Archive Management System update

This is a regular update about the progress of the Archive Management System (AMS) project at the University Library. It has been a very busy time for the project, with lots of progress on different aspects of the project.

Participation and sign-ups

We are seeking firm commitments from organisations interested in fully participating in the AMS. The last month has seen a significant increase in sign-ups: we are delighted to report that we now have 24 organisations outside Cambridge University Library firmly committed to the project. There are 4 organisations which are interested in participating in the discovery layer only. Committed partners have been sending us further details about the number of staff who will require training in the new system as well as about the data they would like to migrate to the AMS. This information is very useful and we are using it to plan the next phase of project activity.


We have settled on a ‘look and feel’ for the staff interface of ArchivesSpace which follows the University’s branding guidelines. Our team of early implementers have been very helpful in giving us feedback about this.

We invested a significant amount of time exploring integrating the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names into ArchivesSpace in order to support consistent cataloguing. However, we encountered practical challenges which proved difficult to address and the Project team decided not to pursue ingesting the Getty thesaurus (or a subset of it) into ArchivesSpace at this stage though we may revisit this at a later stage of the project if time and resources allow.

Our technical team have been focusing on migration of the large AtoM dataset created by the Department of Archives and Modern MSS within the UL, tackling some tricky challenges retaining links between large numbers of catalogue records and controlled vocabulary terms. This work will also be relevant to the next set of migrations. We are hoping to see the first set of migrated data in the system shortly.

Discovery layer

We’ve spent a lot of time over the past month evaluating options for a discovery layer which could allow access to records created using ArchivesSpace as well as to records created by the 4 organisations using other systems. We have carried out a full archivists’ evaluation of one potential system and a second archivists’ evaluation of the public interface of ArchivesSpace. The evaluations are based on a set of 33 separate requirements, the majority of which were identified by the Cambridge archivists’ community.  We will be considering the results of the evaluation exercises carefully.

User experience

We are also planning user experience discussions with external archive users on the discovery layer and are keen to find users who use online archive resources who might be interested in taking part: if you have any suggestions of people we might approach for this exercise please let us know.

For further information please contact

Natalie Adams and Katrina Dean.

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