Sunday, April 20, 2014

Outline of ArchivesSpace Review

1.       Define ArchivesSpace: “ArchivesSpace is the next-generation open source archives information management application designed by archivists for describing, managing, and providing access to archives, manuscripts, and digital objects.”
a.       Open-source archives management software
                                                               i.      Create (Encoded Archival Description) EAD-finding aids, accession records, holdings notes, etc.
b.      Merger of Archon and Archivists’ Toolkit
                                                               i.      These were two types of open-source archival software that were used by archival professionals
1.       Archon was developed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2.       Archivists’ Toolkit was developed by the New York University Libraries and New York University with funding from the Andrew Mellon Foundation
2.       Benefits of ArchivesSpace
a.       Allows finding aids, the primary surrogate records for archival collections, to be easily written and exported as MARC-records or EAD finding aids
b.      Is relatively inexpensive to use: the highest fee is $7,500 per year, and is based on institution’s size classification with JSTOR/ARTstor
                                                               i.      This may help smaller repositories a way to write EAD finding aids that can be published online, thereby increasing the digital presence of online repositories
3.       Potential Pitfalls
a.       Small staff
                                                               i.      The ArchivesSpace team only has three employees, and most likely of hundreds of subscribers
1.       This can lead to slow response times, or perhaps no responses at all. I e-mailed the ArchivesSpace team and received no response.
b.      Lack of help guides
                                                               i.      There is no central user guide, at least in the test version of ArchivesSpace
1.       A commercial product would offer better user support
2.       It is unclear how ArchivesSpace defines certain terms and phrases
3.       This lack of guidance makes the software very clunky to use, and makes it difficult for a user to benefit from the software’s capabilities

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