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Introducing EMMAS – Transitioning from Archivists’ Toolkit to ArchivesSpace

EMMAShome On October 17, 2016 MIT Libraries began using ArchivesSpace ver 1.4.2 in production with two repositories: the Aga Khan Documentation Center (AKDC) and the Institute Archives and Special Collections (IASC).

Statistics for the IASC data are: 3,808 Accession records; 1,224 Resource records; 4,095 Digital Object records; 3,691 Agent records and 1,540 Subject records (shared by AKDC and IASC). Only 6 Resource records did not migrate using the ATK-AS migration tool and we will enter that data by hand. The largest Resource record has 16,422 archival components attached.

The data is the result of 40 years of archival collections development and processing work done by the staff of the IASC first creating narrative finding aids, then MARC collection-level records, then migrating and entering data into Archivists’ Toolkit (2009-2016), before finally migrating the data into ArchivesSpace.

MIT Libraries became a Charter member of the ArchivesSpace in 2013 and by December the IASC had a charge to evaluate and plan for migrating the collections administrative and descriptive data in Achivists’ Toolkit to ArchivesSpace. Over the ensuing two years, we tested and evaluated the versions of ArchivesSpace and determined that we would wait until the application was more mature before moving to production. The two main features that were critical to us were, 1) the ability to produce PDF finding aids natively from the ArchivesSpace staff interface, and 2) connectivity between ArchivesSpace and Archivematica.

By December 2015, the Libraries had committed to moving forward with implementing a data migration strategy and to decide whether to host the application in-house or use an outside vendor. It was decided to use an outside hosting vendor and LYRASIS was chosen by the Libraries’ IT department.

EMMAS-Guide, a LibGuide with basic information about EMMAS.

EMMAS-Guide, a LibGuide with basic information.

We performed several test data migrations between ATK (Archivists’ Toolkit) and ArchivesSpace, which gave us information about data in ATK we needed to clean up. Also, the migration error log provided feedback for things that needed fixing for which we needed to do some investigation into the documentation.

A very big shout out goes to members of the ArchivesSpace User Group who helped us by answering questions and providing links to information about their data migrations, permission groups and setting, interface configuration, and data migration checklists.

We intend to implement the Public interface to ArchivesSpace around March 2017, which will give our researchers and global users the ability to access through the Web descriptive information about the collections that we have at the Institute Archives and Special Collections, inclusive of digitized versions and born-digital material.

Many Libraries staff have worked to make our evaluation of and implementation into ArchivesSpace a success, including: Liz Andrews, Betsy Baldwin, Lois Beattie, Alex Brennen, Myles Crowley, Dana Hamlin, Carl Jones, Mikki Macdonald, Nora Murphy, Tim Rix, Caitlin Robles, Kari Smith, Greta Suiter, Chris Tanguay,  Jessiva Venlet and the support of Greg Eow, Armand Doucette, Diane Geraci, Tom Rosko, and Sharon Smith.