The Duke Data Accessioner was built out of the need for a simple GUI interface to allow technical services staff an easy way of migrating data off disks and onto a file server for basic preservation, further appraisal, arrangement, and description. It also provides a way to integrate common metadata tools at the time of migration rather than after the fact.

With a simplified interface and being written in Java, it is intended to be easily adopted by smaller institutions with little or no IT staff support. Existing tools fulfill different parts of the idea but never completed it. (National Library of Australia system is another option that recently came to light and appears to be very good, although it has higher infrastructure requirements.)

The very first version of the tool was written in the course of a week in early 2008 and, although usable, it was more of a proof-of-concept. For nearly a year there was no active development except to tune the metadata output and fix some bugs. In January 2009 the Data Accessioner was revisited with a revised architecture. Also, the metadata tool adapters and the custom metadata manager where extracted to be used as plugins. Since 2013, maintenance of the tool has moved outside the purview of Duke University, hence renaming the tool the Data Accessioner.

The most recent versions (0.3.1 and 1.0.0-beta) were made possible by the POWRR Project. The application and documentation can be found on the new Data Accessioner website.