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The Class Request Tool (CRT) is an open source application that welcomes instructors to make online requests for assistance, space, and time to teach with archives and special collections repositories. The CRT works to centralize the management of class requests and improve patron access by providing infrastructure necessary to support increasing demand for on-site teaching and learning activities within a single repository site or across multiple special collections and archives.

The Class Request Tool:

Interacts with Atlas Systems' Aeon circulation system for special collections, significantly reducing data entry needs

Handles booking classes from start to finish, keeping a traceable record of interactions

  • Accepts requests via authenticated form
  • Automatically routes requests to relevant teaching staff and administrators
  • Handles scheduling of classes
    • Supports variety of scheduling options:
      • Single session classes,
      • Multi-section classes, and
      • Multiple session classes
      • Provides dynamic dashboard for staff to see and sort all upcoming classes at a repository
      • Accepts notes from instructors and library staff on class details and maintains them in a shared environment
      • Sends out post-class assessment to instructors (optional) and automatically shares feedback with staff

 Collects data for assessment and reporting

  • Natively creates reports on key metrics
  • Allows for download of class request data in .csv
  • Allows for download of assessment data in .csv

Supports library and archives staff in customizing sites without developer intervention, through Admin and Superadmin functionality

  • Customize site: enter welcome text, select images, taglines, captions and colors
  • Add repositories, calendars, rooms, staff services, technologies, policies, procedures, and users
  • Manage automated notifications
  • Easily add custom text to automated notifications
  • Customize affiliate options for focused reporting on  use of services

 Supports management of multiple repositories

  • Patrons can request a class at a specific repository, or defer that decision to administrators
  • Individual portal pages allow for per-repository display customization
  • Repositories can define and display individualized policies
  • Supports collaborative class activities between various repositories in the site



Technical development notes, issues log, system requirements, application set-up steps, and code are available and kept up-to-date on GitHub.

Staff and Administrator Documentation is available in the form of a User's Guide.

Questions, reports of issues, and general inquires are welcomed via our feedback form.


The Class Request Tool was developed with the generous support of the Arcadia Fund, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Harvard Library Lab, Harvard Library Technology Services, and Houghton Library. Initial work on the CRT began with support of funding in October 2012 by the Harvard Library Lab. It was further supported in 2014 through the Library Lab Showcase Year and the Harvard Scaling Innovation Initiative

Project Team:

Bobbi Fox (Harvard Library Technology Services), Emilie Hardman (Houghton Library), Rachel Howarth (Houghton Library), Dave Mayo (Harvard Library Technology Services) and Anita Patel (Berkman Center for Internet & Society)


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