Local application on Quickbase platform Repository Profile: Harvard University Archives

Question responses were provided via the Repository Profile Form by Robin McElheny, Associate University Archivist at Harvard University Archives on February 25, 2021.


Tool and version, if applicable

Local application on Quickbase platform

Type of archives or special collection library?


How did your institution select this archival collection management tool?

We chose Quickbase as the replacement platform for an existing system and developed the  application locally. Note: currently there is no off-the-shelf archives/library inventory control system that does what we need to do.

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

 In 2020 we migrated an earlier MySQL PHP database on an out-of-date platform to the Quickbase platform and developed an enhanced version of the earlier application.

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?)

We use our Inventory Control System to manage storage and movement of collections post-accession, including locations, placement, container profiles, and shared containers flexibly and at scale.

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

Data cleanup, location verification - many hours by many staff members.

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.

None, because our specifications were water-tight.

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

We plan to integrate it with ArchivesSpace and Alma.

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

Web interface, clean design, user-friendly dashboard.

What is your most favorite feature of this tool?

Spreadsheet upload and download.

What is your least favorite feature of this tool?

Proprietary software.

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

Plan first - create detailed specs, know what you want!

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

Interoperability with the other archives and library systems that we use.