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Survey of Archon & Archivists’ Toolkit use

(To jump right to the survey and not read my blurblings, go here: Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon use in the Philadelphia Region)

Several months ago, I was able to tweak the EAD-XML exported from Archivists’ Toolkit and successfully import it into Archon.

In general, I feel that AT has more robust and stricter guts and works well for “the work of processing.” Archon, on the other hand, is about 500% friendlier, is easier to install and maintain, and has a public interface with the ability to serve up finding aids and digitized content right out of the box (so to speak). I know this kind of public interface is in the works for AT, but until it arrives and proves itself easy to use, my vote has to go to Archon for a smaller repository like mine.

While messing with AT and Archon, I got curious who in the Philly / Delaware Valley region is using Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon, and to what extent. I had heard from various people about testing both of them but I want to know the current state of things.

If I can get a decent numbers of responses, it might start to help us all make connections if and when we decide to use or test this packages. One way or another, I will post the aggregated responses.

If you are the broad Philly region, please take the survey: Archivists’ Toolkit and Archon use in the Philadelphia Region

I’ve been lucky enough that Christine Di Bella and Laura Blanchard have agreed to send out pleas to the DVAG and PACSCL mailing lists, which will happen in several weeks. Thanks!

[Survey respondent update – As of early on July 17]
10 people have completed the survey and there have been 111 abandoned visits to the survey page, where the visitor left without answering any questions. There is a good chance that many of these “bouncers” were robots and the like, but if you were a looker-and-leaver, please come back and fill it out! Thanks! Yet another link to the survey.

[Survey respondent update – As of July 23]
18 people have completed the survey and there have been 134 abandoned visits to the survey page.

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  1. jordon
    July 17th, 2009 at 10:45 | #1

    Funny blog name.

    I think both tools have aspects to recommend. One downside we’re finding with AT–which from a UI standpoint I prefer to Archon–is that since it’s client-based, it complicates cross-repository efforts because everyone has to install a local instance of AT on their desktop. It would be nice if eventually AT moved online like Archon.

  2. matt
    July 17th, 2009 at 11:35 | #2

    Jordon: So in your cross-repository setup, you guys are or aren’t using a single central database that all the clients connect to? Do the complications come from installing and setting up the server or connections on the AT client installations, or have you run into other trouble? I can imagine it being a pain in the butt when it comes to upgrading the AT version, from 1.1 to 1.5 to 1.5.9 since it would mean coordinating the server upgrade with all of the client upgrades. Fraught!

    It will be interesting to see what happens when (if?) AT finally gets a public interface — I am wondering how much will be web-accessible, just a public search, or will it be the full admin control? I bet the AT folks could respond to this, I would just have to ask.

  3. Jim G.
    August 21st, 2009 at 14:28 | #3

    So, with the announcement recently that Toolkit and Archon will seek funding to help effect a merger, perhaps they’ll effectively take the best of each tool (such as the things you outlined here) to make a better product. Keep your fingers crossed that funding comes through and that the new product will be available sooner (within 5 years) rather than later (sometime after I’m dead and gone).

  4. January 21st, 2010 at 22:51 | #4

    I’m curious about how it was that you were able to move your data from AT to Archon. I’m in the process of figuring this out myself and any time saving tips you might have would be very greatly appreciated!