The Arizona State Archives collects and preserves permanent public records, historical manuscripts, photographs and other materials that contribute to the understanding of Arizona history. With six professionals overseeing their many collections of government materials, private manuscript collections, oral histories and photos, documenting everything and making it accessible is a huge challenge. With CuadraSTAR SKCA (STAR Knowledge Center for Archives), their collections are now more visible and available than ever before.
Historically, The Arizona State Archives had no archives software system. Everything was done manually, so data was stored in multiple formats, and there were many legacy paper-based finding aids. Use of technology only extended to WordPerfect and some Microsoft applications. There was a huge volume of information that was almost impossible to track or update, spread across many different platforms—and with no ability to provide public access.
The State Archives moved into a new building, and once they were in, the extra space prompted many different agencies to send over their records, which really taxed existing procedures. They were ultimately able to purchase CuadraSTAR SKCA and begin the process of putting their collections online and making them publicly accessible.
With CuadraSTAR SKCA, they achieve several important goals, including:
- Elimination of the cataloging backlog; improving efficiency and accuracy
- Delivering centralized public access to all Arizona State Archives and Records
- Bringing collections up to current archival standards
Per Laura Palma-Blandford, Archivist, “We can present researchers with real time results of what is in our collections, because with CuadraSTAR SKCA we have made huge progress toward eliminating our backlog. In fact, Archives staff are now able to look at collections we never had time to focus on; I call this ‘the rediscovery process,’ where we find out long forgotten things about our own materials. And with public access enabled by CuadraSTAR SKCA, our collections are much more visible—they are no longer hidden behind a curtain.”
The online catalog of resources available in the Archival collections is called “ASK”—standing for “Arizona State Knowledge.” Access to archival materials has expanded significantly; with Arizona State Archives’ web presence, patrons are now able to conduct searches from their homes—and CuadraSTAR SKCA functionality enables them to search across collections rather than go through each individual one.
We invite you to learn more about the many ways the Arizona State Library and Archives benefits from the rich functionality of CuadraSTAR SKCA. Read the full Arizona State Archives success story here.
As part of archival collections management, archivists continue to use the traditional five levels of arrangement which are still useful; a primer.
Archival collection development, appraisal, arrangement and description, preservation, and research services have been transformed by technology.
Technology has changed archival collections management, with dramatic but gradual impact.
Many archives use proprietary archival collections management systems; open source can provide an alternative but be aware of hidden costs and risks