Groups partner on open-source tech for digital archival processes

Initiative to develop, implement sustainable, robust platform for supporting complex archival management of digitized and born-digital records

Marist College and the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) have partnered to develop and implement a sustainable and robust platform capable of supporting the complex archival management of digitized and born-digital records. This joint initiative builds on the College’s long-standing tradition of supporting the Hudson Valley and New York State communities and on the RAC’s leadership and expertise in the archival profession. The initiatives of this exciting partnership are supported through the New York State Cloud Computing and Analytics Center located at Marist College and with the Rockefeller Archive Center’s generous financial contribution.

The two main components of this two-year digital records infrastructure project are a repository that fulfills long-term storage and maintenance needs of digital records and a microservices API layer that orchestrates the flow of data between archival systems and this repository. The systems implemented as part of the digital records project will be compatible with existing archival standards and best practices and will be built using well-documented, open-source technologies and user-centered design methodologies, so that components can be widely shared and deployed by other institutions.

This digital records repository and API infrastructure will be built using a unique combination of applications selected by Marist and the RAC, including open-source portal technology and researching the use of Blockchain, ArchivesSpace, Archivematica, Fedora, and other open-source tools. The result of this collaboration will be a powerful platform that will allow for more scalable systems integration and the rapid implementation of emerging technologies to meet the challenging task of managing digital records in an archival context.

As part of its larger collaboration, Marist also will assist the RAC in developing a website that documents over 100 years of the Rockefeller Foundation’s international philanthropic programs. Using the open-source platform Liferay, the website will showcase selected images, documents, and films held at the RAC, along with contextual essays that provide a thorough history of the Foundation’s activities in a variety of topical program areas.

“Archivists and records creators have long struggled with how to manage the flow of archival information among diverse platforms so that digitized and born-digital records can be properly preserved and also made easily accessible to the broadest possible audience,” said Jack Meyers, President of the Rockefeller Archive Center. “We are excited to partner with Marist College to develop and implement a digital records management system that will meet the needs of our archival staff, researchers, and donor organizations and that will be widely sharable with the broader archival community.”

“One of our goals as a College is to offer open-source technologies, such as Liferay and Blockchain, to like-minded organizations that create a lasting impact on our community,” said Bill Thirsk, Vice President of Information Technology/CIO at Marist College. “Partnering with an organization such as the Rockefeller Archive Center provides the opportunity to develop innovative technologies while supporting our local and regional community through shared services.”

Laura Ascione