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Developed by

MINISIS Inc (Canadian based, with five regional offices)

Developer’s Description

“The M2A Application was developed in conjunction with the Archives of Ontario, as there was no existing archival management application that fit their specific needs…. The core feature of the M2A application is the Archives Descriptive Database, (ADD). The ADD has five primary linked databases: accessions, descriptions, lists, name authorities, plus a database that provides linkages between the authorities and descriptive components. In addition, there are multiple interfaces available. For instance, the system can support a senior descriptive officer profile that can review/edit or note required changes of all new records in M2A (before they become permanent records in the system). Whereas another profile exists to allow archivists to edit and update only the records they created. This type of ‘profiling’ provides even greater flexibility for a client.


The M2A was designed to allow clients to document their collections in two primary classifications; government records at a series level description or private records at a collection level description. The M2A system supports the comprehensive documentation for any archival record with nine principle levels.  The software is easy to adapt, can satisfy all requirements for archival and other management needs from accessioning to description to vital statistics.”



Purchasing Cost

Depends on number of users, country GDP, number of applications purchased.


M2A is sold as a complete system whether all the modules are required or not.  Some features can be blocked to reduce costs.  Those features can then be engaged as the institution requires or has the resources to do so.


MINISIS M2A can be expensive, but M2A web, which is geared toward smaller archives, provides an inexpensive hosted solution for online creation and publishing of archival information.


Maintenance Cost

MINISIS has a TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE (TSM) Program that is optional and renewal on a yearly basis.  There are 3 levels of support that are offered.  All include access to technical support and free access to all updates of the software.  Each one is different and the higher the level of support, the more services included.  For instance VIP includes onsite support at the client site for 10 days per year along with 1 hr response times guaranteed, whereas basic level support means only access to live telephone resources from Monday to Friday only, 7 to 7. The levels are:

  • 15% (BASIC Technical Support and Maintenance Fee)
  • 19% (PREMIUM Technical Support and Maintenance Fee)
  • 25% (VIP, Technical Support and Maintenance Fee)

    This includes software updates and services for technical support.  There are no further ongoing costs, and even the TSM is optional not required.

User Support

  • Help desk and depending on the level of TSM (see above), ability to define your contact within MINISIS Inc to ensure you have resources familiar with you and your application.
  • Access to documentation/ knowledgebase
  • User groups (regional and international)
  • Chat/remote desktop/Net meetings
  • Manuals
  • Onsite visits as well.




System Requirements

  • Windows NT or later on server,
  • XP2 or better on clients
  • IIS
  • NOTE: MINISIS recommends updates based on Microsoft’s indication of support.

Technical Architecture

Stand Alone, Client-server or “thin”/web client architecture is supported along with ASP/Hosted solutions.

Backup/ restore utility

Use the default backup utilities on your current server.


The first release of the ADD, M2A’s first incarnation was developed in 1999.  M2A is now into its 4th official release version. 

Hosting Available?


Demo/ Sandbox Available?

Yes.  You can download an old copy (1-2yrs old) off the web site.  There is also a link to M2A Online, the ASP version from the same page. In addition, there are numerous clients that have put the MINISIS Web Interface (MWI) on top of their M2A to allow for an OPAC for the public and researches.


MINISIS Inc has over 33 years of technological progression behind with over $45 million dollars invested in it since starting in the early 1970s.  It is protected with over $4million dollars of E&O insurance and has a following of 1000s of MINISIS users across 63 countries.  The first client to use MINISIS for archives was in 1977 and the last client to implement MINISIS was yesterday.  The user community of users growing continuously.

Example Users

Province of Ontario Archives, Province of Manitoba, Saskatchewan Archives Board, the City of Ottawa, City of London(UK), State of Alaska, the Historic New Orleans Collection Manuscripts Division, Rhode Island Historical Society, Historic New England, Ford Motor Company, and Center for Creative Photography. See the www.MINISISinc.com web site for demonstrations.

