Programming language: PHP
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 only
Tags: Archiving And Digital Preservation (DP)    
Latest version: v1.7.9.rc3

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README: Providence version 1.7.16

About CollectiveAccess

CollectiveAccess is a web-based suite of applications providing a framework for management, description, and discovery of complex digital and physical collections in museum, archival, and research contexts. It is comprised of two applications. Providence is the “back-end” cataloging component of CollectiveAccess. It is highly configurable and supports a variety of metadata standards, data types, and media formats. Pawtucket2 is CollectiveAccess' general purpose public-access publishing tool. It provides an easy way to create web sites around data managed with Providence. (You can learn more about Pawtucket2 at https://github.com/collectiveaccess/pawtucket2)

CollectiveAccess is freely available under the open source GNU Public License version 3.

About CollectiveAccess 1.7.16

Version 1.7.16 is a maintenance release with these bug fixes and minor improvements:

  • Fix for issue preventing correct display of relationship types for non-self-relationships (Eg. object-entity relationships)
  • Update vendor libraries to incorporate security fixes
  • Fix issue where detection of PDFs using Zend_PDF library option would throw a fatal error
  • Revert default path for GraphicsMagick to typical Linux path
  • Resolve issue where adding list items to the place_hierarchies list would cause a fatal error

Note that this version is not yet compatible with PHP version 8. Please use versions 7.3 or 7.4.


First make sure your server meets all of the requirements. Then follow the installation instructions.

Updating from a previous version

NOTE: The update process is relatively safe and rarely, if ever, causes data loss. That said BACKUP YOUR EXISTING DATABASE AND CONFIGURATION prior to updating. You almost certainly will not need the backup, but if you do you'll be glad it's there.

To update, decompress the CollectiveAccess Providence 1.7.16 tar.gz or zip file and replace the files in your existing installation with those in the update. Take care to preserve your media directory (media/), local configuration directory (app/conf/local/), any local print templates (app/printTemplates/) and your setup.php file.

If you are updating from a version prior to 1.7, you must recreate your existing setup.php as the format has changed. Rename the existing setup.php to setup.php-old and copy the version 1.7.16 setup.php template in setup.php-dist to setup.php. Edit this file with your database login information, system name and other basic settings. You can reuse the settings in your existing setup.php file as-is. Only the format of setup.php has changed. If you are updating from version 1.7.x you do not need to change your setup.php file.

Once the updated files are in place navigate in your web browser to the login screen. You will see this message:

Your database is out-of-date. Please install all schema migrations starting with migration #xxx. Click here to automatically apply the required updates.

The migration number may vary depending upon the version you're upgrading from. Click on the here link to begin the database update process.

Version 1.7 introduced zoomable page media for multipage documents such as PDFs, Microsoft Word or Powerpoint. Systems migrated from pre-1.7 versions of CollectiveAccess will not have these zoomable media versions available causing the built-in document viewer to fail. If your system includes multipage documents you should regenerate the media using the command-line caUtils utility in support/bin. The command to run (assuming your current working directory is support/) is:

bin/caUtils reprocess-media 

Be sure to run it as a user that has write permissions on all media. You do not need to reprocess media if you are updating from a 1.7.x system.

Installing development versions

The latest development version is always available in the develop branch (https://github.com/collectiveaccess/providence/tree/develop). Other feature-specific development versions are in branches prefixed with dev/. To install a development branch follow these steps:

  1. clone this repository into the location where you wish it to run using git clone https://github.com/collectiveaccess/providence.
  2. by default, the newly cloned repository will use the main branch, which contains code for the current release. Choose the develop branch by running from within the cloned repository git checkout develop.
  3. install the PHP package manager Composer if you do not already have it installed on your server.
  4. run composer from the root of the cloned repository with composer.phar install. This will download and install all required 3rd party software libraries.
  5. follow the release version installation instructions to complete the installation.

Useful Links

To report issues please use GitHub issues.

Other modules

Pawtucket2: https://github.com/collectiveaccess/pawtucket2 (The public access front-end application for Providence)

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the Collective Access: Providence README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.