CollectiveAccess is free open-source software for managing and publishing museum and archival collections.

The two main components of CollectiveAccess are Providence, the core cataloguing and data management application, and Pawtucket, an optional "front-end" publication and discovery platform. Providence provides a relational approach to cataloging that allows users to create and describe relationships between different record-types, and construct hierarchical relationships for complex collections. Nuanced search and browse tools, advanced display and reporting tools, batch edit and import capabilities, superior media-handling and more enable users to catalogue almost anything. For publicly accessible collections, Pawtucket offers the web presentation tools that can bring an archive to light. Here are some highlights of the many features available to CollectiveAccess users:



  • Pre-configured with several library and archival standards including DACS, PBCore, Dublin Core, VRA Core and more
  • Fully configurablecreate and edit metadata fields, user interfaces and reports without custom programming
  • Define custom browse facets and advanced search forms
  • Support for data validation of dates, measurements, currency, URLs and more
  • Integrated with Library of Congress subject headings, Getty vocabularies, GeoNames, and more
  • Mapping tools for Georeferencing
  • Support for complex hierarchies (i.e. collections to items, place authorities and more)


  • Batch cataloguing tools for object and authority items
  • Batch import tools for media
  • Data import framework with readers for Excel, Tab, CSV, MARC, FilemakerPro DSO XML, InMagick XML
  • Data export framework supporting mappings to various OAI-PMH formats including EAD and Dublin Core
  • Reporting tools to generate finding aids and exports to PDF or spreadsheet-readable formats
  • Tools for e-commerce/licensing
  • Tools for managing library-style check in/check out of items
  • Spreadsheet format for editing multiple records on a single screen
  • Tools for creating, editing and sharing sets of items with project collaborators
  • Supports multilingual cataloging


  • In-browser viewing and playback for images, video, audio, multi-page documents and 3D scans
  • Support for searching within documents
  • Annotation tools for images, documents, video and audio assets
  • HTML 5 pan-and-zoom high-resolution image viewer
  • Support for Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word file formats with previews generated via LibreOffice


  • Publish an optional public-access collection portal website
  • Style public-access components easily with the theme library
  • Configure navigation tools including post-search browse filtering, custom advanced search forms and more
  • Highlight collection items in configurable galleries
  • Generate dynamic timelines from search and browse results
  • Present authority items with visualization tools
  • Curate custom chronologies
  • Plot data and metadata on interactive maps
  • Solicit and moderate user-generated comments, tags and ratings
  • Accept user-generated submissions of archival content, data and media

Access control

  • Granular access control to specific fields or records by typecontrolled by user or group
  • Support for multi-level access restrictions to published records and metadata
  • LDAP authentication and support for alternative user authentication methods

Digital Preservation

  • Fixity checks on MD5 checksums via convenient email reports
  • Automatic creation of access derivatives for preservation media
  • Integration with BagIt
  • ...and much more. See our FAQs for additional details