Session 4.3 - Workshop: Same software, different design: implementation of AtoM with limited resources


Facilitators: Kathryn Dan, Piers Higgs, Kari James

Date Added:

23 October 2019

Very different types of archival programs with limited resourcing have adopted the open source archival description software AtoM (Access to Memory). Initially developed with ICA support to provide a low cost and standards based software solution for archives control and access, AtoM has evolved into open source software with many international implementations and a strong user base. This panel session will show the approaches taken by a documentary heritage copying bureau, large collecting archives, and consultancy partner. With short presentations and discussion, the panel will highlight key decision points in design and implementation and outline some of the lessons learned from practical experience. There will be opportunity for participants to engage in the discussion.

- Questions addressed include:

1)Key considerations when selecting and adopting an archival management system

2)User interface design – ideal and compromises

3)Hidden costs and limitations

4)Interoperability with other systems

5)How content scope impacts design decisions.

Panellists from: Pacific Manuscripts Bureau non-profit consortium funded digitisation and copying bureau making documentary heritage of the Pacific more accessible; Australian National University Archives which holds Noel Butlin Archives Centre collection (archives of business and labour); Pacific Research Archive, National HIV/AIDS collection and archives of ANU. Gaia Resources - independent consultancy delivering sustainable technology solutions.


Kathryn Dan is University Archivist at the Australian National University, with responsibility for the University Archives, the Noel Butlin Archives Centre and Pacific Research Archives, as well as the University’s Records program. She has extensive experience in records, archives and information management at several Australian universities and at the National Archives of Australia and National Library of Australia. Kathryn is a past President of the Australian Society of Archivists and was active internationally as Treasurer of the Pacific Regional Branch of ICA and Secretary of the Section of Professional Associations. She is currently a Blue Shield Australia committee member.

Piers Higgs is the founder and CEO of Gaia Resources, a consultancy that responsibly delivers sustainable technology solutions to make the world a better place. Piers leads the development and delivery of the company’s range of archival solutions, including a wide range of implementations of AtoM across vastly different scales.

Kari James took on the role of Executive Officer for the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau (PAMBU) in June 2017. Before starting at PAMBU she worked in the research archive of a Native Title Representative Body, as a volunteer at the National Archives of Solomon Islands and as an archival researcher for ABC TV News. She has an academic background in media studies, information management and archives.