Archon User Manual

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Swem Library’s Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) began using the Archon database to manage the University Archives and Manuscript Collections in 2007. This manual provides information about preferred language, local standards, and implementation of the database for staff of the SCRC. This guide supplements the manual provided by the Archon project, which includes more detailed instructions for adding and editing content in the database. The SCRC's Collections database is available online.

The User and Administrator Manuals for the Archon database software are available from the Archon project. Users are encouraged to review the User Manual before using the database and as questions arise. Note that the User Manual from the Archon Project was created for an earlier version of the software (the SCRC is currently using version 2.10) and so some of the screenshots and details may vary (for example, the user login is now located at the upper left of the screen not the lower right).

First Screen


Enter the title of the collection such as: Roderick Johnson Papers; Office of the Bursar Records; or Korean War Collection.

Enable Web Output

Select Yes or No depending on whether the collection should be visible to the public. This can be changed at any time.

Collection Classification

Select appropriate collection hierarchy. Below is the current version of the hierarchy for collections.

01 Manuscripts

00 College of William and Mary

  • 00 01 Board of Visitors
  • 00 02 Office of the President
    • 00 02 03 Office of the Provost
      • 00 02 03 01 Office of the Vice Provost
      • 00 02 03 02 Office of the Associate Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions
      • 00 02 03 03 Office of the Associate Provost for Information Technology
      • 00 02 03 04 Faculty Assembly
      • 00 02 03 05 Reves Center for International Studies
      • 00 02 03 06 Applied Research Center
      • 00 02 03 07 Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
      • 00 02 03 08 Muscarelle Museum
      • 00 02 03 22 Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
      • 00 02 03 33 Marshall-Wythe School of Law
    • 00 02 04 Office of Finance
      • 00 02 04 01 Budget Office
      • 00 02 04 02 Financial Operations Office
      • 00 02 04 03 Ash Lawn-Highland
      • 00 02 04 04 Private Funds Office
    • 00 02 23 Office of Student Affairs
    • 00 02 97 Office of Administration
    • 00 02 98 Office of Public Affairs
    • 00 02 181 Office of Intercollegiate Athletics
  • 00 03 Office of the Chancellor
  • 00 05 Students and Alumni/ae
    • 00 05 01 Alumni Organizations
    • 00 05 02 Student Organizations
  • 00 06 Faculty and Staff
    • 00 06 08 Faculty and Staff Organizations

Collection Identifier

Collection numbers for Manuscripts collections should be added based upon the accession number assigned by the Manuscripts and Rare Books Curator. For example: Mss. Acc. 2000.21. Use periods not hyphens.

Collection numbers for University Archives collections should be added based upon the University Archives Collection Numbers.

Finding Aid Author

If a finding aid was created by an unknown individual, insert Special Collections Staff in this field. When known, the name of the individual(s) who processed the collection and/or wrote the finding aid should be included here.

Location Information


Examples of entries:

  • Boxes 1-6
  • Series 1-3
  • Series 1, Box 2-4
  • Map, Poster, etc.


Select one of the pre-selected locations. If the location you need is not listed, consult with a staff member to add.


Usually left blank.


Section of shelving collection begins on such as 2243 or 178.


Letter of shelf collection begins on such as A, B, C, D, etc.


Size in cubic feet, items, etc.


Note that Archon only allows one row in the location section to be updated or deleted, so after adding new location information or editing an existing row you must click Update.

Launch Location Manager

The Location Manager is where additional Locations can be added to Archon. Locations should only be added by SCRC staff.

Creator Information

Select the appropriate creators from the list. Be sure to select a collection's primary creator first as that will individual's biography or organization's history is the one that will be included in the finding aid.

Use the Library of Congress Authorities, local headings, or other appropriate sources when adding creators to the database. Include middle initials or names and dates of birth/creation and death/disbanding when known. If individual/organization is still alive/active, leave the date open-ended in the format (without quotation marks) "1967- ".

Examples for entering names:

  • College of William and Mary. Office of the Dean.
  • Peterson, Geraldine F.

Collection Description


The scope and content note for the collection should be added here. The size can range from a single sentence to a few paragraphs. This is not as detailed as the series descriptions and should generally not be an item-level description.


Indicate how the collection is arranged if it is process.

If the collection is not arranged use a statement such as: This collection is not yet arranged and described. Contact a staff member for assistance.

If the collection is currently being arranged and described use a statement such as: This collection is currently being processed. Contact staff for assistance.


Use the Library of Congress Authorities, local headings (such as the University Archives Subjects), or other appropriate sources when adding subjects to the database.

Example: Slavery--Southern States--History--19th century


Use the Art & Architecture Thesaurus, local headings (such as approved University Archives Subjects), or other appropriate sources when adding subjects to the database.

Access Restrictions

Suggested language for Access Restrictions fields are provided here. Variations are possible. Please add further language variances to this section.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to all researchers.

Permission is required for use of portions of this collection. [Include specific portions if known.] Consult a staff member for details.

This collection is restricted. Consult a staff member for details.

Use Restrictions

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Physical Access Note

Part or all of this collection is stored offsite. Consult a staff member for assistance.

When available, photocopies or other reproductions must be used in place of original documents.

The fragile nature of the ceramics may limit handling.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition Date

Always include when known, even if date is repeated in the Acquisition Source field.

