Related product Collections Management

Frequently Asked Questions about Archon

What is Archon?

Archon is an Open Source tool for managing descriptive information about archival materials and for publishing that information on the web. Archon is a unified platform for archival description and access. It provides both a way to record descriptive information about collections and digital objects and a means to view, search, and browse that information in a fully functional public web site. Once you have input or edited information using some simple web forms, Archon automatically uploads the information, publishes the website, and generates EAD and MARC records.

What software needs to be installed to use Archon?

Governing members of CARLI may opt to use the Archon software that is hosted on a server operated by CARLI. For these participating CARLI libraries, Archon is entirely web-based; no software needs to be installed at the library. Alternately, as Archon is an open source product, any library may choose to host their own entire installation of Archon. For more information on hosting your own version of Archon see:

Where can I learn more about Archon?

Visit the product web site for more information about Archon

View the Introduction to Archon for CARLI Members webinar

View the webinar slides

Why would I want to implement Archon?

Archon creates a public interface where users can search by keyword to discover what collections your institution holds. Additionally, by using Archon you expose your Finding Aid metadata to search engines, and therefore researchers who may otherwise be unaware of your collections. Since Archon can export records in MARC format you can easily add those records to your local OPAC.

What is the difference between Archon and CONTENTdm?

While Archon is designed to manage metadata about collections CONTENTdm is designed to store and provide access to digital versions of primary source materials. While Archon does have the capability to manage digital versions, CARLI’s implementation of Archon will not offer that feature. CARLI institutions using Archon will be encouraged to provide links from Archon to their digital content. Visit the CONTENTdm FAQ page for more information about CARLI’s implementation of CONTENTdm.

How can our library participate in CARLI’s implementation of Archon?

Governing members of CARLI interested in using CARLI’s hosted Archon implementation should indicating their interest in using Archon. Include your institution’s name, and the name and emails of those individuals at your institution who should be given logins to the system.

How can I customize the look and feel of my institutions Archon instance?

Section 7.0 of the Archon User Manual details how to make changes to your institution’s Archon interface. Archon allows customization of both the look and feel of the public interface and the output files. If your institution wishes to customize the look and feel, CARLI will provide the cascading style sheets and other files that are needed for customization so they may be edited at your institution. Once edited, CARLI staff will load the files onto the Archon test server your approval, before finally uploading them to the production Archon server.

How can I communicate with other CARLI libraries using Archon?

CARLI has set up an to facilitate discussion amongst Archon users in the consortium (those taking advantage of the CARLI hosted solution and those who have installed Archon locally). You can sign up by going to

Is CARLI going to provide training and user support for Archon?

Other than hosting the software on a CARLI server and providing the support for installing customizations (see question 6 above), CARLI does not plan to provide the full range of training and support for Archon as it does for other products such as Voyager, SFX and CONTENTdm. Rather the Archon user community within and beyond CARLI will find a customer support network through the Archon forums.

What is the difference between and

Institutions should should maintain the collections they wish to make publically available on the production Archon server.

CARLI uses an Archon test server  is the server to stage customization files, as well as a sandbox for institutions to learn about the software. The test server may be erased and reset at any time with short advance notice.

November 2012