by Laura J. Thomson, Director of Archives Division
The Amistad Research Center (ARC) is pleased to announce the launch of our new finding aid database application, ArchivesSpace. Researchers may be familiar with ARC’s previous application, Archon, a collection management system adopted in 2009. Archon was ARC’s first online database allowing for easy searchability to locate archives and manuscripts collections relevant to specific researcher needs. ArchivesSpace is an enhanced application, offering versatility in searching throughout ARC’s finding aids either via subjects, collections or the names of individuals.
ArchivesSpace is an open source collection management tool providing web-based access and navigation to information found throughout ARC’s archives and manuscripts collections. It was developed by New York University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University of California San Diego with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. ArchivesSpace was created by and for archivists integrating two previous applications, Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon.
The finding aid database, as ARC’s archival staff call it, is full-text searchable. There are many options for researchers to narrow search options in order to focus on relevant materials, as we have over 800 collections, and thousands of files and items held here at ARC. The database also provides information about the historical context of the collections, biographical information about individuals found within the collections, as well as a way to explore a topic of general interest through ARC’s subject headings, or groups of records about specific topics.
The migration from Archon to ArchivesSpace has been an ongoing project for more than a year and a half at ARC. The initial migration was done by Atlas Systems, with additional assistance from Tulane University’s Technical Services Division for final installation. ARC’s archivists have worked over many months on quality control, as well as data cleanup to manually enhance linkages between collections. Migration to a new software system is never without its problems and ARC’s archivists took on the challenge of data cleanup with enthusiasm and dedication.
A short video tutorial on how to use ARC’s ArchivesSpace is available. Additionally, as always, our Research Services staff are on hand to help with any aspect of research and access to ARC’s collections.
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