Archeion, Ontario's Archival Information Network, is a publicly available, bilingual gateway to descriptions of archival records located in Ontario. There are currently over 20,000 descriptions available for searching and browsing. Archeion also provides contact information and locations of archives where documents can be accessed.

Archeion was built with funding from the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, the Government of Ontario, Library and Archives Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the EMC Heritage Trust.

Archeion Coordinator

The Archeion Coordinator is available to give advice to archives about descriptive standards, can help with the writing of descriptions, and answer technical concerns, along with any other questions you may have about participating in Ontario's Archival Information Network.

Contact the Coordinator, Lisa Snider, by email at You can also follow her on Twitter @AAOArcheion.

The AAO Acheion Coordinator program is partly funded by the Government of Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services through the Archives of Ontario.

Archeion Assistant

The 2016-2017 AAO Archeion Assistant DHCP funded training project has ended. Please see more information about this project on the Archeion Assistant web page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Archeion do?

Archeion brings together information about archival materials held all over Ontario. By contributing information to Archeion, archives allow researchers to easily discover their collections and to make connections between holdings of more than one hundred archival institutions across the province, saving them time and effort. Descriptions in Archeion are exposed to search engines like Google, which means that they are easily found even if researchers are unaware of the Archeion site.

How do I contribute information about my archives to Archeion?

Institutional members of the Archives Association of Ontario are eligible for inclusion in Archeion. Once you have joined the AAO, you will need to contact the Archeion Coordinator at to receive a username and password for Archeion. The Coordinator will create a basic page in Archeion for your institution and is available to give advice on how to create descriptions of archival materials within the site.

What sort of information does Archeion hold?

Archeion can hold full archival descriptions, right down to digitized images of the records. It can also hold audio and video files and PDF versions of full finding aids. Each institutional member of the AAO is provided with 1 gigabyte of free storage space on Archeion. That's enough for about 2,000 digital images.

Is there a manual for Archeion?

Yes! Archeion uses the AtoM (Access to Memory) platform for describing archive-holding institutions, archives creators and archives. You can download the Archeion manual in English or in French.

How does Archeion link up with other Canadian resources?

Descriptions in Archeion are regularly added to the national catalogue for archival descriptions, Archives Canada, a database managed by the Canadian Council of Archives.

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  • 06 Jan 2012 4:32 PM | Danielle Robichaud

    A manual explaining how to create descriptions for the new Archeion system is now available.

    Institutional members of the AAO can now contact Amanda Hill, the Archeion Coordinator, at to be issued with a username and password for the new Archeion service.

    Workshops on using the new system are going to be held regularly during 2012 - announcements will be made on the AAO mailing list. If you would like to arrange a workshop for your group, please contact the Coordinator. 

  • 05 Dec 2011 4:33 PM | Danielle Robichaud

    To follow up from Anna St. Onge's announcement last Friday about the new Archeion site (, I'd like to update you on a few things about how the new site works and to ask for your help in making it even better.

    The new Archeion supports the international standard for describing institutions with archival holdings (ISDIAH) and we have created skeleton ISDIAH records for each of the repositories with records in Archeion. These are linked to from the archival descriptions in Archeion and can also be browsed from the 'Archival Institutions' link on the home page of the site.

    If your institution has records in Archeion, please check its ISDIAH record for accuracy and email me if there is anything which needs to be changed.

    The new system extracts information about the creators of archives into a separate authority record, rather than including it in the archival description. This has generally worked well in the migration of our existing descriptions, but occasionally can have unexpected results in descriptions with multiple creators or with collections, depending upon how they have been described. Please look through your institution's Archeion descriptions and, again, email me if there is anything wrong with them that you would like to correct.

    Work is under way on creating manuals for the new system, which will be available in 2012. At this stage, we are concentrating on making sure that the existing information in Archeion is accurate and up to date, before starting to add new information.

    Note that usernames and passwords for the old ARCHEION system will not work with the new one.

    We are setting up Archeion training events for March 2012 and are still looking for a suitable venue in the Eastern region of Ontario (Ottawa, specifically). Please get in touch if you are able to offer a training room with computers or with a wireless network which we could use.


    Amanda Hill

    Archeion Coordinator

  • 02 Dec 2011 4:34 PM | Danielle Robichaud

    On behalf of the members of the Archeion Standing Committee and members of the Archives Association of Ontario, I am very pleased to announce that the new Archeion database of Ontario archival descriptions is now available at

    The new Archeion is based on ICA-AtoM open source software which offers a number of enhancements that were not available in our previous system.  These include:

    *multi-level archival descriptions!

    *linking digital objects held in institutional digital repositories to descriptions

    * Institutional descriptions based on ICA-ISDIAH, the International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings, which will allow AAO institutional members contributing to Archeion to keep up-to-date contact and descriptive information about their institution;

    And many more! Please see the attached complete press release for full details and for acknowledgments of all the help we've had in getting the new service up and running.

    Please contact Archeion Coordinator Amanda Hill for information on how to access and use the new system:

    Anna St.Onge


    Archeion Standing Committee

    Archives Association of Ontario (AAO)


    Press release about launch (87.12 kB)

  • 08 Aug 2011 4:35 PM | Danielle Robichaud

    While we wait for the new version of Archeion to become available, this post features an interview with Erika Heesen, who is using the ICA-AtoM software to provide online access to descriptions of the materials at the Leeds and the Thousand Islands Archives.

    1) Tell us a little bit about your archive and its materials.

    The mandate of the Leeds and the Thousand Islands Archives is to acquire, preserve, promote and make available the historical record of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands. We are a township located in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, just east of Kingston, Ontario.

