The purpose of "automating" survey materials is to make them available in an electronic form to researchers while also permitting easier means to analyze the data collected. To accomplish this task, literature in the field was reviewed (archivist journals that discussed automation),<1> archival computer software packages available including Gencat and MicroMarc were looked at, archivists in CUNY were consulted and a field visit was made to the Louis Armstrong Archives.
A review of the high-level software packages, including MicroMarc and GenCat, has led us to believe that they are too complex and can be considered "overkill" for the amount of archival information that was collected. They are meant for large depositories who wish to make available their records using the MARC AMC format (Machine Readable Cataloging Archives and Manuscripts Control). A visit to the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College, Flushing, New York (located within the library) revealed that they found the major archival software packages too expensive and too difficult for them and they have resorted to using an off the shelf database package. In this case they are using Paradox by Borland to catalog their archives.
Our recommendation, therefore, was to use an off the shelf database package. As we do have familiarity with an old standard, DBASE THREE PLUS, which, though outdated, is sufficient for inputting our information collected by the surveyors, we have decided to settle on this software for our database needs. DBASE also has the added advantage of being so universally accepted, that its files can be read by virtually every database package around, including Paradox.
A DBASE input model has been created (copy attached) and the results of the surveys, divided into three files, has been completed. The three files contain survey information for societies, schools and churches respectively.
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