Section 3: Best practices:
István KENYERES (Budapest/HU) “The Hungarian Archives Portal: A Common Solution for Digitized Archival Material and Databases”
Budapest City Archives established the Archive Portal of Hungarian Self-governing Archives (http://www.archivportal.hu) by the commission of the former Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture in 2009. The main goal of the project was to launch a common solution for publishing of digitized archive material and databases. During the project we created and published on the Internet 6 different databases with the same frame system by the attendance of 21 Hungarian Archives.
• Complex (Summarized) database: this database contains integrated datas of individual data-bases (meta databases) prepared by Archives. More than 150.000 digitalized objects belong to approx. 800.000 records (e.g. plans, maps, certificates and documents).
• Inventory of fonds and subfonds contains the basic data of more than 30.000 fonds and 24.000 subfonds of 17 Archives.
• Database of the Documents of MDP/MSZMP Party (Working People’s Party (MDP) and the Hungarian Social Workers’ Party (MSZMP) database: this database consists reports from the leader bodies of state party digitalized by 7 county Archives. Currently more than 400.000 pages of the documents are available in the database, in searchable pdf format.
• Database of Cadastral maps. There are cadastral maps and maps of the second military sur-vey from the 1850’s in the database, in georeferred version. Nearly 120.000 georeferenced settle-ments’ maps are put together on county level and they are presented with self-developed, free-download client software. The georeferenced maps of the second military survey (1850) are also available in the system. We established a separate database with sett-lement names based on the best historical gazetteer. Since this gazetteer is completed with the geocodes of the set-tlements we could connect a record of settlements to the maps. The se-cond military survey’s maps are available in synchronized version with Google Map.
• Database of Archival publications. Approx. 600.000 pages of publications are available from 25 Archives in searchable pdf format.
• Database of bourgeois, noblemen and office-bearers. This database contains personal basic data of 35.000 persons (e.g. the bourgeois of Buda and Pest free royal cities, noblemen of Zala county, office-bearers of the Zala county and Óbuda).
Each database has its own search engine and indexes. There are very sophisticated searching possibilities using different operators. A separate index belongs to each search field which shows the whole content of the field. There is a possibility to search in the index as well. The unified search engine on these databases enables the simultaneous and easy search in all of them. Practically, in the unified search there is only one field which contains all elements of all databases and a general index is also available. Moreover, in the unified search there is a possi-bility to filter the type of sources, databases, archives or the records having digitized objects.
Monika PEKOVÁ (Bratislava/SK) “Archival heritage in Slovakian State Archives and its presentation on Internet”
Archives, access to archives, information exchange, digitization, website
A massive introduction of information technology in every field of human activities leads to a transition to information society. Reality of these formerly only theoretical and philosophical considerations is presented nowadays by Internet technology and new Information and Com-munication Technology (ICT) services in general. These possibilities create an infrastructure for a global information exchange and enable creation and using of information sources wher-ever it is and to anybody who has an access to Internet. The Internet enlarged both possibilities positive but also negative of using the information. As every tool – also the Internet can be used and misused as well.
The most important influence of information systems on archives is created by the following facts:
– possible digitization of different types of classical documents (text, image, sound),
– formation of hypertext, multimedial and hypermedial (www) documents,
– standardization of digitized documents and languages to organize character forms of www documents (SGML, HTML, etc.),
– standardization of exchange, communication and query protocols,
– possibilities of displaying and accessing of different information sources containing infor-mation about documents and also full documents,
– possibilities of interconnection different information sources and users wherever in the world.
However, the ICT also brings a totally new aspect and quality to archival field – digitally born records of all types and forms of which many will become electronic / digital archival documents after a certain period of time. These new media certainly bring urgent needs for chan-ges in methodology and new methodical approach to archival work, which should have an impact also on changes in educational background of new generation of archivists.
The other aspect of this development is necessity of proper technical equipment including appropriate software application. Enormous development in this field which results in more effective and efficient technology providing better rapid tools for users enabling to get more and precise complex information from different fields of interest can be considered as a threat to archives – their technical equipment can become obsolete in very short period of time.
