ArchivesSpace and Atom are the two most commonly used systems for archives
to make their metadata available and searchable. But depending on what kind
and amount of information your index cards have, both might be overkill.
They're not super complicated systems, but do rely on the user (the
librarian/archivist/student worker, not the end-user) knowing about
archival description practices and jargon, and how archival description
differs from library description.
One option could be to migrate the data from the index cards to marc
records, and make those available in your catalog. Not ideal for complex
collection descriptions, but if you have one index card per collection, I'm
guessing the collection descriptions aren't too complicated. (If you do
that, you should keep the cards around for when you do get an archivist).
Another would be to just scan them, transcribe what you can of the title,
and make them available in your existing IR or DAM, if you have one. If
not, maybe put them in some kind of accessible storage and point to the
digitized cards from your catalog?
On Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 9:12 AM Richard Shrake <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> We had a similar situation and here's what we did (it was a VERY big
> We sent the cards out to be digitized and the data captured in database
> fields. We did a lot of back and forth to make sure the vendor understood
> the variations in data structure and they used a combination of OCR and
> human transcription to account for hand written notes
> We organized the cards according to collection and then exported reports
> from the database to build inventories for EAD collections.
> We uploaded the EAD to Archivists Toolkit (now I would use ArchivesSpace).
> We then indexed our EAD with XTF (I adore XTF and use it for all kinds of
> indexing - https://xtf.cdlib.org/ )
> In a pinch, you could just structure XTF to index whatever fields you want
> and bypass the EAD part.
> On Wed, Jun 6, 2018 at 10:55 AM, Ken Irwin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Hi folks,
> > Our archives-without-an-archivist currently has an index in card-catalog
> > form, with somewhat variably-structured data (i.e. there's some
> > consistency, but it's a little wiggly and has the occasional handwritten
> > notes and who knows what all else).
> > We'd like to make the index searchable online. I'm trying to figure out
> > what (good, easy, low-overhead?) platform that already exists for doing
> > this. We do not currently have a plan to digitize the contents, but
> > something that would support the transition into more digitized contents
> > would be useful. Something that was designed primarily for digitizing
> > documents might work if it wouldn't founder on contents that were mostly
> > just shelf-locations with a line or two of description.
> > Free and/or open-source preferred, but we'd look at low-cost solutions
> > Does anyone have experience with software that sounds like it could meet
> > our needs?
> > Thanks,
> > Ken
Digital Infrastructure & Archives Librarian
Reed College Library, Special Collections & Archives
[log in to unmask]
<[log in to unmask]>