Technical documentation for ArchivesSpace

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Customizing text in ArchivesSpace

ArchivesSpace has abstracted all the labels, messages and tooltips out of the application into the locale files, which are part of the Rails Internationalization (I18n) API. The locales in this directory represent the basis of translations for use by all Archives Space applications. Each application may then add to or override these values with their own locales files.

For a guide on managing these “i18n” files, please visit

You can see the source files for both the Staff Frontend Application and Public Application. There is also a common locale file for some values used throughout the ArchivesSpace applications.

The base translations are broken up:

These values are pulled into the views using the I18n.t() method, like I18n.t(“brand.welcome_message”).

If the value you want to override is in the common locale file (like the “digital object title” field label, for example) , you can change this by simply editing the locales/en.yml file in your ArchivesSpace distribution home directory. A restart is required to have the changes take effect.

If the value you want to change is in either the public or staff specific en.yml files, you can override these values using the plugins directory. For example, if you want to change the welcome message on the public frontend, make a file in your ArchivesSpace distribution called ‘plugins/local/public/locales/en.yml’ and put the following values:

	title: My Archive
	home: Home
 		welcome_message: HEY HEY HEY!!

If you restart ArchivesSpace, these values will take effect.

If you are adding a new value you will also need to add the value into the Staff Frontend Application by clicking on the System dropdown menu and choosing Manage Controlled Value Lists. Select the list and add the value. If you restart ArchivesSpace the translation value that you set in the yml file should appear.

If you’re using a different language, simply swap out the en.yml for something else ( like fr.yml ) and update locale setting in the config.rb file ( i.e., AppConfig[:locale] = :fr )


To add a tooltip to a record label, simply add a new entry with “_tooltip” appended to the label’s code. For example, to add a tooltip for the Accession’s Title field:

    title: Title
    title_tooltip: |
        <p>The title assigned to an accession or resource. The accession title
        need not be the same as the resource title. Moreover, a title need not
        be expressed for the accession record, as it can be implicitly
        inherited from the resource record to which the accession is


For text fields or text areas, you may like to have some placeholder text to be displayed when the field is empty (for more details see Please note while most modern browser releases support this feature, older version will not.

To add a placeholder to a record’s text field, add a new entry of the label’s code append with “_placeholder”. For example:

    title: Title
    title_placeholder: See DACS 2.3.18-2.3.22