator capabilities in the Format Policy Registry (FPR), which you will find in the Preservation planning tab of the dashboard.

For end-user instructions, please see the user manual.



  • Currently, Archivematica does not support upgrading from one version to the next. A re-install is required.

Dashboard administration tab

The Archivematica administration pages, under the Administration tab of the dashboard, allows you to configure application components and manage users.

Transfer source directories

Unlike previous versions, Archivematica v0.9 allows you to start transfers using the web interface rather than the operating system's file browser. Source files for transfers, however, can't be uploaded using the web interface: they must exist on volumes accessible to the Archivematica server.

When starting a transfer you're required to select one or more directories of files to add to the transfer. To speed up the process of selecting directories, Archivematica allows you to specify "source directories". A source directory is a directory in which files and directories likely to be added to a transfer are present.

To add a source directory, while on the transfer source directories page of the Administration tab in the dashboard, simply click the folder icon to expand the starting directory and navigate the interface until you find a directory you'd like to select as a source directory. Once you've found a suitable source directory, click the "Add" button to the right of the directory and it will be added.

To remove a source directory, simply click the "Remove" button to the right of it in the source directory path list.

AIP storage directories

AtoM DIP upload

Archivematica can upload DIPs directly to an AtoM website so the contents can be accessed online. The AtoM DIP upload configuration page is where you specify the details of the AtoM installation you'd like the DIPs uploaded to (and, if using Rsync to transfer the DIP files, Rsync transfer details).

The parameters that you'll most likely want to set are url, email, and password. These parameters, respectively, specify the destination AtoM website's URL, the email address used to log in to the website, and the password used to log in to the website.

AtoM DIP upload can also use Rsync as a transfer mechanism. Rsync is an open source utility for efficiently transferring files. The rsync-target parameter is used to specify an Rsync-style target host/directory pairing, "" for example. The rsync-command parameter is used to specify rsync connection options, "ssh -p 22222 -l user" for example. If you are using the rsync option, please see AtoM server configuration below.

To set any parameters for AtoM DIP upload change the values, preserving the existing format they're specified in, in the "Command arguments" field then click "Save".

Note that in AtoM, the sword plugin (Admin --> qtSwordPlugin) and job scheduling (Admin --> Settings --> Job scheduling) must both be enabled in order for AtoM to receive uploaded DIPs.

AtoM server configuration

This server configuration step is necessary to allow Archivematica to log in to the AtoM server without passwords, and only when the user is deploying the rsync option described above in the AtoM DIP upload section.

To enable sending DIPs from Archivematica to the AtoM server:

Generate SSH keys for the Archivematica user. Leave the passphrase field blank.

 $ sudo -i -u archivematica
 $ cd ~
 $ ssh-keygen

Copy the contents of /var/lib/archivematica/.ssh/ somewhere handy, you will need it later.

Now, it's time to configure the AtoM server so Archivematica can send the DIPs using SSH/rsync. For that purpose, you will create a user called archivematica and we are going to assign that user a restricted shell with access only to rsync:

 $ sudo apt-get install rssh
 $ sudo useradd -d /home/archivematica -m -s /usr/bin/rssh archivematica
 $ sudo passswd -l archivematica
 $ sudo vim /etc/rssh.conf // Make sure that allowrsync is uncommented!

Add the SSH key that we generated before:

 $ sudo mkdir /home/archivematica/.ssh
 $ chmod 700 /home/archivematica/.ssh/
 $ sudo vim /home/archivematica/.ssh/authorized_keys // Paste here the contents of
 $ chown -R archivematica:archivematica /home/archivematica

In Archivematica, make sure that you update the --rsync-target accordingly.
These are the parameters that we are passing to the upload-qubit microservice.
Go to the Administration > Upload DIP page in the dashboard.

Generic parameters:

--url="http://atom-hostname/index.php" \
--email="" \
--password="demo" \
--uuid="%SIPUUID%" \
--rsync-target="archivematica@atom-hostname:/tmp" \

CONTENTdm DIP upload

Archivematica can also upload DIPs to CONTENTdm websites. Multiple CONTENTdm destinations may be configured. For each possible CONTENTdm DIP upload destination, you'll specify a brief description and configuration parameters appropriate for the destination. Possible paramters include %ContentdmServer%, %ContentdmUser%, and %ContentdmGroup%.

When changing parameters for a CONTENTdm DIP upload destination simply change the values, preserving the existing format they're specified in. To add an upload destination fill in the form at the bottom of the page with the appropriate values. When you've completed your changes click the "Save" button.

Processing configuration

When processing a SIP or transfer, you may want to automate some of the workflow choices. Choices can be preconfigured by putting a 'processingMCP.xml' file into the root directory of a SIP/transfer. The processing configuration administration page allows you to configure the default 'processingMCP.xml' that's added to a SIP or Transfer if it doesn't alreay contain one.

If a SIP or transfer is submitted with a 'processingMCP.xml' file, processing decisions will be made with the included file.

The XML file format is:

      <appliesTo>Workflow decision - create transfer backup</appliesTo>
      <goToChain>Do not backup transfer</goToChain>
      <appliesTo>Workflow decision - send transfer to quarantine</appliesTo>
      <goToChain>Skip quarantine</goToChain>
      <appliesTo>Remove from quarantine</appliesTo>
      <delay unitCtime="yes">50</delay>

Where appliesTo is the name of the job presented in the dashboard, and goToChain is the desired selection. Note: these are case sensitive.