    We hold materials from the former Township of the Rear of Leeds and Lansdowne, the former Township of Escott, and the Leeds & 1000 Islands Historical Society (representing the former Township of the Front of Leeds and Lansdowne). This includes letters, diaries, municipal documents, maps, drawings, postcards, and photographs.

    2) Why did you decide to use ICA-AtoM?

    We wanted an online, searchable catalogue for our collections. We did not have any computer software/database in place before, though we did have a card catalogue and paper accession register. We did not have a budget for purchasing software, so I did a survey of available open source software for archives (e.g. Archivist's Toolkit, Collective Access, CollectionSpace) and concluded that ICA-AtoM was the program that best suited our needs for making the collection available online and adhering to the standards of the Rules for Archival Description.

    3) How did you find the installation process?

    The installation process was fairly straightforward. Some of the documentation for the installation was written from a very technical standpoint, but we also had the benefit of the Library IT person's expertise in setting up a computer to run as our server for the database and website. Upgrading the software from 1.09 to 1.1 was more difficult, and required assistance from ICA-AtoM staff.

    4) What benefits do you see from using this software?

    ICA-AtoM is designed very well for archival description using RAD. I also quite like the pop up boxes that list the relevant rule from the RAD manual. The two main benefits that I see from using ICA-AtoM are the ease with which descriptions can be made available online, and encouraging standards, both in actual data entry/creation of descriptions, but also in providing xml exports that can be easily transferred.

    5) Are there any disadvantages?

    There is yet to be an accessioning module, and there really is a need for one, particularly when handling accruals to a fonds or collection. I understand that this is to be included in the next software release.

    Thanks to Erika for sharing her experiences.

  • 21 Apr 2011 4:36 PM | Danielle Robichaud

    The usability testing which took place in March was well attended, with 20 people volunteering their time to help us test the features of the ICA-AtoM software which we will be using for the new Archeion service.

    The Artefactual Systems Inc. team have created some mock-ups (PDF format) of ways in which the new site will address the issues raised by our volunteers. You can read more about the testing results on Artefactual's wiki site. Their summary of the AAO testing results is as follows:

    The overall response to ICA-AtoM by the twenty participants that performed the set tasks and answered the post-task questionnaire was positive:

    • 95% of all participants found the layout of ICA-AtoM to be clear,
    • 85% of all participants felt that ICA-AtoM was easy to use and quick to learn,
    • 90% of participants were satisfied with ICA-AtoM, and
    • 70% of the Archivists that tested the software said they would recommend ICA-AtoM to a colleague.

    The study provided valuable feedback regarding shortfalls in navigation and functionality, such as:

    • 70% of Archivists testing the software felt that ICA-AtoM did not work the way they wanted it to work,
    • 43% of Archivists felt they could not use ICA-AtoM successfully every time, and
    • 25% of all participants felt lost at some point during the set tasks.

    Changes suggested by participants to improve Usability of ICA-AtoM:

    • Implement an Advanced Search,
    • Clarify Browse Tab navigation and functionality,
    • Provide contextual information for labels,
    • Revise Design Interface to support larger text, minimize scrolling, and highlight edit operations.

    Thanks very much to all our volunteers - your feedback has been very helpful!

  • 17 Feb 2011 4:37 PM | Danielle Robichaud

    For many months, AAO members have been hearing about plans to migrate Archeion to the new opensource platform ICA-AtoM. Now is your chance to contribute to the functionality, look and feel of our new database!

    The AAO and the University of Toronto are collaborating with Artefactual Systems Inc. on a usability test of the ICA-AtoM software and web interface. We’re looking for a range of volunteers who are willing to give up an hour of their time to test the beta system and contribute their thoughts and experiences.

    We are soliciting volunteers who are able to visit the usability lab at the University of Toronto for one hour on the following dates:

    • March 8, 9:00am - 11am, 5:00pm - 9:00pm
    • March 9: 9:00am - 5:00pm
    • March 10: 9:00am - 11:00am, 1:00pm - 9:00pm
    • March 11: 9:00am - 2:00pm
    • March 15:·9:00am - 11:00am, 4:00pm - 9:00pm
    • March 16: 9:00am - 5:00pm
    • March 17: 9:00am - 12:00pm, 2:00pm - 9:00pm

    We are seeking volunteers who fall into one of the following three categories:

    1. Up to 10 archivists who have submitted descriptions to Archeion in the past
    2. Up to 10 researchers who have used the Archeion portal to locate archival holdings
    3. Up to 10 individuals with little or no experience conducting archival research - online or otherwise.

    Please feel free to distribute this call widely to your friends and family and patrons, especially if they fall into the second and third categories. We are aiming to get a representative sample of all our stakeholders, so that a variety of skill- and knowledge levels are taken into account.

    To book an appointment or to make further inquiries, please email Amanda Hill, the Archeion Coordinator, or phone her on 416-929-4447.

    If you have a suitable space to put it, here is a poster for you to display:

    Archeion Usability Testing Poster (2.01 MB)

  • 01 Dec 2010 4:38 PM | Danielle Robichaud

    IMPORTANT NOTICE:  The Archeion database is currently undergoing some exciting changes. We are in the process of upgrading to the ICA-AtoM platform. As of December 1, 2010, we will not be accepting new descriptions, or allowing amendments to existing ones. Descriptions can be submitted directly to the Archeion Coordinator in xml format, and will be uploaded when the new database is launched. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Archeion Coordinator directly:

    Amanda Hill
    Archeion Coordinator
    Archives Association of Ontario

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