Exploring the connections between medicine, life and art
The Wellcome Library adopted Axiell’s CALM Collections Management System for Archives in 2000. The Library’s vast and ever growing collection comprises about one million digital and physical items and takes up an impressive 20km of store room space. More than 250,000 archive and manuscript items are catalogued in CALM for Archives, a system designed for archivists by archivists.
With many objects held in a variety of physical formats, the Wellcome Library developed a central discovery portal across the library, digital collection and archive. This involved integrating CALM with two other systems. One of them, Preservica, is used for storing digital content. To ensure a complete description of an object, metadata is synchronised between Preservica and CALM, with technical metadata stored in Preservica and descriptive metadata held in CALM. CALM also synchronises nightly with the Library’s MARC format catalogue, Sierra:
“CALM is one of our three core solutions at the institution. The integration capabilities have enabled us to extend the solution as our needs have evolved and I am very glad that the solution continues to support all of our new initiatives. CALM is now integrated with Preservica and also our Library Management solution, which ensures that the discovery and online ordering process in the reading room also covers the archives collection,” comments Christopher Hilton.
The solution goes with the flow of what archivists do. I find that it handles the complete workflow for an archivist efficiently and effectively. I can get an instant visual representation of the complete archive, which I find extremely valuable, and adding the strong support for managing digital born content, it really is a solution any archivist would benefit from working with.
CALM has enabled the Library to streamline object management from pre-accession, donor management, cataloguing, loans, exhibitions, location management, through to presentation of objects, documents, manuscripts, and so on to the public. Critically, as the collection grows by almost 3000 items every six months, new objects can be rapidly entered into CALM. The system’s powerful import and export support allows the Library to make full use of any listings that may accompany an archive, reducing the cataloguing burden by using the creator’s own data, where appropriate, as the bedrock of the archive catalogue. With CALM’s support for interoperability standards in archiving, including OAI, EAD and EAC, Wellcome Trust can be pro-active with the collections, which facilitates their mission to share information as widely as possible, supporting research and discussion of health and science issues.
As Christopher Hilton observes, “The questions from visitors are more demanding today and I am very glad that we can now cross search and answer pretty much any type of question that we get, as long as it is material that is available in our collection.”
ABOUT THE WELLCOME TRUST
The Wellcome Library is part of the Wellcome Collection, the free visitor destination for the incurably curious. Located at 183 Euston Road, London, The Wellcome Collection explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future. In addition to the world-renowned Wellcome Library, the venue offers visitors contemporary and historic exhibitions and collections, lively public events, a café, shop, restaurant and conference facilities, as well as publications, tours, a book prize, international and digital projects.
Wellcome Collection is part of the Wellcome Trust, the independent global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health.