Tel:  020 8309 5445

Search the site:

Family Archives

DRYAD Clients

Please see below a selection of our clients:
Imperial College London, Chartered Insurance Institute, University of West London, Royal Asiatic Society, Cameron MacIntosh, Fortnum & Mason, Royal Warrant Holders Association, Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Royal Society of Arts, Explore York Libraries and Archives, Scottish Rural College, and Catawba Indian Nation.
To receive further information, or to request a meeting, please complete the enquiry form on our Contact Us page.


Scottish Rural College (SRUC) was established in 2012 when the Scottish Agricultural College was merged with Barony, Elmwood and Oatridge colleges. The college’s roots go back over 100 years and it consists of a number of campuses across Scotland. The college has an extensive archive of data relating to its historic institutions and were looking for the optimal solution to manage, host and present this data.

At the point at which they approached Max, SRUC were using AtoM version 2.3.1 to house their archived materials. They were ideally looking for a solution which allowed them to upgrade to the latest tested version of AtoM, as well as providing secure hosting. They additionally wanted their existing catalogue held in the older version of AtoM to be migrated to the new installation.

Max’s DRYAD Archive Management service provides a raft of features designed to provide a secure, intuitive archive management solution. In addition to the AtoM version upgrade to 2.6.2 which SRUC required, Max were able to offer hosting on a secure, private and seperate UK based server. Max were also able to provide ongoing AtoM maintenance including scheduled upgrades, initial training and user guides for the core team at SRUC, new release training, ongoing support and future proofing of AtoM in the form of access to guidance and knowledge-sharing.

As with all Max projects, communication was at the heart of the process. A schedule was designed to allow for the completion of the project in a timely manner and weekly Zoom meetings were arranged to update SRUC on progress as well as to take on board feedback. Additionally, staff working on the project communicated regularly via email ensuring that details could be dealt with on the spot rather than having to be addressed during formal meetings.

Max possess a wealth of experience working with AtoM and the IT department have tried and tested procedures in place to carry out AtoM upgrades. We were therefore able to carry out the upgrade quickly and efficiently, ensuring that the new installation was working as desired and that all data was backed up before migrating existing data from SRUC’s existing AtoM installation to the new one.

Secure hosting on a separate, UK-based server is an integral part of the DRYAD service and again, Max’s IT department were able to carry out this aspect of the project quickly and efficiently. Prior to moving to a new host, all data was backed up and stored in line with Max’s protocols and the process was completed quickly. In addition, Max backs up data at regular intervals in order to mitigate against any ‘worst case scenario’ events and similar mitigation procedures are enacted by our hosting provider.

Max were able to again leverage their skills and experience working with AtoM to provide SRUC with an intuitive, user-friendly, branded user interface for AtoM which dovetailed visually with SRUC’s main website whilst at the same time retaining all of AtoM’s functionality.

As the project drew to a close Max provided initial AtoM training to the core team at SRUC which included the provision of user guides and remain on hand to maintain AtoM, including implementing scheduled upgrades to new releases from Artefactual and offering ongoing support.

View the SRUC AtoM Installation

Learn more about DRYAD

To discuss DRYAD or any of Max’s services please feel free to telephone us on 020 8309 5445 or to contact us via our contact page.


Max are delighted to announce the completion of a new bespoke AtoM / DRYAD installation for Explore York Libraries and Archives (EYLA). The completed application allows extensive, branded, user-friendly access to the organisation’s archived materials including publicly available records for City of York Council as well as community collections created by other local organisations.

EYLA’s priority when embarking on this project was to create a better front-end user experience than was provided by their existing CALM system and after examining a number of options, felt that AtoM, an ISADG standards compliant, non-proprietary, open-source Archive Management System created by Artefactual Systems provided the optimal solution for their own use case.

Their existing data comprised nearly 160,000 catalogue entries accumulated since 2012 and included data held in customised as well as standard fields. Unlike AtoM, which stores data in a single database, CALM uses a series of linked databases and as a result, the migration process can be complex and requires experience and in-depth knowledge of both systems in order to ensure that all data is migrated correctly.