Practical application of these changes in real life therefore will need a lot of effort, energy and financial support in order to improve on-line access to information about archives and then to digital copies of selected archival documents by means of new IT via Internet. The archives´ websites are significant elements of the system.
The paper inform about the structure of state archives in the Slovak Republic and the scope and content of archival heritage offered by presentations via Internet.
Barbara BERSKA (Warszawa/PL) “Educational activities of Polish archives in the web”
Polish State Archives operate in the network subordinated to the General Director of State Archives, whose role is to coordinate all aspects of activities carried out within the archives. In the coming years, one of the priorities set for the archives by the Director is the expansion of educational activities. In order to pursue this objective in the entire network, an educational platform has been put in place on the website of State Archives. The main aim of this project directed at large spectrum of Internet users is to promote the image of the Archives as a net-work of modern institutions that work jointly in order to carry out a social and educational mission. The platform is used for the presentation of documents in a form that allows the largest possible number of users access to information. Schools, colleges and universities constitute a special target group, for whom additional educational materials are published.
Jean-François MOUFFLET (Paris/FR) “Digitization of archives in France”
Nowadays, few French archival institutions have not embarked on high-quality digitization of the most popular and symbolic documents they hold. For almost twenty years a considerable amount of data has been produced by a network componed of national and territorial archival institutions. This presentation, after a previous recall of the background of digitization in France, will deliver an overview of the main achievements: types of documents aimed by dig-itization projects, technical practices and recommendations and exemples of online access and websites.
It will particularly underline the development of online access to digitized archives since 2003, due to the technological progresses, the spread of the Internet society and the strong encour-agement of the French Ministry of Culture which produced technical advices and pro-vided fi-nancial supports for the cultural services.
This policy had consequences on the uses and purposes of the digitization and brought archival institutions to compete with imagination and creativity in the way archives are made ac-cessible. Initially a means to preserve the original documents, digitization now finds its innovation in the adaptation to the needs of the public, who has today the opportunity to enrich the resources offered by the archival institutions. Such practice comes from the philosophy of Web 2.0 and is also promoted by the Ministry of Culture which financially supports « innova-tive digital ser-vices ». The most interesting examples will be presented.
However, the issue of conservation should not be avoided: the archivists, who have mainly thought in terms of data availability, also realize that there is a digital heritage to preserve and that digitization, without the dimension of data preservation, can not be sustainable.
Alfonso SÁNCHEZ MAIRENA (Madrid/ES) “New Goals of PARES (Spanish Archives Web Portal)”
PARES (Portal de Archivos Españoles = Spanish Archives Web Portal: http://pares.mcu.es) is the third generation on the Computerization program of the State Archives managed by the Ministry of Culture. This Web Portal was inaugurated on May 2007 as an integrated platform, not only for the spreading of a working net of twelve archives distributed all around the Spanish geography, but also to provide modules and electronic tools for the standardized work on the Description tasks; also to manage the archival public services; even to support the control and the preservation of the documentary fonds; and specially to serve as the frame where to execute the archival practices developed by the technical community of members of the Spanish State Corps of Archivist.
After of several decades focused on computerization developments, especially since the year 2010 it’s being raised new types of challenges to reinforce the integrated information system responsible of the management of 280 Km of shelves full of documents. Those challenges should be specified about four main goals or action lines, as to provide interoperability with the main archival spreading lines in Europe, as the projects APEnet (European Archives Por-tal) and EUROPEANA – EDL Foundation. But, above all, we have as great challenge to de-velop of an Archival Information System as PARES, so much influenced by the traditional techniques habits and inertias of the archival profession, mostly in an environment as ours, where the His-torical documents has been predominant until now. And this is a moment when the constant changes and adjustment to a changing to the environment where we live, must be focused more to satisfy the necessities of the Archives users.
