Minnesota State University ARCHives: No longer marooned on an island

Minnesota State University ARCHives: No longer marooned on an island



Hidden away on the third floor of the library at Minnesota State University-Mankato are the Minnesota State University ARCHives.  For too long the work occurring here has been one of Minnesota’s best kept secrets.  Staff here are tucked away, marooned on their own island.  This is a feeling that many tackling digital asset management or digital preservation might share.


Not just building a repository

PALS is building a community to help support you with digital asset management.

To this end our work with Minnesota State University -Mankato’s ARCHives began with  core goals:

  • To build a repository that allows Minnesota State University-Mankato to preserve and manage their digital assets
  • To build an open, collaborative community to support digital asset management efforts
    • Keep our partners connected to the current international Islandora open source community
  • To develop/support abilities that allow Minnesota State University to share and promote their online collections
  • To enhance and streamline existing workflows

Minnesota State University-Mankato was one of our early partners.  As they adopted Islandora and became comfortable with it, they shared their experience and expertise with our partners and other interested institutions.

This was essential to bringing our community together.  We continue sharing workflows, advice, and features among our partners.  This is really what we can provide for you.  Not just the repository software, but a community committed to collaborative efforts.  Minnesota State University-Mankato’s early commitment to this ideal helped cement it within our partners.

Misspelling University Connundrum

As Minnesota State Mankato shared their knowledge it became clear that Islandora had a major positive impact on their workflow and efficiency.  This began with the metadata.  Islandora’s ingest forms allow for custom metadata with lots of controlled vocabulary, instructions, and constant data.   This allows Minnesota State University student workers to enter metadata following strict, detailed Minnesota Digital Library guidelines with ease.  Prior to Islandora they had difficulty with quality control and training.  For example, University kept getting misspelled.

With the Digital Asset Management Solution Minnesota State Mankato used at the time, they didn’t know who was making the error (or that it was being made) and couldn’t train that person in proper technique.  Work quality suffered, and it meant that error – and others – needed to be cleaned up when Minnesota State Mankato migrated to Islandora.

Empowering quality work

Islandora enhances quality control in metadata with a simple workflow review queue.  New objects described by students go into a queue before “going live” into the repository.   There they can be reviewed by staff.  Their login credentials are also assigned to the object.  So now, staff can review, provide feedback, and train students, thus empowering high quality work.

This has happened on a larger scale within our community.  Our goal is to improve workflows, efficiency, and quality work.  We do this by sharing workflows, expertise, and features.  This is what we want to do for you.   We want to provide you with not only a repository, but a community that can empower your work.

Quality work in action: Wierd Stain Syndrome


The impacts Islandora has had on MSU-Mankato’s workflow have further convinced us of its viability as a solution.   It is also highly flexible and able to support unforeseen issues. When vinegar syndrome – a condition that can rapidly increase degradation of physical material – ARCHives staff were able to respond and focus work on ingesting (loading) the affected objects.  They were able to scan and ingest 140+ over a few weeks, and continue to do so at a fast pace.  Without the DAM solution in place this would not be possible, and the materials could be at risk of being lost.

No longer alone

You will no longer be tackling a difficult issue on your own. When you do, your partners will be there for you and you will no longer be one of Minnesota’s best kept secrets.   You shouldn’t be.  It’s much easier and more cost effective to tackle Digital Asset Management collaboratively, and not isolated on your own island.    Take the first step.






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