What is the difference between ATOM and Archivematica

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ممدوح الدحان

Feb 8, 2021, 6:46:08 AM2/8/21
to AtoM Users
Hi, Hope every one is fine.
Can you tell me what is the difference between ATOM and Archivematica ?

Dan Gillean

Feb 8, 2021, 10:39:19 AM2/8/21
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi there, 

I will provide some general information and resources here to help clarify the difference between the two. First, a short summary: 
  • Archivematica is focused on digital preservation. It provides you with the tools necessary to create packages suitable for the long-term preservation of digital content, based on the  OAIS reference model (ISO 14721). In the process of capturing technical and administrative metadata for preservation, it can also create preservation copies (based on well-supported, open formats) and access copies (low-resolution versions for easy dissemination, such as on the web). It doesn't give you a place to store your preserved content, or a system to allow for public access - those are up to you, though Archivematica can integrate with a local file storage system and/or several cloud-based storage and repository services for storage, and a couple different access systems for your access copies - including AtoM
  • AtoM is primarily intended for archival description and access, based on the standards created by the International Council on Archives. It's a bit like a library catalog for archivists - it covers the description and arrangement of your content, indexation to aid in discovery, and can act as a web-based public catalog so users can search and browse your archival holdings. AtoM can receive access copies of preserved digital objects from Archivematica, in the form of a Dissemination Information Package (DIP), allowing users to then arrange and describe them for public viewing. 
  • Both applications are released under open source licenses, and primarily developed and maintained by Artefactual Systems. They can be used together, or separately. 
Further information and links: 


AtoM is short for Access to Memory. It is a web-based application for archivists to arrange and describe their archival holdings and put them online for public access. The application is multi-lingual (both user content and user interface elements can be translated), and multi-repository (in that multiple institutions can share a site). It is released under an open source A-GPLv3 license, and all of our other resources - slides, wiki pages, documentation, etc - are released under open licenses as well. 

We have some basic information on the homepage, here: 
You can find all of the AtoM project documentation here:

We also have a more detailed information sheet about AtoM on the Artefactual website, here:

If you would like to explore some publicly accessible AtoM sites that are being used in production by other institutions, you might find our example Users list on the AtoM wiki useful:

Many of these sites have added their own custom themes - some developed by Artefactual, some created in-house - so this is also a great way to get a sense of how you can customize AtoM’s look and feel to match your institution’s home page. You might also find the following slide deck of interest - it outlines some community AtoM sites who are using AtoM in interesting ways. See:

You'll find a number of other slide decks from past AtoM Camps, conference presentations, or webinars, on our SlideShare account.

The easiest way to get a sense of what you can do with AtoM is to play around with it yourself - why not take a look at our public demo site? See:

The login credentials are listed right on the homepage. The site is loaded with sample data, and you are free to make whatever modifications you like - the site’s contents will automatically reset on an hourly basis. Please note that for security purposes, all uploads and imports have been disabled.

Finally, to learn more about the history of the AtoM project, as well as our development approach and Artefactual’s business model for sustaining the project, please see the following wiki page:


Archivematica is an open source digital preservation workflow system. That is, it provides a web-based dashboard to wrap a number of open source tools together that will allow users to process digital content for long-term preservation in accordance with international standards and best practices such as the OAIS reference model (ISO 14721). You will find more information, and all the project documentation, here: 
Archivematica can ingest digital content and use a set of user-editable policies to generate versions of these in stable formats suitable for long-term preservation. It will package these in an Archival Information Package (AIP) as per the recommendations of the OAIS reference model, along with a bunch of technical, administrative, and preservation metadata captured along the way. Archivematica can also generate lower-resolution access copies in more common formats for public viewing - i.e. a Dissemination Information Package, or DIP, as per the OAIS language. 

Archivematica can pass a DIP to AtoM for ingest, so the access copies of your preserved content can be arranged and described. AtoM will maintain information about the original files and AIP, to maintain a chain of custody. 

We have some slides here that outline how the two are related: 
It is a bit older, but there is a video on our YouTube channel that demonstrates DIP upload from Archivematica to AtoM, here: 
Archivematica also has its own user forum, here: 
Hope this helps! 

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS

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ممدوح الدحان

Feb 11, 2021, 4:07:10 AM2/11/21
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Thank you for these information . That we very helpful.

‫في الاثنين، 8 فبراير 2021 في 4:39 م تمت كتابة ما يلي بواسطة ‪Dan Gillean‬‏ <‪d...@artefactual.com‬‏>:‬
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دحان ممدوح


Bakary Njie

Feb 12, 2021, 5:53:08 AM2/12/21
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Dear Dan,

Thank you for the clarification, very helpful. 
I understand from your explanation one can move data from Archivematica to AtoM. 
On the other hand, what would be the ideal way to move Archival described data from AtoM into Archivematica directly?

Thank you in advance.

Dan Gillean

Feb 16, 2021, 10:45:23 AM2/16/21
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Bakary, 

Unfortunately, at present there is not a great method for moving content that has already been uploaded in AtoM to Archivematica - this is an integration we would very much like to improve in future releases. 

If you want to preserve the AtoM descriptive metadata with an Archivematica AIP, there are a couple of ways that you can do this. Please note that it's not currently possible to: a) have an AIP use the same digital object masters that you've already uploaded in AtoM (you will have to use the originals to make a separate transfer in Archivematica), b) have Archivematica replace existing attached digital objects with DIP upload objects, or c) have the additional metadata you add in Archivematica transfer to AtoM during future DIP uploads. The following methods don't create a direct relationship between AtoM and Archivematica, but can be used to ensure that additional descriptive metadata is stored in the final AIP of your preserved objects in Archivematica. Both are described on this page in the Archivematica documentation: 
The first method is if you want the descriptive metadata to be included in a readable format in the METS file produced by Archivematica and stored in your AIP. 

It's possible to add custom columns to the metadata.csv - so you could theoretically export an AtoM description CSV, create the required custom columns in the Archivematica custom metadata.csv file as per the documentation, and then paste in required content. For more information, see: 
If you don't want to do that much work, and don't need the metadata to be directly included in the resulting METS file, then you could just include the entire AtoM CSV export as custom metadata, to be packaged up with an AIP. In this case, the METS file will just include a pointer to the additional metadata, and not individual metadata elements. Just be sure NOT to name the CSV file metadata.csv! For more information, see: 

Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
he / him

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