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Thursday, November 6 • 3:15pm - 4:00pm
From Silos to (Archives)Space: Moving Legacy Finding Aids Online as a Multi-Department Library Collaboration

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Hunter Library’s Special Collections department currently has about 700 findings aids written in MS Word. Since the finding aids do not have an online presence, the discoverability of the library’s special collections materials remains a challenge. Our presentation will focus on the project of transferring these legacy finding aids to ArchivesSpace, a community-developed, open-source archives information management application. Since ArchivesSpace has the ability to publish archival descriptive information on the web, entering our finding aids in it will make these “hidden collections” become findable and accessible to scholars and researchers. We will discuss our workflow model—strengths and steps to overcome challenges. Our presentation will be useful for institutions who are looking to migrate legacy finding aids to ArchivesSpace as well as generate discussion on developing better workflow models that optimize the use of limited resources.Hunter Library at Western Carolina University has recently begun transferring legacy finding aids to ArchivesSpace. To compensate for limited staff time, the project was developed as a collaboration between three of Hunter Library’s departments – Special Collections, Cataloging and Metadata, and Digital Projects. The first step involved creating a working group with a representative from each department. This team divided over 700 finding aids written in MS Word into priority batches, wrote a glossary to explain archival description terms, and created a guide for mapping finding aid information into ArchivesSpace fields. The aim is to use this supporting documentation to train the library’s catalogers in the work of data migration to ArchivesSpace with each cataloger being initially assigned a small collection to work with. Special Collections will be doing the final review before the finding aid is published. With this working plan in place, the library is currently on track to have its 700 finding aids available online within the next twelve months.


Paromita Biswas

UCLA Library

Elizabeth Skene

Special and Digital Collections Librarian, Western Carolina University

Thursday November 6, 2014 3:15pm - 4:00pm EST
Parkview Room, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403