Because of, once the Computing platform of PARES has been stabilized with several modules to develop the description and control of the fonds; to manage the public archival services; and to serve as Web platform for archival spreading with a large and stable community of clients, now it’s the moment to specify the main action lines or goals to overcome the new challenges, as:
1. Developing of PARES until the Web 2.0 philosophy, where the final information ar-chi-tecture that arrives to the citizen or to the researcher, it must be perfectly useable, satis-fying as possible the external users needs. This adjustment is recommended and it should be a normal practice between the professional communities at the Archives. Also, it will must in-spire the design of new tools ant the suitable of the contents to spread.
2. The convergence with the international working lines involves the necessary transfor-mation of PARES in an open archives system, through the adaptation of the information sys-tem to the model of OAI-PMH (Open Archives-Protocol for Metadata Harvesting).
3. At this moment, the computerization program of the Spanish State Archives has pro-vided a stable platform of work, which will develop according to the rhythms that the techno-logical advances would mark. Until now, it has been more valued the data increasing in the information system by the progressive input of descriptive data bases and of banks of digitized pictures of the documents. It was found the generation of a big volume of archival infor-mation to get more presence at Internet, and to create a customers community. So that, now it’s time to reconsider the traditional working lines in the organization, and we must focus to improve better archival information quality, as in it’s making, as at its spreading. To attend this, it has been necessary to reinforce the efforts in the line of the Standardized archival de-scription works, and it has begun the introduction of the quality process methodology in the State Archives. As a result of this, became an improvement on the organization at the working teams; also the making of new proceedings in base of methodologies obtained from the daily practice, and, in the creation of new rules as the one for Access points to design archival In-dexes and Creators (2010).
4. The development from the traditional services of analogical and digital reprography, generally suppliers of security and diffusion copies, to the modern concept of the Digi-tal Pre-servation Centre, which will provide coverage to the new Electronic Public State Administra-tion in Spain.
The main target consist to provide more social visibility to the Archives world at the frame of the modern Information society, providing cultural quality contents, at the same time that re-vi-talizing the archival profession in the frame of better public quality services demand, and easier to access.
Andreas KRÄNZLE (Einsiedeln/CH)
„Die Reorganisation des Einsiedler Klosterarchivs (nicht nur) im Netz“. – „The Reorganisation of the Einsiedler Klosterarchiv (not only) on the Web”
The Kloster Einsiedeln has been reorganizing its archives completely since 2005 (indexing, preservation, documentation, organization, accessibility, new building etc.).
From the beginning, the website of the Klosterarchiv (http://www.klosterarchiv.ch) was used as communication platform and indexing tool. At the same time, information could be made ac-cessible for research and public use. In the public area of the website, you can find e.g. the Summarien (historical finding aids mainly from the 18th century), as well as five volumes of the Documenta (editions from the 17th century). In total there are about 20 000 pages with exceedingly detailed information on the historical archives. These documents, available only as pictures, already allow answering many requests with a hint to these aids. The charters up to 1525 are digitized and made accessible with an inventory and additional information. The metadata of these charters are uploaded in CEI-format (Charter Encoding Initiative) directly to the monasterium-platform (http://www.monasterium.net) so that the workload for updates is re-duced to a minimum. Next year the indexing of charters with an inventory will be continued up to the year 1600. Selected documents can be browsed on the website. At any time metadata can be exported (keyword: long-term preservation) to METS (Metadata Encoding & Trans-mission Standard) so that documents can be displayed independently from the website and in different environments (e.g. DFG-Viewer). In the picture archive, users can participate in indexing of the material. They can post comments and help indentifying the pictures. In this way, numerous pictures have already been recognized. The entire archives are made accessible through the internal area of the website in an ISAD(G) conform database. Hence, people from various places (Einsiedeln, Schwyz, Zürich) can work together on the project. Moreover, no additional costs for infrastructure (server, additional PCs etc.) arise. For the documentation of the project the web is also used. For example, the guidelines for indexing are designed in a Wiki. In this way, collaborators always have access to the most current version.