Max’s DRYAD Archive Management service leverages AtoM and has been built to take advantage of AtoM’s innate flexibility to provide a solution tailored to meet every client’s individual use case. One of the packages which comprises DRYAD is ‘Crosswalker’ a tool developed by Max specifically to facilitate migration of data from CALM to AtoM and in the event, ‘Crosswalker’ was integral to this migration process, helping ensure that a complex challenge was completed in a timely manner and with minimal fuss.

DRYAD additionally offers a secure hosting service on a private and separate UK based server and EYLA were happy to utilise this service.

The process was further aided by the solid working relationship which developed between EYLA and Max meaning that communication was easy and that any issues were dealt with quickly and effectively. Whilst formal communication was conducted via weekly Zoom meetings where progress was charted and updates given, the rapport built was such that staff working for both organisations felt comfortable emailing each other on an as-and-when basis, confident in the knowledge that questions would be answered and relevant support given.

Central to the DRYAD service is its customizability. EYLA’s goal at the start of the project was to create an intuitive and visually pleasing front end experience for their users. Max’s experience customising AtoM both as part of a WordPress website or as a standalone application meant that we were able to deliver a front end which incorporated EYLA’s logo and adhered to their branding guidelines.

View the EYLA AtoM Installation

Learn more about DRYAD

To discuss DRYAD or any of Max’s services please feel free to telephone us on 020 8309 5445 or to contact us via our contact page.

DRYAD: AtoM / WordPress Hybrid Website with Calm Migration

The website Max created for London South Bank University, represents a successful coming together of two technologies. The first of these is WordPress, a tried and tested open source content management system, used in close to half a billion websites worldwide. Famous names who use WordPress include the New York Times, Microsoft, Sony and many others. WordPress is hugely popular amongst small to medium sized enterprises as well as large organisations with global reach and is the ideal platform for creating archival websites. WordPress’s flexibility and ease-of-use mean that the basic tasks associated with maintaining a website such as adding and deleting pages, editing content like text and images, adding new menu items and keeping the site up-to-date and secure can be taken on by individuals with little or no coding experience with minimal training.

The second technology used is AtoM – an ISADG standards-compliant, open source Archive Management System created by Artefactual Systems. AtoM is user friendly and easily navigable and its General Public License means that any data stored within the system will never be ‘locked in’ as can be the case with proprietary commercial Archive Management Systems. Max have a wealth of experience developing bespoke installations of AtoM for a wide range of customers with differing requirements and this was applied when bringing together these two technologies.

LSBU wanted to make their archive more accessible, not only to researchers and students but also to the general public. Whilst AtoM in and of itself is highly flexible system and allows for the development of a sophisticated and user friendly user interface, it was felt that embedding AtoM within a WordPress installation would open up the potential of the site to include news pages, blogs and other features not normally associated with an Archive Management System.

Max started by creating a branded WordPress installation for LSBU. The installation included a news section with a landing page including a paginated list of post excerpts with links to individual articles. At the same time, a similarly structured section celebrating the Centenary of Women in Engineering in the LSBU was created, allowing the head Archivist, Ruth MacLeod, to add new posts on an ongoing basis. Additional pages were created to provide context to the archive, including a detailed explanation of how to use AtoM to perform archival searches. Finally, a secure contact form was created to allow archive specific enquiries to be made.

The AtoM installation was carried out by Max’s experienced team and involved migrating LSBU’s existing 18 collections from a Calm database into AtoM in EAD/XML format. Max also exported LSBU’s collection of authority records.

The final piece in the jigsaw was to correctly embed the AtoM installation within the framework provided by WordPress. This involved allowing programming the two systems to send and receive information to and from each other to ensure that the hybrid system worked correctly. This was carried out in good time by Max’s technical team and after a period of rigorous testing along with training for LSBU staff, the site was put live.

Please click on the screenshots to see larger images. Alternatively, to get more ‘hands on’ with the system, please visit the site at:

To discuss DRYAD, SOTERIA or any of Max’s services please feel free to telephone us on 020 8309 5445 or to contact us via our contact page.

