Our client’s long and colorful history dates back to the 1940s, when the company’s founder opened his first restaurant. Through the years, the company remained a family business with a rich, unique culture. Recently, the family realized that the company’s heritage could be lost if they didn’t take proactive measures to preserve it, but they had no experience with corporate archiving and didn’t know where to start. They contacted Optimity Advisors for assistance to tap our librarian and archivist background, as well as our extensive experience setting up information systems of record.



Archiving artifacts from more than half a century of business

The 18-month project began with a discovery phase, during which Optimity conducted thorough stakeholder interviews to understand the project’s business, information technology and security requirements. What kind of artifacts needed to be archived? Where were they now? What condition were they in? How would they be transported to the collection? Answers to these questions and many more were key to designing and implementing the new archiving system and program.

For this corporate archive, Optimity Advisors documented the intensive processes of collecting physical and digital artifacts, creating their records, tagging them with metadata, and storing them in a physical or digital collection.

We built out the required metadata models, taxonomies, user roles and user profiles, security restrictions, rights considerations and governance structure. Armed with these requirements, Optimity Advisors facilitated a vendor selection process that included an RFP, vendor demonstrations, and rigorous vendor finalist reviews.

Finally, we helped project manage the configuration of the metadata fields, user roles, taxonomic classifications, and security restrictions associated with protecting historical artifacts. Once the system was implemented, we helped launch it with calls for artifacts, “collection days” and initial asset record creation and storage.



A living legacy

During the project, we loaded about 1,500 digital and physical artifact records into the system. Each record represents an item documented and safely stored in the company’s physical archive or Digital Asset Management system. Since then, the client has continued to develop the metadata model and has created records for thousands more artifacts.

The collection’s physical artifacts provide an especially tangible connection to the past and tell a story of the company’s culture and growth through the years. The archive includes paper hats, staff uniforms, kids’ meal giveaways, plush toys, oral histories, personal mementos such as books, photos and food stamps from WWII and a nearly complete assortment of the branded apparel given monthly to store operators.

Now the client can provide historians, researchers and enthusiasts an abundance of artifacts that capture the family’s legacy and their company’s unique culture. Importantly, they are empowered to add more items to the archive when valuable artifacts are discovered, ensuring that the company’s history will remain vibrant and comprehensive over time. They also have a metadata model surrounding some of their historical dates, places, people and concepts to contribute to a larger enterprise metadata strategy as they look forward to digitally transformative initiatives.