ArchivesSpace Repository Profile: New York University

Question responses were provided via the Repository Profile Form by Rachel Searcy, Accessioning Archivist at New York University Libraries, Archival Collections Management on March 24, 2021.


Tool and version, if applicable


Type of archives or special collection library?


How did your institution select this archival collection management tool?

We are a founding member and developer of ArchivesSpace.

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

We began implementation in 2014, and the tool replaced Archivists' Toolkit.

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?)

ArchivesSpace acts as our system of record for archival materials. We use it for accessioning, arrangement and description, creation of access tools (e.g., finding aids, MARC records), stacks and location management, and local archival authority management. We do not use the Public User Interface.

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

Overall project management, comprehensive data analysis, targeted pre-migration data clean-up, established local user permissions groups and policies, developed training materials, and wrote documentation. Along with other library colleagues who contributed to the writing of the original program, we wrote or contributed to the original migration scripts and workflow, and pursued local development for plugins and other functionality that has been incorporated into the system's core code.

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


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

On-site and in-house.

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

Process of staff adjustment to differences in functionality between Archivists' Toolkit and ArchivesSpace. We are hosted locally, and understanding the infrastructure and maintenance needs of our system and users was an initial challenge.

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

Current integrations include our local preservation repositories. We use ArchivesSpace alongside other systems and environments, including Aeon and our finding aid publication mechanism.

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

Location and container management is more sophisticated and enables improved stacks management. Ability to manage multiple repositories in a single installation. Single authority management. The cloud-based system provides better performance and easier on-boarding for users.

What is your most favorite feature of this tool?

The top container data model; API.

What is your least favorite feature of this tool?

Bulk data entry/editing.

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

Make intentional decisions and document them. Systems maintenance is an ongoing responsibility. A dedicated point-person or group of administrators is very useful in establishing how you want to use the system, as well as responding to issues that arise and communicating to your local users.

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

Bulk data entry/editing capabilities; expanded authority management.