Archive Management System update

This is a regular update about the progress of the Archive Management System (AMS) project.

We have been working on the project plan: there have been regular discussions between the archivist teams, technical teams and the AMS Project Board about the complex interdependencies of the various parts of the project and how to sequence them. We have a working project plan to support the overall management and monitoring of the AMS project which enables us to make effective progress on the different elements of the project. Here’s an overview of the project phases we have identified – read on to find out about what we have been working on.


We’ve made some changes to ArchivesSpace so that it looks more intuitive for archivists familiar with working with the archival description standard ISAD(G) and to accommodate a small number of additional data elements which are used on Cantab and AtoM. We’ve taken a light touch to the customization to avoid over-complicating future updates to the system. We hope that users of the AMS will be pleased with the changes we have been able to make to the appearance of ArchivesSpace.

Data entry and Early implementers

Our initial focus is to use ArchivesSpace for creating finding aids. Early implementers from the Cambridge archivists’ group have been approached plus a team from the UL’s Archives and Modern MSS department who have all kindly agreed to act as guinea pigs. We’re delighted to report that we have just reached a significant milestone in that a production version of ArchivesSpace is up and running. Early implementers in the Library will start on data entry using ArchivesSpace straight away and then we will bring in the wider group of early implementers shortly afterwards. We’re extremely grateful to all our early implementers for their help – their input in developing and refining the documentation and support we are creating for the wider roll-out of the AMS will be invaluable. Our aim is to have the UL hosted AMS system ready for use by the UL and partner institutions from Jan 2020.

Publication and discovery layer

We’ve been revisiting the requirements identified by the Cambridge archivists’ community relating to the discovery and retrieval of information about our collections, and updating them with the best features of new systems and networking projects. We hope to have more news about possible discovery systems.


We’ve pretty much finalized the crosswalks which map the data we have in existing systems to ArchivesSpace: the next steps will be to test these with some trial migrations of data from within the Library.

Partners and take-up from the Cambridge archive community

We are delighted with the response from partner organisations so far and we’re keen to hear back from all potential partners in the AMS. Please contact

Katrina Dean and Natalie Adams

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