Silvia GSTREIN (Innsbruck/AT) „Digitisation on demand: opportunities and challen-ges“
Following the European Commissions’ digital strategy European libraries have been meticulously digitising parts of their cultural heritage. At the same time they have been witnessing an increasing demand from researchers, readers and users for exploitation of digital resources, especially access to historical books „here and now“. This is exactly where the eBooks-on-Demand (EOD) network starts from, providing a trans-European digital document delivery service for end-users from all over the world. Currently the EOD network comprises over 30 libraries from 12 European countries. Since 2007 several thousand PDF eBooks have been gen-erated, delivered to users from over 30 countries worldwide and subsequently made available to the public through the repositories of the participating libraries. User reactions have been very encouraging so far and thus more and more libraries are now thinking of offering the service, too.
The starting point is the online catalogue of any participating library. There, the EOD button is placed with all items available for digitisation. At the moment, these are books fulfilling the following criteria: (1) items not yet digitised, and (2) public domain books. Any user inte-rested in a certain book tagged with the EOD button simply needs to click on this button.
Of course, such an additional library service can’t be maintained within the context of usual (mass) digitisation only, but needs extra resources for management and administration, e.g. order management, customer communication, payment procedures and so on. Therefore, a structure allowing for efficient processing of orders has been designed. At the end a central-decentral service network has been implemented, where some processes such as Optical Char-acter Recognition (OCR) of scanned images or online payment of completed orders are hosted centrally. Other services – such as scanning itself – are carried out de-centrally at the participat-ing libraries.
At the moment attempts are being made to also include archives and other cultural institutions into the network. The aim is to provide digitisation on demand far beyond the world of books in the narrow sense. As a first step, the St. Pölten Diocese Archive (Austria) has been starting to implement the service in 2010. The conference talk tries to discuss the opportunities and challenges of digitisation on demand especially in the context of archival institutions after having given an overview of the current service.
György RÁCZ (Budapest/HU) “Medieval Hungary online – The Hungarian State Ar-chives´ online portal on medieval charters”
The newest service of the National Archives of Hungary made the remained archival material of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom accessible on the Internet, irrespectively of time and space. In the past few years, digital image of more than 108 thousand records preserved in the NAH and several thousand records preserved in other Hungarian institutions were added to databases established in the past decades. The information system is suitable to manage in a unified structure those connected sources that were scattered through the storms of history and are still preserved in different places. The collection of charters is not only the most sig-nificant base of sources deriving from medieval Hungary, the whole Carpathian Basin, but it provides invaluable data relating to the medieval history of Balkan countries, mainly Romania, Serbia and Bosnia. As opposed to the traditional search techniques with regard to the stu-dy of the Middle Ages, the portal provides an infinitely faster and more reliable access to data and immediate access to the image of charters, thus it sharply increases the effectiveness of historical researches.
The database is available on the website of the NAH under menu item “Databases” (http://www.mol.gov.hu), or directly under http://mol.arcanum.hu/dldf. The search is avai-lable in Hungarian and English, and is aided by a Hungarian–English glossary for certain con-tents of high priority. The database was established gradually from the 1980’s on the basis of Iván Borsa’s conception, which was published in 1971. As the first information technology service of the NAH the institution had to face all the problems of database construction and digitalization in the course of the 40-year-long project. The root cause of the establishment was that the planned, systematic exploration and publication of medieval documents of the Hungarian Kingdom could not be realized until the second half of the 20th century. In the second half of the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, the numerous publications including the re-mained charters involved only an insignificant number of the documents. Due to the absence of the staff, financial resources and science policy required to publish the sources- whether as abstract or as full text – after 1945, the NAH chose the computer-aided data processing in connec-tion with archival finding aids as a way of improving efficiently the conditions of medievalism in a short time. The presentation demonstrates its conception and the special features of the data contents.
Francesca KLEIN (Firenze/IT) “Il progetto Diplomatico dell’Archivio di Stato di Firenze e i suoi sviluppi nel web” – “The Diplomatico project of the State Archives in Florence and its further developments on the web”
The Diplomatico project of the State Archives in Florence has been digitised between 1998 and 2002 and is available online since 2008. The project aims at giving an easier access to the documents, as well as at a better preservation. It is part of a huge digitising initiative running in Italy since the 1990s, a programme that had many interesting and sometimes also pionee-ring aspects in the European panorama.
