Document Type

Unpublished Research Paper

Publication Date



On February 4, 2019, the University Archives and Southern Minnesota Historical Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato successfully launched a new archival tool for our patrons called ArchivesSpace. While this at first glance may not seem like a big deal, the journey that the archives undertook to transform this search tool from a set of static HTML pages (all 700+ of them) to an easy-to-use search engine contained danger around every corner. The team had to fend off lions, tigers, and bears and had to blaze a path through a thick forest of metadata and archival records. The journey traveled down a dark and scary path; the path less traveled. At the path’s end, the archives team used their superpowers and a little magic, and thus emerged triumphant with a bright and shiny new archival tool called ArchivesSpace. Okay, so maybe this is exaggerating a little bit. There were no lions, tigers or bears, no forests, no superpowers, no magic, but like any good story, this one has a great ending. A small archives unit from a mid-sized university archive used teamwork, investigative know-how, learned from others, and partnered with those, who had some serious technology skills, to transform all those webpages into a better search experience for the patrons. The journey that follows speaks of how in collaboration with the library systems team, archives staff successfully built a local ArchivesSpace instance.


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