Every month, the CollectionSpace program team holds online walkthroughs to share information about CollectionSpace and hear from attendees about the collections management issues that are important to them. At these walkthroughs, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is: does CollectionSpace integrate with ArchivesSpace?
It’s a hard question for us to answer, primarily because the word integration has different meanings for different people. Officially, integration is the process of linking together different computing systems and software applications physically or functionally so they can talk to each other and/or act as a coordinated whole. In general, we like having separate systems that support our workflows and professional standards. We don't want to cram museum workflows into ArchivesSpace, or try to turn CollectionSpace away from object-based description. But there are places where we see connections - shared accession details, exhibition planning, federated search, and so on.
In September 2020, the ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace program teams held a webinar to take a step toward getting more specific use cases from the users and potential users who have been asking about integrations. We asked lots of questions - what exactly are staff at archives and museums trying to accomplish that requires more than one system? What workflows aren’t working? What data is being duplicated? What are patrons, visitors, and researchers asking for?
Over the course of an hour, our 60+ attendees connected with one another to share use cases, stories, and frustrations. The full webinar can be viewed online via the ArchivesSpace YouTube channel; stories heard from multiple attendees included:
- A need to share item data between platforms for location tracking or exhibition management
- A need for shared discovery, so visitors and researchers wouldn’t need to understand which platform manages an item in order to find it
- A need to roll up valuation information across platforms for insurance purposes
- A need to share data not just between ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace, but across the entire collections ecosystem, including DAMS, discovery layers, institutional repositories, and preservation systems
So, what’s next? Right now, we’re in the brainstorming phase. We are trying to get a better idea of what people need, so we can work to flesh out functional requirements, prioritize needs, and then work to find resources to support development. Interested in lending your voice to our efforts? We’d love to hear from you. You can fill out our integrations survey via https://bit.ly/aspace_cspace, or get in touch with the CollectionSpace program team at firstname.lastname@example.org.