Shifts and shake-ups: A conversation about ArchivesSpace implementation

The last session of the conference ended on a hig note for me, as I got to hear about how six different repositories are implementing ArchivesSpace. Several of the biggest challenges articulated by the speakers included:

  1. Developing new workflow documents to ensure adoption across staff or departments.
  2. Balancing technical infrastructure and support limitations or competing priorities.
  3. Administration buy-in and support.
  4. Cleaning up legacy data.

I was particularly struck by how most of these challenges have little to do with implementing ArchivesSpace, and more to do with collaborating with new partners, implementing change in your department, and learning new skills.

At the University of Rochester, we began using ArchivesSpace in December. We participated in a two day training put on by Brad Westbrook and others, and then we hit the ground running. I created new workflow documents for us (prior to AS we each had different processes). We’ve worked closely with our systems admin, who also participated in the training, as well as our cataloging colleagues to adhere to best practices. 

All in all the first three months have been a success. We’re now doing all of our accessioning in AS, as well as creating all new finding aids in the system. I’m still working on migrating our accession data stored in Archivsts Toolkit. We’re also looking for possible solutions for our legacy finding aid data which doesn’t all adhere to DACS. These solutions include hiring a vender to do the EAD conversion, doing selective in-house conversion, or not converting our legacy data for the short-term.

Please share your AS implemtation experiences here!

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