PastPerfect Repository Profile: Forest Parke Library & Archives

Question responses were provided via the Repository Profile Form by Heidi Butler, Local History Specialist at Forest Parke Library & Archives, Capital Area District Libraries, Lansing, MI on May 5th, 2021.


Tool and version, if applicable

PastPerfect 5.0

Type of archives or special collection library?

Within a public library

How did your institution select this archival collection management tool?

We selected this based on excellent customer support, price, and staff's previous experience.

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

We purchased it in 2015. At the time there was only a test instance of Archon with about 20 records in it in use.

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?)

This is a comprehensive tool for us, from accessioning to public access via the PastPerfect Online add-on.

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

None really; we had so little in any database previously. There were a few collections that had related Excel spreadsheets that we were able to import. Otherwise all of the system has been populated from the ground up.

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?

Combination of on-site (staff interface); off-site by web host (multimedia files); off-site by PastPerfect (public access interface and image hosting).

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

We still sometimes struggle with the search functions on the public interface. They are not intuitive for our general-audience users and can be confusing.

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

We participate in the DPLA using exported data that is cleaned up at a regional service hub for us, and are working toward participating in a statewide digital preservation network using LOCKSS.

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

There was no previous tool or finding aid access, with the exception of hand-coded HTML on the library's web site.

What is your most favorite feature of this tool?

The support from the company is excellent, and the cost is extremely reasonable.

What is your least favorite feature of this tool? 

The public interface search functions.

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

Having looked at many of the available CMS and DAMS tools out there, and considering our collections, our staff capability, our budget, and especially our end users, PastPerfect remains the most reasonable and manageable solution for us. I can't overstate how excellent their customer support is. We plan to move to their new cloud-based Web Edition in the near future.

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

The ability to keyword search across all OCR'd PDF documents we have linked the system would be great.