SOTERIA / DRYAD: Bespoke, Branded AtoM Installation with Calm Migration

The SOTERIA / DRYAD installation Max carried out for the Royal Society of Arts is an example of how AtoM can be styled to meet a customer’s organisational branded requirements. It also demonstrates how Max’s SOTERIA digital preservation service dovetails with DRYAD to provide a joined-up digital preservation / ongoing archive management solution.

The Royal Society of Arts needed to migrate their existing archive collection which was, at that point stored in a Calm database, to AtoM, the open source, Archive Management System provided by Artefactual Systems which forms the backbone of Max Communications DRYAD service. In addition, they wished to future proof their collection by digitally preserving it and Max’s SOTERIA and DRYAD packages were selected as the best way to achieve the desired outcome.

When the project began, RSA were undergoing an extensive rebranding exercise and the installation carried out by Max needed to adhere to the strict branding guidelines supplied by the organisation’s marketing department.

Max’s SOTERIA service uses ‘Archivematica’ an open source software package by Artefactual Systems which provides a comprehensive digital preservation and storage service. In addition to the ingestion, validation, organising and cataloguing of content, the SOTERIA package includes the storage of archived content on LTO tape and on the cloud as well as numerous other features all of which would help address the future proofing issues highlighted by the RSA.

The second service, ‘DRYAD’, leverages Artefactual’s ‘AtoM’ package and provides a highly customised, branded, web based interface for access and retrieval of stored data. DRYAD additionally makes use of Max’s own ‘Crosswalker’ tool to facilitate and expedite data migration. Crosswalker is able to take data from a variety of sources and create a single, consolidated, ISADG compliant .csv file which can then be seamlessly ingested by AtoM thus populating the archive with minimal fuss.

Although both Archivematica and AtoM require a degree of extra customisation and development for them to really shine, both are open source software packages and one of the notable effects of this is that client costs are kept low.

After an initial consultation with RSA to understand their requirements along with a thorough analysis of their existing systems and data structure had been undertaken, Max’s technical team got to work exporting and cleansing Calm data whilst in XML format, converting it to ISADG compliant csv format and ingesting the data into Archivematica for digital preservation and storage. Max’s experience and technical know-how meant that this process was carried out efficiently and competently and within the agreed time frame.

Archivematica and AtoM are designed to work together. As part of the digital preservation process, Archivematica produces Archival Information Packages (AIPs) for digital storage and Dissemination Information Packages (DIPs) for dissemination into other packages. The final stage of this process involved populating AtoM by importing the DIPs produced by Archivematica and matching these up to the digital objects which had been imported separately.

Whilst this process was underway, RSA were undergoing a rebranding exercise. Max were able to style the AtoM User Interface to meet RSA’s branding guidelines ensuring that a full bespoke solution was implemented which met all of RSA’s targets.

Please click on the screenshots to see larger images. Alternatively, to get more ‘hands on’ with the system, please visit the site at:

To discuss SOTERIA, DRYAD or any of Max’s services please feel free to telephone us on 020 8309 5445 or to contact us via our contact page.

Calm to AtoM Migration Process

As many of our projects involve migrating data from existing Calm databases to AtoM a closer examination of the processes involved can be useful from a user’s perspective.

  • 1. The initial stage is to export existing data stored in Calm’s database as XML. This allows us to sidestep any issues associated with exporting directly in CSV format.
  • 2. Only then is the data converted into CSV format and imported into Excel.
  • 3. At this point we are able clean up the data. Many archives have evolved over time under the direction of a succession of archivists. On occasions the archiving methodology has not been consistent from one to another. Calm does not enforce archival standards and so this process may involve fixing any breaks in the hierarchy, deleting duplicates, combining columns under ISADG compliant headings.
  • 4. Next, Max’s in house Crosswalker tool is utilised to automate and speed up ingestion into AtoM.
  • 5. In the event that digital preservation is being carried out concurrently, images are imported into AtoM from Archivematica.

    Please click on the screenshots to see larger images.

To discuss SOTERIA, DRYAD or any of Max’s services please feel free to telephone us on 020 8309 5445 or to contact us via our contact page.