New York University has been awarded a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to lead a partnership in developing the software that integrates Archon and the Archivists' Toolkit (AT) into an open-source, next-generation archives management system. The integrated product—known by the working title ArchivesSpace—will incorporate the best features and functions of Archon and the AT.
The project is a collaboration among the libraries of NYU, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Archon was developed, and the University of California, San Diego, which developed AT in partnership with NYU.
ArchivesSpace will capitalize on the functional strengths of AT and Archon, both of which were released in 2006, to create a more powerful, flexible, and resilient archives collection management and access system. By design, ArchivesSpace will be less costly to maintain and will appeal to an even broader segment of the archives community than either of the two existing tools.
The design for ArchivesSpace is the result of a year of research and planning, also funded by the Mellon Foundation, by the three partner libraries in consultation with archivists and technologists from a variety of academic and archival institutions.
ArchivesSpace will be open source, but user institutions will be asked to join a membership support structure. Members will be encouraged to participate in the governance of ArchivesSpace and in the prioritization of enhancements and fixes, and will have access to helpdesk resources.
The main benefit of membership, however, will be sustainability, according to NYU Dean of Libraries Carol A. Mandel. “By supporting ArchivesSpace, members will ensure that the software keeps growing and responding to the needs of the community,” Mandel said.
Both AT and Archon have a strong community of members. “The Archivists’ Toolkit (AT) is widely recognized for its tremendous impact on archival practice and the promotion and adoption of descriptive standards,” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, the Audrey Geisel University Librarian at UC San Diego. “We look forward to further collaboration with our partners in building an archival software tool that capitalizes on the strengths of both AT and Archon.”
Paula Kaufman, Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, UIUC, emphasizes the importance of long-term use of the software. “Archon has served the needs of a wide range of archival organizations, including many that are very small,” she said. “ArchivesSpace development and membership will assure continued support for their archival work.”
Comprehensive information is available on the project website: http://archivesspace.org/.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library holds over twelve million volumes, more than 90,000 serial titles, and more than nine million manuscripts, maps, slides, audio tapes, microforms, videotapes, laser discs, and other non-print material. The University Library is ranked highly nationally and globally, and its collections and services are used heavily by students, faculty, and scholars. More than one million items are circulated annually, and many more are used on site and virtually from anywhere in the world. For more information, please visit www.library.illinois.edu.
The NYU Division of Libraries is a six-library system with global libraries at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, in development, and specialized libraries in Manhattan. The Libraries’ flagship, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on Washington Square, designed by Philip Johnson, contains more than four million book volumes; 171,000 audio/visual items; and nearly 39,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts. The Libraries’ website, library.nyu.edu, provides access to nearly 98,000 e-journals and databases and 700,000 e-books; users conducted nearly eight million searches last year. Bobst Library received more than 2.5 million visits last year and circulated more than 823,000 items. NYU Libraries is a leader in pioneering digital library services and audio/visual preservation, and has also been recognized for the groundbreaking user studies in which it based the advanced design of the new Bobst Library Research Commons.
The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 20 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The UCSD Libraries provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. The Libraries' vast online resources and services are accessed almost 90,000 times daily via the UCSD Libraries' Web site.