Unique Features

  • Multi-hierarchical display and manipulation of branches across levels and record groups
  • Customizable
  • Covers all aspects of Archival Automation including:
    • Accessions
    • Space Audit/mgt.
    • Appraisals
    • Processing
    • Description
    • Authorities
    • Client Registration
    • Order/tracking/request processes
    • Reproduction management/DAMS
    • Conservation/Treatment
    • Enquiries/Repository Mgt.
    • Vital Statistics
    • Media management from image, text, video   and audio and compliance with z39.87, and,
    • Many reports including automatic      creation of Finding Aids, linking/display of media files and EAD and MARC Import and Export.

Support for Importing/ Exporting Metadata

Exports MARC


Exports EAD

Yes: “MINISIS also ensured that the application is EAD compliant for data transfer.”

Exports Dublin Core


Exports MODS


Exports METS


Exports MADS

Yes, many of American clients have the XML map.

Batch Exports EAD


Batch Exports MARC


Batch Export Tab Delimited Files


Imports EAD


Imports MARC


Imports Tab Delimited Files/ CSV


Imports Digital Image Files


Import Accession Data


Batch Import EAD


Batch Import MARC


Batch Import CSV


Collection Management Features





Create Deeds of Gift


Prioritize Processing Order


Track Donors


Project Management

MINISIS does provide an event handler tool that can be implemented to direct project activities if that is desired.

Record Condition


Manage Locations


Manage Restricted Materials


Manage Rights


Manage Loans & Exhibits




Reference support

Yes: “Connectivity to other modules such as client registration, reproduction ordering and tracking and enquiries management.”

Generate Reports

Yes.  Two report generators are included in the MINISIS toolkit to allow both technical and non-technical personnel to build reports.

Track Repository Statistics


Resource Description

Authority Control


Controlled vocabulary

Yes.  Clients can determine and set any vocabulary for fields, validation tables and authorities at their will.

Compliance to Archival Standards

Yes: “ISAD(G), RAD and EAD compliant”

Data Validation


Templating/ Default Fields


Support for Digital Media

Yes: “Images database; Multimedia management including digital images, maps, photographs videos with supporting text”


Yes: UTF-8 support; supports translation of user interface; support for Latin-based languages, Chinese & Arabic

Flexibility of Data Model

Yes: “For instance, M2A has been designed to allow flexibility in the level of description that is applied. The Archives of Ontario employs the “series” as the highest level of arrangement for government records. Whereas for private or non-government records like that in New Orleans or Rhode Island or our European clients – they engage the fonds or collection level as the highest level of arrangement. Key to this flexible approach is that M2A enables the user to decide the most appropriate level of classification to be applied. The M2A and MINISIS toolkit encourages the user to adapt the application to meet their specific needs.”  The entire system can be modified to fit and add in any features, functions and processes required.

Item-level Description


Support for hierarchical description

Yes: “In-built hierarchical structures to handle multilevel description”

Dynamically generate EAD finding aids


Publish finding aids online


Administrative Functions

User Permissions

Yes: user profiles

Support for Harvesting/ Syndication

Yes: OAI

Customization/ Configuration

Yes: “100% customization of the application through the use of the SMA toolkit”

Spell Check


Bug Reporting


Interoperability with Digital Repository Systems

Yes.  Depends on the product, but most products can be linked via ODBC, XML or similar protocols and tools.

User Interface

Web Publishing





Yes: Web enabled searching over all databases, including federated searching

Advanced Search




Built-in Help


Link to Images & Other Files


Easy Data Entry


Other Features

Yes.  In addition to the modules listed earlier, MINISIS comes with a complete SMA toolkit that allows for changing everything from indexing to screens to reports for instance. Also, the complete web interface (called “MINISIS Web Interface” or MWI for short), allows users to set up and share/restrict data or types of interfaces via the M2A.  Also, MINISIS provides a product called “MINT” which integrates archival, museum and library applications into one allowing for total management of most materials kept in these organizations through one interface.  

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