Acquisition Source

Include all known information about the acquisition of the collection including source, date, accession number, etc. University Archives Accession Numbers from 2007 forward are available online.

Acquisition Method

Use this field to identify the source from which the collection was received including date and other applicable information. Include the accession number in this field.

Accrual Information

Indicate whether future accruals are expected. For College of William and Mary offices or departments operating at the present time or other ongoing collections, this field should read: Future accruals are expected. For College offices or departments no longer in existence or other terminal collections, this field should read: No future accruals are expected.

Custodial History

This field should be used to trace the custodial history of a collection or object. For instance, information about the chain of custody or ownership of a collection should be included in this field.


This collection was previously part of the University Archives Publications Collection.

Portions of this collection were previously part of the University Archives Publications Collection.

Related Materials Information

Related Materials

Separated Materials

Preferred Citation

Examples include:

Abolitionist Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Office of the President, Alvin Duke Chandler Records, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

Other Information

Other URL

If the finding aid or inventory for the collection is only available online either through Virginia Heritage or a PDF of the paper inventory in a binder in the SCRC, include the URL for the location here.

If in the future, a new or revised inventory is created and manually entered into Archon for an inventory that was previously only available as a PDF, this URL should be deleted.

Other Note

Include the following statement if relevant: A PDF document of this inventory is available online.

If in the future, a new or revised inventory is created and manually entered into Archon for an inventory that was previously only available as a PDF, this statement should be deleted.

Finding Aid Information

Descriptive Rules

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Processing Information

If further information about the processors of the collection, such as when the collection was processed, when additions were processed, etc. are available, include that information here. For example: Processed by Mark Tueting in 1995.

Publication Note

Include a statement similar to: Added to Archon by Earl Gregg Swem in June 2007.

Extracting Bibliographic Records

  • University Archives thoughts: Remove 540 and 541 fields.
  • Add citation field.
  • Add restriction information if applicable.
  • 856: insert language for finding aid available online.
  • 99: remove all #s and / pre-UA number; so in 00/02/UA 5.023 remove 00/02/.

Extracting EAD/XML Files

Links to PDFs

The PDF-ing of all Manuscript and University Archives inventories was completed in the summer of 2007 and the links were added to Archon records in September 2007.


  • Collections with multiple PDFs because of multiple accessions or very long finding aids.

Solution: When a finding aid has been divided into multiple PDF documents, we would like the links to be in the Collection Description. This allows all sections to be in the same section in order. Also, the <a href> tag will need to be added to make the links "live." Remove any existing links from the Other Information field in cases where there are multiple PDFs. See the Southall collection for the appropriate language and format.

  • The problem surrounds a lot of manuscript collections (an perhaps some UA collections also) and the addendum materials added to them, see example with link below. Essentially, in the past when materials have been added to an existing processed collection they were tacked onto the end of the collection inventory and listed by their Mss. Acc #, and often called Box 1, etc. However, archon will only allow one Box 1 per Series. Since most collections have only one Series, this creates a conflict when one attempts to input the entire inventory into archon (not in pdf format). Thus, taking into account this call # conflict, a plan needs to be found for making the inventory on Archon match what's on the shelf. (reported Zach Jones, 9/10/2007)

Solution: All you need to do to handle this with existing collections is create fake series, no? So the 1983 accession is series 1 and the 1999 accession is series 2. (acs and sar agreed 9/10/07)

  • Some PDFs didn't come through or were missing pages. These include; the Civil War Collection, Ritchie-Harrison Papers, Conway Whittle, V.T. DeVita, M.E. Davis, and Tyler Group A. (reported by Zach Jones, 9/12/2007)

Accessing the Subject File and Faculty-Alumni File Collections in the Archon Database

Open the database at

Click “Login” at the upper left of the page. Enter your username and password. Note that once you have logged in to the database, a pencil will appear next to the collection name and in the box list allowing you to jump directly to that portion of the inventory in the administrative interface of the database.

Navigate to desired collection. Note that the formal name of the collections are University Archives Subject File Collection and University Archives Faculty-Alumni File Collection. If you search “University Archives” using the box at the top right of the screen both will be in the results list. You may also browse to the collections using the Collection Title option at the left of the screen. Note that the collections are filed under “S” for Subject and “F” for Faculty-Alumni.

After navigating to the finding aid for the desired collection, at the Box List heading select Formatted. This will take you to the inventory of all headings currently in the database.

The folder headings are listed alphabetically and arranged within the cabinet and drawer number in which they are physically located. Find the desired drawer and click on the pencil next to the drawer number and contents (ex: Drawer 1: A-Ay ).

Clicking on the pencil opens a new window in the browser taking you into the staff interface for the Archon database. Paging down slightly, you will see fields for the drawer number and contents and a large database field - box actually- labeled Description. It is in the Description box that you will enter the headings you are adding to the database.

Note that you can scroll down through the list of names/subject headings in the Description box. Be prepared as this can be a very long list.

When you find the place in the list where you want to enter a heading, hit enter to create a new line in the list and enter the heading.

You may enter as many new headings as you have for a particular drawer. After you have entered the new heading for a particular drawer, scroll down to the bottom of the page using the large scroll bar at the right of the screen. Click Update.

When the update action is complete, you may close the window for the staff interface and return to the list in the public interface. To review the headings you have added to the inventory in the public interface, click the refresh button in the public interface.