ArchivesSpace Repository Profile: Buena Vista University Archives

Question responses were provided via the Repository Profile Form by Joan Curbow, Reference Librarian and Archivist at Buena Vista University on February 25, 2021.


Tool and version, if applicable


Type of archives or special collection library?


How did your institution select this archival collection management tool?

It was affordable, and it seemed like the best choice. We started an archives at the same time as Aspace rolled out.

When and why did you adopt this tool? What system did it replace (if any)?

We were starting an archives (our institution is over 125 years old, but it had never had an archives), and the timing was right. There was no system before. There was no archives at our institution in any sense of the word before.

Briefly explain how this tool functions at your institution (e.g. do you only use it for accessioning, or does it fill all the functions from accessioning to public access?)

Content management for archival description - metadata creation and we will use it to generate findings aids, public access portal, etc.

What pre-installation/migration preparations were taken to facilitate implementation of this tool?


What degree of IT support was needed to implement and migrate into this tool?

At first, we hosted it on one of the university's servers, but we had terrible trouble with that - now it's hosted by LibraryHost.

Is your collection management tool hosted on-site and in-house or off-site by a vendor?

Off-site by a vendor.

Please describe significant post-implementation challenges using the administrative and/or public interfaces.

I have so many other library duties that the challenge is not the technology; the challenge is being able to use it - everything that has come to the archives has been accessioned, but very, very little has been processed.

Is your institution integrating this tool with other automated request, preservation, or digital asset management systems?

Not yet.

In what ways has using this tool been an improvement over your previous tool or finding aid access strategy?

We did not have a tool previously - we did not have an archives previously.

What is your most favorite feature of this tool?

It is standards-based, but flexible. You can get as granular (or not) as you like.

What is your least favorite feature of this tool?

 I don't love how they changed the "help" tools (outsourced). I find navigating that maze unpleasant. They also stopped making the listserv easily accessible. A second thing I find really annoying is I haven't been able to figure out how to keyword search in the Resources module. This seems really odd.

Lessons Learned, or tip for prospective users? What is your least favorite feature of this tool?

I've heard people complain about Aspace, but I didn't have much experience with either Archivists Toolkit or the other one (whose name I'm forgetting), so I'm happy to have this tool, which is very affordable for me.

What features would you want to see added to this tool in the future?

Keyword searching in the Resources module.