Breathing Life into Archon: A Case Study in Working with an Unsupported System

Krista L Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Archival repositories at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library have relied on Archon to represent archival description and finding aids to researchers worldwide since its launch in 2006. Archon has been officially unsupported software, however, for more than half of this time span. This article will discuss strategies and approaches used to enhance and extend Archon’s functionality during this period of little to no support for maintaining the software. Whether in enhancing accessibility and visual aesthetics through custom theming, considering how to present data points in new ways to support additional functions, or making modifications so that the database would support UTF-8 encoding, a wide variety of opportunities proved possible for enhancing user experience despite the inherent limitations of working with an unsupported system. Working primarily from the skill set of an archivist with programming experience, rather than that of a software developer, the author also discusses some of the strengths emerging from this “on the ground” approach to developing enhancements to an archival access and collection management system.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCode4Lib Journal
Issue number57
StatePublished - Aug 29 2023


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