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AtoM at the Borthwick

In 2012 the Borthwick Institute carried out a requirements gathering exercise for a new Archival Management System and assessed various options against these requirements.

Why AtoM?

We decided that the open source solution AtoM (or Access to Memory) was a good fit with our requirements. Although it did not do everything we hoped it would, we were impressed by the fact that:

  • it was closely aligned with archival standards
  • it was being actively developed
  • it was moving in the right direction

We were also aware that we could directly influence its development in order to ensure it more fully met our needs.

For a detailed description of our requirements and how AtoM (version 2.2) met them see our Why AtoM? blog post

Implementation

Our AtoM implementation project ran from August 2014 until the public release of our AtoM interface The Borthwick Catalogue (Borthcat) in April 2016.

 

A screenshot from The Borthwick Catalogue

 

The AtoM implementation project focused on the technical side of getting AtoM up and running and also on populating the accessions module of AtoM with data from legacy systems.

From April 2015 the AtoM project was closely aligned to Project Genesis which aims to populate our new public facing catalogue with a collection level description for all of the archives that we hold.

This project has led to:

  • The establishment of a management tool for our archival data 
  • The creation of a single point of call for information about our accessions
  • The establishment of a master source of information about our holdings
  • The ability to create all future Borthwick catalogues in a standards compliant way
  • The creation of solid foundations for Project Genesis and for future projects to establish a digital archive
  • Greater clarity for our users as to where to find information about our holdings
  • New opportunities for making information about our holdings more widely available via other search portals

'A' is for AtoM describes some of the decisions we made and processes we went through as we implemented AtoM. 

 

What next?

Once we made our catalogue available to the public we were very keen to find out what our users thought of it. Is it intuitive to use and can people find the information they need?

We carried out two phases of user testing and this work helped inform further work on our catalogue interface.

We have made these results available to the wider AtoM user community in two blog posts:

 

Further information

We’ve been blogging about our experiences with AtoM on our digital archiving blog and the Borthwick blog and will continue to share our thoughts through these platforms as our work with AtoM progresses.