The default processingMCP.xml file is located at '/var/archivematica/sharedDirectory/sharedMicroServiceTasksConfigs/processingMCPConfigs/defaultProcessingMCP.xml' Again, it can be modified by making selections under the processing configuration section of the administration tab in the dashboard. Information regarding the processing choices is available in the user manual.

PREMIS agent

The PREMIS agent name and code can be set via the administration interface.

Rest API

In addition to automation using the processingMCP.xml file, Archivematica includes a REST API for automating transfer approval. Using this API, you can create a custom script that copies a transfer to the appropriate directory then uses the curl command, or some other means, to let Archivematica know that the copy is complete.

API keys

Use of the REST API requires the use of API keys. An API key is associated with a specific user. To generate an API key for a user:

  1. Browse to /administration/accounts/list/
  2. Click the "Edit" button for the user you'd like to generate an API key for
  3. Click the "Regenerate API key" checkbox
  4. Click "Save"

After generating an API key, you can click the "Edit" button for the user and you should see the API key.

IP whitelist

In addition to creating API keys, you'll need to add the IP of any computer making REST requests to the REST API whitelist. The IP whitelist can be edited in the administration interface at /administration/api/.

Approving a transfer

The REST API can be used to approve a transfer. The transfer must first be copied into the appropriate watch directory. To determine the location of the appropriate watch directory, first figure out where the shared directory is from the sharedDirectory value of /etc/archivematica/MCPServer/serverConfig.conf. Within that directory is a subdirectory activeTransfers. In this subdirectory are watch directories for the various transfer types.

When using the REST API to approve a transfer, if a transfer type isn't specified, the transfer will be deemed a standard transfer.


URL: /api/transfer/approve


directory: directory name of the transfer

type (optional): transfer type [standard|dspace|unzipped bag|zipped bag]

api_key: an API key

username: the username associated with the API key

Example curl command:

   curl --data "username=rick&api_key=f12d6b323872b3cef0b71be64eddd52f87b851a6&type=standard&directory=MyTransfer"

Example result:

   {"message": "Approval successful."}

Listing unapproved transfers

The REST API can be used to get a list of unapproved transfers. Each transfer's directory name and type is returned.

Method: GET

URL: /api/transfer/unapproved


api_key: an API key

username: the username associated with the API key

Example curl command:

   curl ""

Example result:

       "message": "Fetched unapproved transfers successfully.",
       "results": [{
               "directory": "MyTransfer",
              "type": "standard"


The dashboard provides a simple cookie-based user authentication system using the Django authentication framework. Access to the dashboard is limited only to logged-in users and a login page will be shown when the user is not recognized. If the application can't find any user in the database, the user creation page will be shown instead, allowing the creation of an administrator account.

Users can be also created, modified and deleted from the Administration tab. Here you can manage which users have access to Archivematica and what level of access they have. Standard users are able to access all sections of the interterface except for the administration section.

You can add a new user to the system by clicking the "Add new" button on the user administration page. These users won't have administrator capability. By adding a user you provide a way to access Archivematica using a username/password combination. Should you need to change a user's username or password, you can do so by clicking the "Edit" button, corresponding to the user, on the administration page. Should you need to revoke a user's access, you can click the corresponding "Delete" button.

CLI creation of administrative users

If you need an additional administrator user one can be created via the command-line after navigating to the src/dashboard/src directory in the source tree.

   python createsuperuser --settings='settings.common'

CLI password resetting

If you've forgotten the password for your administrator user, or any other user, you can change it via the command-line.

   python changepassword <username> --settings='settings.common'


Archivematica uses PBKDF2 as the default algorithm to store passwords. This should be sufficient for most users: it's quite secure, requiring massive amounts of computing time to break. However, other algorithms could be used as the following document explains: How Django stores passwords.

Our plan is to extend this functionality in the future adding groups and granular permissions support: see issue 922 to read more about it.

Dashboard preservation planning tab

Format Policy Registry (FPR)

Customization and automation

  • Workflow processing decisions can be made in the processingMCP.xml file. See here.
  • Workflows are currently created at the development level.
    Some resources avialable
  • Normalization commands can be viewed in the presveration planning tab.
  • Normalization paths and commands are currently editedable under the preservation planning tab in the dashboard.


Archivematica has the capability of indexing data about files contained in AIPs and this data can be accessed programatically for various applications.

If, for whatever reason, you need to delete an ElasticSearch index please see ElasticSearch Administration.

If, for whatever reason, you need to delete an Elasticsearch index programmatically, this can be done with pyes using the following code.

import sys
from pyes import *
conn = ES('')

    print "Error deleting index or index already deleted."

Data backup

  • How to protect your data from disaster.


  • It is recommended to change the default passwords.
    • The ICA-ATOM/ContentDM passwords can be set in the administration tab in the dashboard.
    • The database connection credentials can be set in the /etc/archivematica/archivematicaCommon/dbsettings. These will need to a mysql user with permissions to the MCP database.
  • Database
  • The database user
  • /etc/archivematica/archivematicaCommon/dbsettings
  • The dashboard config file?
  • Content DM
  • ICA-AtoM
  • Archivematica does not presently support secured sockets. See 1645, 1345 Because of this, it's highly recommended to run Archivematica on a secure, isolated network.


Frequently asked questions

Discussion group