We wanted to alert you to an upcoming change in the way the ArchivesSpace application is deployed. This change will not be noticeable to end users of the application, but it will affect those that install and maintain it for users. 

Background

ArchivesSpace uses Solr for its search platform. Since its original release in 2013, ArchivesSpace has used a version of Solr that can be embedded into the application so that Solr is installed and configured by default when ArchivesSpace is installed. Though most ArchivesSpace deployments opt for this embedded version of Solr, some sites choose to use an external deployment of Solr and maintain it separately from ArchivesSpace.

In its own upgrades over the years, Solr made some changes so that it can no longer be embedded. While we have stayed on the highest embeddable version of Solr (v4.10.4) for years, this version is now old and unsupported by its maintainers, and it is no longer sustainable for us to use it in new releases. In order to maintain and improve this critical piece of ArchivesSpace infrastructure, we need to upgrade Solr. In the process we will need to make the transition to using external Solr only.

What does this mean for me?

Once we make this change, if you are responsible for deploying ArchivesSpace at your institution, you will need to download and install Solr and use ArchivesSpace’s supplied Solr configuration to create the Solr index. This will be in addition to managing your own MySQL database. Solr will no longer be distributed with ArchivesSpace and ArchivesSpace will no longer work out-of-the-box without an external Solr deployment. ArchivesSpace will need to be fully re-indexed when this transition occurs.

If you are not the person responsible for deploying ArchivesSpace at your institution, this change will not directly affect you, though it will be important to make sure the person responsible for deploying your ArchivesSpace is aware of the change.

Will you have strict requirements for how to deploy Solr?

Like with MySQL, the ArchivesSpace team does not intend to be opinionated about how Solr is deployed externally. System administrators will be able to use whatever method they prefer to install Solr. For those who require more guidance, however, we will have instructions for using a standalone Solr installation along with specific ArchivesSpace Solr configuration files. These will be in addition to the standard documentation provided by Solr (https://solr.apache.org/guide/8_9/installing-solr.html).

When will this happen?

We expect to make the transition to external Solr with the release on the roadmap that is planned for December 2021. Even so, older versions of ArchivesSpace will continue to work with the embedded Solr that was included with them at the time of their release.

How can I learn more?

We will be providing a number of community education opportunities along with technical documentation beginning later this fall to help people understand what they will need to do to make the changes. These may include webinars, recorded tutorials, Q&A sessions for technical staff, and online documentation. All of these resources will be publicly available to members and non-members. In addition, ArchivesSpace members will be able to access technical support as questions arise as a benefit of their membership.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we continue to work to improve ArchivesSpace for everyone. We look forward to working with you to facilitate this important transition. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or feedback.

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