From a methodological point of view, the Diplomatico project does not follow the predomi-nant criteria of Italian digitising initiatives that aim mostly at the creation of a sort of ”virtual ar-chives”, as a result of the aggregation of digital versions of documents, papers and collecti-ons.
Due to the impossibility of reproducing completely, in the Diplomatico project (140.000 items. dating ca. from the VIII. to the XIX. cent.) we choose to follow the chronological order of the documents and not to select single documents from different periods. Until now 85.000 docu-ments, covering the period from VIII. to the end of XIV. cent., have been digitized. The digital version of Diplomatico is connected to the “metadata” of the archival description and to the reproduction of ancient manuscript inventories with briefs. These choices allow us to reach a satisfying level of integration between the resources and the outcomes, above all the given in-formation.
The Diplomatico online is mainly used by researchers and professors for educational purposes all over the world. Archives are undergoing deep changes because of the spread of new tech-nologies, reorienting also to new forms of communication and opening to a “new” public, which comprises the majority of users of archives on the web.
In our opinion, this media that allows communicating the contents of Diplomatico to a “new”, less academic public, with various social and cultural backgrounds, is much more useful than a virtual archive. In fact, we are experimenting on the implementation of the website of the State Archives, adding applications for didactic purpose, reusing the digital contents and the Diplomatico itself, as special tours for schoolchildren.
Jitka KŘEČKOVÁ (Praha/CZ) “Czech National Archives´ charters on http://Monasteri-um.Net”
The National Archives in Prague has been participating in the international project Monasterium, founded in Lower Austria in 2002, since 2005 and consequently by degrees, further Czech state archives, ecclesiastic institutions and Czech universities are being linked to the project. The National Archives, as the biggest one in the Czech Republic, has taken hold of duty to co-ordination of the group activities.
Nowadays, beside the National Archives charters, the ones from Moravian Provincial Archi-ves in Brno, regional state archives in Trebon and Pilsen, followed by Charles University Ar-chives and Cistercians monastery in Upper Brod, have been made accessible to collect in da-tabase. The process of digitalisation of above mentioned documents even those coming from other archives groups is being in progress in the Czech Republic now.
In 2008, the National Archives was affiliated as a member of the association named ICARus (International Centre for Archival Research), constituted on the base of paper declaration of the involved archives groups and institutions from the countries participating in the present project Monasterium.
The documents of the National Archives first department archives holdings are gradually ma-de accessible on website address: www. http://monasterium.net. Moreover the further National Ar-chives departments documents are to be digitized and put into the database in future.
Nowadays, in 2010, about 19200 documents from the National Archives most valuable ar-chives groups have been digitized.
More than a half of digitalised documents come from religious Catholic central ruled institu-tions archives holdings in the Czech state territory, namely secular or monastic ones.
There is to make a great deal for the National Archives participation in the international pro-ject Monasterium and membership of the association named ICARus. Beside the research use of virtual archives documents within the European institutions, there is another positive fact for the benefit of the good state of originals – the great reduction of their lending course in ar-chives.
The possibility of online metadata making up, as well as registers creating, transcriptions or texts translations being filled directly in the website enables great opportunities for educatio-nal programmes at universities with helpful assistance of website moderators.
