East to West and In Between


California Digital Library: Toward a National Archival Finding Aid Network

2018 October-2019 September

Many archival description aggregators across the country struggle to find sufficient resources to update their platforms and to engage with some of the most promising advances in the field. This planning initiative aims to tackle these challenges by exploring the creation of a national archival finding aid network that could fundamentally transform the archival description landscape while continuing to serve the needs of aggregators and archival repositories. By pooling resources and establishing co-development partnerships, we believe we can address our individual challenges collectively, thereby extending the capabilities, breadth, and depth of existing aggregations and providing users with more meaningful and richer access to archival records than any one of us can alone. The project is sponsored by in LSTA grant from the California State Library.

Finding Aid Aggregation at a Crossroads

AB Consulting researched, analyzed, and wrote this extensive profile of the current landscape of archival description and aggregation. In it, we find that the current approaches are unsustainable and delivering insufficient value for end users and organizations. This report formed the basis for the project’s full-day symposium of aggregators and expert advisers.

Symposium Outcomes

AB Consulting created and facilitated this full-day symposium of aggregators and expert advisers on June 17, 2019. Over the course of the day, participants considered the profile and their own experiences to uncover and discuss the critical issues facing this enterprise. By the end of the day, the group reached strong consensus to pursue new pathways to produce transformative results.



West Virginia University: America Contacts Congress

2018 October-2019 May

The America Contacts Congress project, made possible by a LYRASIS Catalyst Fund grant, is assessing an open-source tool (currently in beta version) developed at West Virginia University Libraries for managing congressional constituent data, engage the library community and potential users in defining technical requirements for processing and accessing data, and create a road map for developing a cooperative infrastructure.

AB Consulting held workshops with stakeholders to develop possible user needs, conducted interviews with priority stakeholders, and developed a set of user personae. In the final stages of the project, we created options for further tool development and proposed, with the Advisory Board, an innovative approach to user access through a partnership with ICPSR.

Phase 1 Report: Project Plan

Phase 2 Report: Results of User and Data Testing

Final Report

Final webinar