Archon: A Unified Information Storage and Retrieval System for Lone Archivists, Special Collections Librarians and Curators

Scott W. Schwartz, Christopher J. Prom, Christopher A. Rishel, Kyle J. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The University of Illinois developed an open-source collections management software program and in August 2006 began making it freely available to archivists, curators, and special collections librarians. This program gives those with limited technological resources and knowledge the ability to easily mount a variety of on-line access tools to their historical collections using ISAD(G)1 and DACS2-compliant standards for description. Archon was created with robust interoperability using a single web-based platform for the management of collections of documents and artifacts held by archives, museums and libraries. It was developed as a "plug and play" application for easy installation on any web server or on any web hosting service. It uses common web-browser input mechanisms and SQL data storage to produce dynamic data output in the form of searchable collections websites, MARC bibliographic records (Smiraglia 1990), EAD finding aids (Pitti 268-293), and long-term preservation TXT data files. The article discusses the design concepts that lead to the University of Illinois' creation of Archon, the challenges faced by the archives community when providing descriptive access to large bodies of historical papers and records, and describes Archon's public and administrative interfaces as well as future plans for additional developments to this software program.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPartnership: The Canadian Journal of Library & Information Practice & Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 22 2007


  • Information storage & retrieval systems
  • Encoded Archival Description (Document type definition)
  • Archives
  • Databases
  • Computer interfaces
  • Illinois
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • archival information systems
  • Archon
  • databases
  • encoded archival description
  • web interfaces


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