A Next-Generation Archives Management System [SAA session 601]

This presentation mainly focused on the history of the ArchivesSpace project during its time as a Melon-funded venture. I’ve attached the presentation slides (note, slides no longer exist) if you’re interested in timelines and other details. Suffice it to say, the ArchivesSpace team has accomplished their goal of producing a solid 1.0 release, and the software is now moving into a community-funded phase. The RAC has joined as an ArchivesSpace charter member and will be able to partake in the benefits that membership affords, including access to documentation, a voice in development priorities, and early access to migration tools.

There are many shiny new features in the 1.0 release, including:

  • LDAP authentication (meaning you may be able to use your RAC network login to access the application, rather than managing a separate user account)
  • REST API (this should give us some flexibility in moving data in and out of the application)
  • Full-text search
  • Event records for preservation and collection management actions

Unfortunately, there are a couple features that didn’t make it into this release, but are priorities for upcoming releases. The ones I was particularly interested in are EAC-CPF import and export, bulk editing, and rapid data entry functionality.

There is a hosted version of ArchivesSpace available online to try out. I highly recommend doing so. I find the interface to be much more aesthetically pleasing than that of the archaic Archivists’ Toolkit interface, and more usable to boot.

We won’t be moving over to ArchivesSpace for about a year; I’d rather let other institutions adopt early and find all the bugs. We also have ATReference data that will need to be migrated. I’m hoping we can implement Aeon, which we could then use for researcher registration, but Aeon is a proprietary system and our adoption of it is confined by budgetary restrictions. Alternately we could develop a plug-in to ArchivesSpace to manage that data, but that’s not very attractive for a variety of reasons. I’m hoping that by the end of this fiscal year we’ll know if we can budget for Aeon, and then subsequently plan out the move to ArchivesSpace.

ArchivesSpace SAA 2013 presentation