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CDL-Hosted Archivists’ Toolkit/Archon Service: Now Available

By Adrian Turner, DSC Data Consultant

The CDL Digital Special Collections Program is pleased to announce the availability of a new, free service for contributors to the Online Archive of California (OAC) and Calisphere websites: CDL-hosted versions of Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon.


Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon are popular open-source archival data management systems providing broad, integrated support for records and manuscript collections.  They can be used to record information about collection workflows (appraisals, accessioning, processing, and deaccessioning); describe collection items, including digitized objects within a collection; generate print, HTML, and EAD collection guides or “finding aids”; note the physical location of collection items; track reference questions; and more.

Both products offer support for describing and managing archival collections, but each has different features and functionality (see Appendixes 2-3 of this CLIR report on archival management software (

EAD collection guides generated by both tools can be contributed to the OAC.  The Archivists’ Toolkit, in particular, also supports the creation of METS-encoded digital objects, which can also be contributed to OAC and Calisphere.  UC campus repositories may additionally submit these METS to the CDL-hosted UC Libraries’ Digital Preservation Repository (DPR).

Benefits of a CDL-Hosted System

By hosting the backend server and databases, and providing the technical infrastructure for these systems at CDL, we hope to make it easier for contributing members to use them.  Contributors only need to implement the applications’ client software to get started.  Our goals are to provide contributors with more options for getting content to the OAC and Calisphere, and help them avoid the costs associated with creating or hosting these systems locally.

The service currently includes the following support:

  • Centralized system and software upgrades
  • Data recovery and backup of information about collections
  • Technical/database support and user support

For more information about this new service, see the DSC page or feel free to contact Adrian Turner, CDL Data Consultant, at