Installing AtoM

Access to Memory is a brilliant archival description management system, written in PHP and available under the CC-BY-SA license. The installation documentation is thorough… but of course I just want to get the thing running and so didn’t bother actually reading it all! I mean, where’s the tldr?!

So here are the essential bits (for a more-or-less bog standard Ubuntu install with Apache, PHP, and Node.js), running as a normal user and installing to a subdirectory.

To start, clone the repository from and check out the latest stable branch (e.g. stable/2.2.x).

Then make the config, cache, and log directories writable by the web-server user: chgrp -R www-data {cache,log,data} (or whatever your webserver runs as, of course).

Now change into the /plugins/arDominionPlugin directory and run make; this will build the CSS files.

Navigating to the installation now will redirect to the installation system, and probably throw up a bunch of errors. Probably to do with missing dependencies, or permissions; sort these out (e.g. sudo php5enmod xsl and you should be good to go.

(Good to go to the next step, that is.)

Now install Elasticsearch. It’s easier than the AtoM docs admit: just do it the normal way with sudo apt-get install elasticsearch. (I’d submit a change to the AtoM docs to remove the “it’s not in the Ubuntu repositories” line, but I’m not quite sure how yet.)

Start Elasticsearch (in the background; the -d switch) with sudox /usr/share/elasticsearch/bin/elasticsearch -d and carry on with the installation procedure. The rest seems to be fairly straight forward.

I’m redundant

This week is the first time for seven years that I’ve not had a job to go to (and not been on holiday). So of course I’m sitting at a computer working on some code, drinking a coffee. The location (Parlapa) is better than the office, and more importantly my mind is not full of thoughts of work-code; it’s time to focus on projects that make me feel good.

Sailing in Spain, 1975
Sailing in Spain, 1975

Which is a tricky proposition, of course, because there are so many that I’d like to put time into, and it’s hard to prioritise. This morning I’ve been attempting to figure out why a cronjob I’ve got running on Tool Labs isn’t sending me emails. Yesterday I was scanning a small stack of photos that my dad took in Spain in 1975. Next I shall continue with a little website I’ve been working on to make it easier to search and browse books on Wikisource (almost all of the data for which is coming from Wikidata). But then there’s this little tool that I wrote a while ago for producing HTML and LaTeX albums from Flickr groups; it needs expanding and improving. Not to mention my desire to explore AtoM some more, especially in relation to how we might be able to use it while working on the Maps for Lost Towns Geogeeks project.

See? Too many things. That’s why jobs are good: one need just turn up every morning and have a ready-made list of what’s-to-be-done.