After several months of planning and data entry, we have officially launched a very exciting new tool for searching Archives’ holdings! The open-source software, called Archon, was created by archivists and developers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign several years ago and has been implemented in a wide range of archival repositories since. It creates a browse-able and search-able database of all of our collection guides (or “finding aids”). Users (both on and off campus) can browse holdings by collection title, creator, subject, or classification, or keyword search across all collection records.
Collection descriptions in Archon at this point still represent a fairly small percentage of all of the materials housed in the Archives, but the capabilities of the database should allow us to accelerate our rate for processing collections going forward. This means that the database will be continually updated with new records. Among many other things, Archon allows us to enter records for collections that are accessible but not yet fully organized and described. So an Archon search may show you descriptions of many more collections than those which were reflected on our old finding aids page. You still need to visit the Archives to see the actual stuff, but Archon allows you to get a good sense of what is on our shelves and ready for research use in advance.
A big, big thanks to folks in Technology Services, the library staff, and the Archives student assistants for all of their help with this effort! If you have any questions or any feedback related to Archon or the Archives’ collections, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 832-6753.