Something New for Something Old: Innovative Approaches to Managing Archives and Special Collections

December 4-5, 2008 at the Union League of Philadelphia



Overview and Updates

Schedule and Speakers


Information for Attendees


Brad Westbrook
University of California, San Diego

Biographical Statement

Brad Westbrook is the Manager of the Archivists’ Toolkit Project and head of the Metadata Analysis and Specification Unit in the UC San Diego Libraries. He has served as lead designer for the Mellon-sponsored Union Catalog of Art Images project, as the Manuscripts Librarian / University Archivist at UC San Diego, and as the exhibits curator at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscripts Library. He has an MLS from UCLA and MA in English from SUNY-Albany.

During his career, Westbrook has been an active member of RBMS and SAA. He participated in RBMS programming for numerous events, including serving as the program chair for the 1999 Preconference in Montreal. For SAA he has served as a member and chair of the Technical Subcommittee for Descriptive Standards and of the J. Franklin James Archival Advocacy Award. As a member of the Online Archive of California, Westbrook participated in the development of best practices for EAD encoding of finding aids and the construction of digital objects. With Robin Chandler and Bill Landis, Westbrook spearheaded the Archivists Workbench meetings sponsored by the Digital Library Federation in 2004 that led to the development of the Archivists’ Toolkit Project.

Westbrook has recently published articles on virtual collections, metadata normalization, and the Archivists’ Toolkit.

member of Infrastructure panel

Project Description

The Archivists' Toolkit™ ( is the first community-developed, open source application to provide broad, integrated support for the management of archives. Since its inception the AT project has been strongly committed to producing an open source, low barrier (technically and financially) application to promote standardization and increased efficiency of archives work. The application is intended for a wide range of archival repositories including archives, historical societies and museums of all sizes.

The AT project is a community developed software project and has been highly collaborative. Project partners are the Five Colleges, Inc., Libraries, the New York University Libraries, and the UC San Diego Libraries. Administrators, archivists, legal advisors, and developers at all three institutions, as well as throughout the archival community, have developed functional requirements for and tested the application. The project has been generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In the project's first development phase, functionality was built to support accessioning and describing archival materials; establishing names and subjects associated with the archival materials, including the names of donors; managing locations for the materials; and exporting EAD encoded finding aids, MARCXML records, and METS records. Version 1.0 of the Archivists' Toolkit™ was released on December 17, 2006, under an Educational Community License, version 1.0. In the project's recently initiated second development phase functionality is being built to support appraisal / assessment of archival materials, rights management information, and work orders for planning, tracking, and reporting collection projects.

Background Readings

Shepherd, Kelcy, Bradley D. Westbrook, Lee Mandell, Brian Stevens, and Jason Varghese. "The Archivists' Toolkit: An Integrated System for Describing and Managing Archival Resources." Journal of College and University Libraries, 77 (August 2006).

Westbrook, Bradley D., Lee Mandell, Kelcy Shepherd, Brian Stevens, and Jason Varghese. "The Archivists' Toolkit: Another Step Toward Streamlined Archival Processing." Journal of Archival Organization. (Vol. 4, nos. 1 & 2) 2006: 229-253. Published as part of Archives and the Digital Library. Eds. William E. Landis and Robin L. Chandler. (Binghamton, NY: Haworth Information Press, 2006).



Last updated November 21, 2008. Questions may be directed to Laura Blanchard,