As mentioned previously, we are embracing technology and turning to Collective Access software to inventory and manage the Nation’s Capital collection.
We are very fortunate to have a council information technology team that has embraced this project and helped us to get up and running.
What Is Collective Access?
Collective Access is a suite of free, web-based applications that “work together to provide a seamless cataloging, collections management and collections publishing platform.” The core cataloging app is Providence, while Pawtucket offers web-based searching and Tiverton offers a map-centered user interface. Collective Access also offers a Configuration Library comprised of custom templates and record forms developed by other users.
VPS: The Host
A very basic setup requires a computer server on which to install the Providence application and hard drive storage space for the data. Since the council system is Windows-based and CA uses the Linux operating system, it is easier to find an outside company with Linux to host the application and our data. Council helped us set up a Virtual Private Server (VPS) through an Internet service provider. For about $50 per month, we have 300 GB, divided into 50 GB for the database and 250 GB for storage. We can access the program from anyplace with an Internet connection–the council offices, our homes, etc. In the future, the Council may host the program itself, but for now, this arrangement works.
Roundabout: The Templates
Our Council IT guru also installed the Configuration Library from the Roundabout Theatre Company in Manhattan. I selected this library after researching the many, many configuration schemes available on the CA site. It’s really a very good fit. Roundabout has costumes, props, and scripts, while Girl Scouts have uniforms, gear, and handbooks. Plus, Roundabout has a way-cool archivist, Tiffany Nixon, who is a tremendous ambassador for Collective Access. She graciously met with me and gave me a full tour of her system for Roundabout. Take a look at the Roundabout Archives website to see what Collective Access can do!