CONTENTdm Repository Profile: Providence Archives

Question responses were provided via the Repository Profile Form by Peter Schmid, Visual Resources Archivist at Providence Archives on November 13, 2018.


Tool and version, if applicable


How did your institution select this archival collection management tool?

Word of mouth/research.

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

Adopted 2009. It replaced DB/Textworks for cataloging visual resources and artifacts, and made those records publicly available for the first time.

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?)

Cataloging visual resources, textual items (mainly in PDF format), and artifacts.

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

Intensive review by PH&S security.

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?

Off-site by a vendor.

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

The Project Client piece functions very well. OCLC seems to have given up on improving some of the base functions of the software now and only makes improvements to the responsive web side. Incredible number of bugs over the years. Inability to make changes across all collections is time-consuming and difficult. Customer service has deteriorated over the years.

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


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

Made records available to the public for the first time.

What is your most favorite feature of this tool?

Project Client, with its spreadsheet format.

What is your least favorite feature of this tool?

Inability to make changes across all collections; not very user-friendly out-of-the-box.

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

I would look long and hard at other options before selecting CONTENTdm. I think it's a cash cow for OCLC and because they have so many users they have little incentive to make essential improvements.