ArchiveSpace at Edinburgh

Presentation by Scott Renton:

Current Management:

  • Standard ISAD(G), Schema EAD (XML)
  • Laid down by GASHE and NAHSTE projects
  • managed by “CMSyst” an in-house built MySQL/PHP applicaiotn
  • Data feeds to ArchivesHub, ARCHON, CW Site (EDINA)

Limitations of CMSyst, wanted a new system to extend what they could do. Looked at a range of options including:

  • DSpace
  • Vernon (Museums system)
  • Calm/Adlib (commercial system)
  • Archivists’ Toolkit (lacking a UI)

However – all had shortcomings. Decided to go with ArchiveSpace.

  • Actually ArchiveSpace is a successor to Archivists’ Toolkit
  • Support for appropriate standards
  • All archivist functionality in one place
  • Web delivered
  • Open Source
  • Lyrasis network behind development development
  • MySQL database
  • Runs under a container system such as Jetty or Tomcat
  • Code in JRuby, available on github
  • Four web apps:
    • Public front end
    • Admin area
    • Backend (Communicator)
    • Solr for indexing/search

Migration issues:

  • All data available from CMSyst
  • Exported in EAD
  • Some obstacles getting EAD to map correctly to loaded authorities
  • Some obstacles getting authorities loaded

ArchiveSpace has functionality to link  out to digital objects – using LUNA system – with CSV import of data [not clear which direction data flows here]

ArchiveSpace is popular in US, but Edinburgh the first European institution to take it.

University of Edinburgh Collections has a new web interface ArchiveSpace will be the expresso not archives within this collections portal. Archives are surfaced here as Collection Level Descriptions – 1000s of collections covered.

Implementation has been a good collaborative project. Got Curators, archivists, projects and innovations staff and digital developers all involved. Also good support on mailing list and good collaboration with other institutions.

Now going to look at “CollectionSpace” – which is a sister application for museums.

Archives collections will be available soon (within a couple of weeks) at

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