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ArchivesSpace and covid-19 – radically altering plans for a telecommute environment: how one large academic library is implementing ArchivesSpace

Hoffner, Bailey
Covid-19 has radically changed most special collections work environments. The initial nine-month plan to begin implementing ArchivesSpace at the University of Oklahoma (OU) – completed just prior to receiving stay-at-home orders – had to be immediately altered to accommodate the new telecommute environment. We went from having an extended planning period, to a plan-as-you-go model. This has obviously been a challenging shift, but has had a number of positive benefits. While always aiming towards the same goals of providing better, standardized access to information about our collections, we’ve been able to provide meaningful work for special collections staff that have found themselves away from the collections that normally fill their days. We have also been able to onboard a number of other library staff members whose day-to-day work was limited by an inability to be “in the office.” Thanks to the number of people now dedicated to this project, our timeline for near-complete implementation of ArchivesSpace has been drastically shortened: from a process that might have taken 2-3 years, to one we hope to complete before January 2021. Other benefits will be discussed, as well as tools we have used for remote project planning, data clean-up, and ingest of legacy finding aids.