NYU's library system has announced plans to develop software for an intercollegiate database that will make archival processing more efficient, a library official said. The system, called "The Archivists' Toolkit," will allow universities and other research institutions to compile their archives into a online database, making the scholarship available worldwide.
NYU, which is developing the project with assistance from the University of California at San Diego, decided to pursue the project after several researchers expressed an interest in a more accessible archive, Dean of Libraries Carol Mandel said. Our archivists were frustrated with the lack of software available, so they got together and kind of said 'let's do this,'" she said.
The archivists went to the Andrew W. Mellon foundation where they were paired up with the University of California. Both universities received a collaborative, two-year grant for $847,000. The project is expected to last from two to four years, and NYU hopes to renew the grant, Mandel said.
The software will track both the worldwide location of archival materials and where the materials are located in specific institutions, she said. "It [Archivists' Toolkit] will help anyone doing serious research," Mandel said. "It will provide that more archives be available for the researchers to find." Nancy Cricco, NYU's archivist who specializes in the university's own history, said the software will make managing archival systems easier. In addition to describing the materials in archives, the system will also provide valuable information on their ownership and copyright, Cricco said.
When the software becomes available, it will be expanded to include many other universities and other research institutions, Mandel said.