22 December 2010

Archon: Learning about a new tool

Archon (www.archon.org) is open source software that archivists can use to create finding aids for their collections.  It appears that it can also be used to store digital content.  It offers similar functionality to the Archivist's Toolkit.  The two projects are now working together.

Built a virtual computer running Ubuntu 10.10 using Oracle's VirtualBox. I always start with the desktop and add packages to make it a LAMP server. Had to install some additional packages for Archon, including pear, MDB2, and some additional php components. Got the program thing running with only minor hiccups.

It takes some moderate technical proficiency to install the software (skills that I think digital archivists should have). The real challenge now is to understand how to use the software intelligently. To do that, you have to have a firm grasp of archival principles and know how to translate them into a technical environment. Given that the software is designed for archives, that should be fairly straight forward. At the same time, that translation is not always straightforward.

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