The Rockefeller Archive Center
Home | FAQs | Links | E-Mail
“If we assist the highest forms of education – in whatever field – we secure the widest influence in enlarging the boundaries of human knowledge.”
—John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Digital Program

Bits & Bytes: News from Rockefeller Archive Center's Digital Team


The Digital Program supports the mission of the RAC to assemble, preserve, and make accessible the records of the Rockefeller family and their wide-ranging philanthropic endeavors, as well as the records of numerous other non-Rockefeller foundations and nonprofit organizations which support research on philanthropy and civil society.

The Program also endeavors to honor the tradition of Rockefeller philanthropy and the RAC's status as an operating foundation by focusing on the use and development of open source technology for the benefit of the archival community as a whole.


  • To leverage technology in an innovative way in support of all RAC program areas.
  • To provide high quality, standards-based care of digital collections.
  • To provide enhanced discovery tools for the RAC research collections and digital objects
  • To enable the exposure and use of our collections by a broader audience of researchers.
  • To serve as a leader and model for the archival community.
  • Digital Preservation - provides practical solutions for standards-based curation of both born-digital and digitized analog archival collections.
    See the Rockefeller Archive Center Digital Preservation Policy
  • Digital Access - provides online access to archival access tools and digital objects through an interface that is intuitive to end-users and compliant with established web standards and best practices.
  • Special Projects Digitization - provides standards-based, archival quality digital duplication of archival collections.
  • Archival Technology Support - provides support to other RAC program areas for the innovative use of technology to enhance archival services.

The Digital Program leads a major initiative building sustainable, user-centered and standards-compliant infrastructure to support the ongoing acquisition, management, preservation and access for digital records at the RAC. Titled Project Electron, this project includes a repository to store digital records and metadata about them, as well as an API layer to manage interactions between the repository and other archival systems, and is being undertaken in partnership with Marist College. Further details are available at the project website.

Finding aids for archival collections and library holdings at the RAC are displayed online using the eXtensible Text Framework (XTF), a discovery system developed by the California Digital Library. This system takes advantage of web technologies to present finding aids and library records in a dynamic and easily navigable format. In the near future, the system will also display digital objects including both born-digital and digitized documents, photographs, audio, and video stored in RAC's digital preservation management system.

The RAC has partnered with Artefactual Systems to collaborate and build on Archivematica, an open-source digital preservation management system. The Digital Program Staff has been working to establish proactive relationships with donors earlier in the life-cycle of records to educate them regarding electronic records management best practice, preservation formats, and archival storage media, as well as to identify donor concerns and needs to target research and development of solutions for archiving born-digital records. The RAC has recently partnered with Archive-It in order to offer preservation of website materials to our donor institutions.

The RAC has developed a new module for the Archivists' Toolkit to manage researcher registration, recording visits and topics of research, and tracking researcher statistics and research products. The module, named AT Reference is open-source and freely available. Please see our Github site for more information.

Reference inquiries sent to the RAC are managed using osTicket, an open-source ticketing system that allows staff to search previous requests, respond to queries using auto-text, and gather statistics using reporting features. Digital Program Staff are assisting in the RAC's ongoing implementation of Aeon, an automated request and workflow management system that will aid retrieval and return of material for researchers in our reading rooms, researcher requests for photocopies or scans of archival material, and additional processes such as preservation activities and outsourced digitization projects.

The RAC has adopted ArchivesSpace to help manage all of our archival description. ArchivesSpace supports the core functions in archives: accessioning, description and arrangement, authority and metadata management, rights, and reference services. The Digital Program staff work constantly on upgrades and plugins for the system to help automate RAC work.


Assistant Director, and Head of Digital Programs – Hillel Arnold

Digital Archivist – Patrick Galligan

Assistant Digital Archivist – Bonnie Gordon

Did you know...