Frequently Asked Questions - General Questions

Tools for migrating data from an Archivists’ Toolkit instance to an ArchivesSpace instance will be released first to ArchivesSpace Charter members who will have exclusive access to the tools for the first 90 days after their release, followed by ArchivesSpace members who will have exclusive access for a second 90-day period. The migration tools will be made available to the general user community 180 days after their release. In the meantime, we have posted guidelines to help users prepare for migrating their Archivists’ Toolkit data at

A list of self-identifying AT users can be found here. If you are interested in identifying yourself and your repository to the larger AT community, please send us ( the name of your repository, the URL of the repository, and the name and contact information of the person best to contact with questions about your implementation of the AT.

The Archivists’ Toolkit™, or the AT, is the first open source archival data management system to provide broad, integrated support for the management of archives. It is intended for a wide range of archival repositories. The main goals of the AT are to support archival processing and production of access instruments, promote data standardization, promote efficiency, and lower training costs.

Currently, the application supports accessioning and describing archival materials; establishing names and subjects associated with archival materials, including the names of donors; managing locations for the materials; and exporting EAD finding aids, MARCXML records, and METS, MODS and Dublin Core records. Future functionality will be built to support repository user/resource use information, appraisal for archival materials, expressing and managing rights information, and interoperability with user authentication systems.

A single-page, double-sided informational sheet that provides an overview of the Archivists' Toolkit, including hardware and software requirements, is attached below.

The AT project is a collaboration of the University of California San Diego Libraries, the New York University Libraries and the Five Colleges, Inc. Libraries, and is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

If you are interested in identifying yourself and your repository to the larger AT community, please send us ( the name of your repository, the URL of the repository, and the name and contact information of the person best to contact with questions about your implementation of the AT.

AT overview handout 2 0 Aug 2011 updated.doc227 KB
  • It is open source. You can download the application for free and have access to the source code.
  • It is designed for archivists by archivists. All members of the AT team have a significant amount of experience working in libraries and archives across the United States. The team also strives to include community feedback into the design and functionality of the program as much as possible.
    It keeps your data in one place. Accessions information exists in the same database as descriptive information, and data re-use is prevalent throughout the application. Even donor information and location management is possible.
  • It makes authority control possible. The AT not only allows you to create authorized name and subject headings, thus reducing spelling and variant errors, but also enables you to see what materials in your repository are linked to those authorized headings.
  • It produces EAD with the click of a button. It also exports MARC XML, and METS, MODS, and DC records for digital objects. In addition, there are 32 different reports available within the application, each of which is customizable.
  • It is the ideal application for consortial environments. You can share your authority records with other repositories in your parent organization, thus providing data standardization at even higher levels.
  • The interface and workflow are highly customizable. Set up your own custom data entry screens, re-label the fields to your choosing and more.

System Requirements for the AT Client


  • Operating System: Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Java 6 JRE or JDK
  • CPU: Pentium 3, 500Mhz (recommend Pentium 4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+)
  • System Memory (RAM): 128MB (recommend 512MB)
  • Hard Disk: 100MB free space
  • Screen: 1024x768


  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.3.9
  • Java 6 JRE or JDK
  • CPU: G3 500Mhz (recommend G4 1.2Ghz)
  • System Memory (RAM): 256MB (recommend 512MB)
  • Hard Disk: 100MB free space
  • Screen: 1024x768

Supported Database Backends:

  • MySQL 5.0 or 5.1 (with the InnoDB storage engine) NOTE: Only AT 2.0 update 11 and higher is compatible with MySQL 5.5
  • MS SQL Server 2005 (or higher)
  • Oracle 10g

If you log on as a superuser, you can see all of the usernames and reset any password you do not know. If you do not know the username or password of any superuser then you can find it by looking at the actual Users table in the database (you would most likely need to use a MySQL GUI to do this- Navicat or MySQL Administrator). If you know the password for a non superuser then you can make that user a superuser through the MySQL GUI program by changing the user's permission level to 5.

If you do not know the username or password for any user, there is no way to access the data without using the source code and programing a way around the password requirement. For security purposes, passwords are not stored in the database.

In MySQL, the case sensitivity of the underlying operating system plays a part in the case sensitivity of database and table names. Details about this can be found at here. Windows is case insensitive, however all table names are forced to lower case. When a database is transferred, the lowercase table names are transferred to Linux which is case sensitive and causes connection to the AT to fail. The recommended solution is to do a search and replace on the sql file and change all references to the mixed case we use for our table names. We know that this is tedious and we are thinking about adding a utility that can do this as part of our Maintenance Program.

The basic means for doing this consist of creating a backup of the data, and then using the data to create a new database in the desired location.

For MySQL:

  • Create a MySQL dump using:

    shell> mysqldump -u [username] -p[password] [database_name] > backup-file.sql

  • Load the SQL dump into a new (un-initialized) database:

    shell> mysql -u [username] -p[password] [database_name] < backup-file.sql

Refer to the MySQL Backup and Recovery Documentation for more information.

In order for the AT team to fix bugs, it is essential that we be able to replicate them. This means that when you report bugs, it is critical that you include as much detail about the actions you completed prior to receiving a bug message. We realize that it may be difficult to remember those actions, and ask that once you receive a bug, to try and immediately replicate it and capture the actions upon replication.

Below is an example of a good bug report:

Resource index note item reference values unstable
Whenever index items are opened, their reference changes from the originally selected value to some other value. So if you set an index item to refer to an accruals note (ref7), close that index item and reopen it, the index item will no longer refer to an accruals note (ref7) but to some other note like the bibliography note (ref6).

The steps I went through were:
1. Open resource
2. Create an index note (add title and note)
3. Add an index item: item 1, corporate name, referencing accruals note (ref7)
4. OK
5. Add an index item: item 2, corporate name, referencing bioghist note (ref46)
5. OK
6. Close index note (OK)
7. Close resource record (OK)
8. Reopen resource record
9. Open index note. In this view the references are still correct (ref7 and ref46)
10. Open item 1. The reference is now to bibliography note (ref6)
11. I then closed and reopened several times, trying both cancel and OK, they both had the same result.
12. Reopening the item the reference changed to ref5, then ref106, then ref101.

If I cancel out of the whole resource record and do not save it, when I go back in the references are back to the values I originally set them to. But if the resource record is saved, the index values are incorrect.

In addition to including as much detail as possible in the bug report, it is also important to include your email address so that the team can contact you if we have further questions. We appreciate the extra effort it takes to create a good bug report; this effort reduces the amount of clarification needed by the AT team and helps us resolve bugs more quickly.