A Unified Platform for
Archival Description and Access
Christopher J. Prom, Christopher A. Rishel,
Scott W. Schwartz, Kyle J. Fox
Joint Conference on Digital Libraries
Vancouver, BC, June 21, 2007
Presenter: Chris Prom ([email protected])
Assistant University Archivist
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
www.archon.org
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Overview
•
•
•
•
Why does this software exist?
What does it do—what is new about it?
How do I implement it? (semi-technical)
What have we learned/what are our next
steps?
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Why Archon?—The Problem
• To meet a need: unified platform for description
and access—A ‘good enough’ tool.
• To implement idea of archival provenance—
grouping by function or creator
• To reduce or eliminate training
– Typical EAD implementations undermine workflows,
exacerbate backlogs, and frustrate users
– Our EAD/XML experience . . .
• The target market
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Basic Characteristics
• Web-based
– Access from any computer
– Integrated access system
– staff editing fully integrated with public website
• Output flexibility
–
–
–
–
–
Search
Browse (creator, title, subject/function, record group, digital object title)
EAD
MARC
Other formats can be defined (OAI, METS) in archon/styles folder
• Requires no knowledge of XML; integrated help system
• But supports all relevant archival descriptive standards (EAD, DACS)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
•Browse
•Search
•Description
•Link to finding aid
•Subject links
•Digital object access
•Creator authorities
Provenance/breadcrumb trail
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Provenance-Based
Browsing
Browse by
creating office,
function, or other
‘classification’
defined by
repository
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Digital Archives/Library
Link to collection
Links to creator,
subjects not shown
(below fold)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Authenticated (staff) view of public website
(edit pencils)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Staff users
–
–
–
–
Logging in
Editing
Modify collection record
Filtering/ adding subject term
–
–
–
–
–
Defining new creator
Content manger
Linking/uploading digital object
User permissions
Setting a new style
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Collection Manager—for ‘collection level’ description
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Filtering and linking creator authorities, subject files, etc
‘Filter and link’ method used for creators, subjects, genres,
languages
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Content Manager
Used to
create
finding
aids/box
and folder
lists
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Other areas of
description
available in
collection
manager
Listing
Locations
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Implementation
• Requirements, Installation
• Uses widely-supported web technologies:
– Any web server with PHP 5.0 or higher
– A blank MySQL or MSSQL database with network
connection
– Optimized for LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)
• Visual Basic install packet; define database
name, login, pswd, webserver address, upload
directory or FTP site; can also install manually.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Documentation and API
• Illustrated System Administrator and User Manuals
• API fully documented via php documentor
• Object-oriented, correspondence between database and
class/object/variable names
• Class ARCHON has system-level functions, to process
arrays, etc.
• BUT. . . most customizations never touch the Archon API
itself; few implementing institutions or developers will
need to be aware of it beyond calling functions
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Database Server (MySQL & MSSQL currently supported)
queries
responses
Database Module (translates queries to specific syntax)
Application Programming Interface (PHP 5.0 scripts, objects,
functions, SQL queries)
Administrative Interface
(collects data)
Public Interface
(output templates)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Basic system administration
• takes place in web client
• User/usergroup manager
• Data import/export (SQL
script, MARC, EAD)
• ‘Archon Configuration’
– Select default style,
template set
– Set messages
– Enable provenance
browsing
• Session killer
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
• Output customization
– Takes place on web server
– Customize output via
Styles folder (will be
Themes in next release)
– Templates: for more
complex changes
• Database admin takes
place via standard client
such as phpMyAdmin
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Template modification (output customization)
Use standard
php and html,
referencing
archon objects
Sample objects:
$objCollection->Scope
$objCollection->Extent
$objCollection->
LocationEntries
$_ARCHON->Security
->isAuthenticated()
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Future Directions, 1
• Archon 2.0 (Summer 2007)
– ‘Languages manager’/ interface customization
– Cart function
– New output templates, accessibility guidelines
and better usability
– Modularization; code divided into ‘core’ area
and packages for extensibility
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Future directions, 2
– Research issues
• User annotation system for collections and digital objects,
‘web 2.0’ type features
• UI improvements, based on analytics study and evaluation
phases
• Digital preservation/curation features
– Other features
• Integrate OAI data provider
• Expand digital library
• Libraries to enable access to external digital libraries
– Building an implementer community
A Unified Platform for
Archival Description and Access
Christopher J. Prom, Christopher A. Rishel,
Scott W. Schwartz, Kyle J. Fox
Joint Conference on Digital Libraries
Vancouver, BC, June 21, 2007
Presenter: Chris Prom ([email protected])
Assistant University Archivist
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
www.archon.org
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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