Redmer ALMA (Assen/NL) „Das Digitale Urkundenbuch von Groningen und Drenthe“ – „The Digitaal oorkondeboek Groningen en Drenthe“
The early charters and documents in the Dutch provinces Groningen and Drenthe are the most important historical sources of these regions. Therefore, the two provinces are in an excep-tional position compared to the source material of other provinces of the Netherlands. There are hardly any older books of expenses, record books or other serial sources that can be sys-temati-cally researched up to the middle of the 16th century. This is why the charters, docu-ments and their transcriptions in Groningen and Drenthe are so important up to about 1600. However, difficult retrieval and the sparse written records make research rather difficult. In the course of the project Digitaal oorkondeboek Groningen en Drenthe (DOGD), more than 20.000 charters and other sources from the provincial archives in Groningen and Drenthe have been made digitally accessible. The project is an initiative of the Stichting Digitaal Oork-ondeboek Groningen en Drenthe founded in 2002, which includes the Rijksuniversiteit Gron-ingen, the Groninger Archieven and the Drents Archief. The project’s website http://www.cartago.nl is a XML-based system that makes all relevant documents accessible with scans of original documents, existing metadata and transcriptions that are also searchable. In 2007, the first phase of the project was completed. We expect to expand the content of ‘Cart-ago’ with the complete source material (such as letters and bills etc.) from Groningen and Drenthe. The Dutch province Friesland and the German Ost-Friesland are also interested in making their earlier documents accessible with Cartago. This implies that Cartago will be multi-lingual in the future. When the project was started ten years ago, there were hardly any digital registers that could function as examples. In the Netherlands and Belgium today, there are still hardly any digital registers – and certainly no projects in this scope – that make medieval sources digitally accessible. Therefore, the structure of the system was newly developed, but it also corresponds in some aspects with other XML-based digital registers.
In the presentation the DOGD is demonstrated and recent developments and perspectives are discussed in regional, national and international respects.
Simone WÜRZ (Mainz/DE) „The Regesta Imperii Online“
Angelegt als Inventar aller urkundlichen und historiographischen Quellen der römisch-deutschen Könige von den Karolingern bis zu Maximilian I. sowie der Päpste des frühen und hohen Mittelalters gehören die Regesta Imperii zu den großen Quellenwerken der deutschen und europäischen Geschichte. In Form chronologisch angeordneter Regesten (= abstracts) referieren sie den aktuellen Stand der Forschung incl. der wissenschaftlichen Literatur. Das Projekt wird von der Deutschen Kommission für die Bearbeitung der Regesta Imperii e.V. bei der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz, und ihren Schwesterunternehmungen an den Akademien in Wien und Berlin betreut.
Einen digitalen Weg schlugen die RI bereits Ende der 90er Jahre mit der Publikation von zehn Bänden der Regesten Friedrichs III. als CD-Rom mit diversen Suchfunktionen ein. Die Digitalisierung des Gesamtbestandes wurde im Jahr 2001 in Kooperation mit der Bayerischen Staats-bibliothek München und unter Förderung der DFG begonnen. Seit 2007 sind die derzeit über 70 Bände als uneingeschränkt durchsuchbare Volltext-Datenbank online verfügbar. Daneben ist der RI-OPAC als eine der weltweit leistungsfähigsten Literaturdatenbanken mit inzwischen 1,4 Millionen Titelnachweisen ebenfalls frei zugänglich.
Die Aufbereitung des Bestandes hin zu einem verstärkten Vernetzungspotential ist den RI-Online ein besonderes Anliegen. Für den RI-OPAC hat sich beispielsweise der Einsatz der PND (seit 2009) vielfach bewährt, die von verschiedensten Projekten als automatisierte Schnittstelle genutzt wird.
Wesentlich weiter gehen die Ideen für die Regestendatenbank. Neben Plänen zum Einsatz auch von PND und Georeferenzierung ist vor allem die verstärkte Einbindung von Bildmaterial geplant. Mittelfristig ist angedacht, die rund 150.000 Regesten mit entsprechenden Abbildungen der diversen Überlieferungsformen anzureichern, vorbehaltlich der Klärung rechtlicher und technischer Fragen.
Dem kommen natürlich auch die zahlreichen digitalen Angebote von Archiven entgegen. Derzeit gestaltet sich dies trotz persistenter Links in der Regestendatenbank als schwierig: man-gels automatisierter Schnittstellen wäre reine Handarbeit mit entsprechenden Abgleichen und einzeln gesetzten Links nötig – bei 150.000 Regesten aufgrund der schieren Masse (noch) ein großes Problem.