ECHO Project

The best starting point for discussing the question of OPEN ACCESS to Heritage Collections is ECHO

http://echo.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/ECHO/home

Motivation
The ECHO initiative has been motivated by the observation that, at present, information relevant to cultural heritage still plays only a marginal role in the Internet: the number one medium for current and future scientific work, communication and general archiving.
Basic idea
The basic idea of the ECHO-initiative therefore is to establish an open-source culture of the public and scholarly exploitation of cultural heritage on the Internet. This idea comprises the promotion of content-driven technology in information management.
Aim
The aim is to create an Agora, a community of producers and users of culturally relevant information, who are willing to freely exchange this in order to build a joint portal and a common infrastructure.

Several digitized collections are online on the mentioned website!

Stop the closing of the Russian State Historical Archives!

THE LARGEST HISTORICAL ARCHIVES
IN RUSSIA AND EUROPE
IS UNDER THE THREAT OF DESTRUCTION
ACCORDING TO THE DECISION OF THE OFFICIALS!

The Russian State Historical Archives in St.Petersburg is under threat of closing, eviction and destruction due to the decision of the officials, planning to use all its buildings for accommodation of the offices and a hotel complex.

On December 17th, 2002 the Chairman of the Government of Russia Mikhail Kasianov signed a bylaw according to which all the buildings occupied by the Russian State Historical Archive were confiscated and were consigned to the Administration of the President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

The administration of the Archives was proposed to close the archives and to release the buildings. Before the new building will be constructed the collections were proposed to warehouse somewhere. This means that the Archives will be closed in summer 2003 for 15-30 years!

There were several articles in Russian papers, magazines, TV interviews against closing the Archives. But till now there is no document stopping this awfull governmental decision.

WE ASK FOR HELP OF THE EUROPEAN AND WORLD COMMUNITY,
UNESCO, THE SCIENTISTS AND POLITICIANS
TO AFFECT THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES AND INDUCE THEM
TO ABANDON THE ATTEMPT OF CONFISCATION OF THE BUILDINGS
OF THE ARCHIVES AND CLOSING IT!

http://rgia.narod.ru/maineng.htm

Read a little more in German here

Short information on the archives in English:
http://feefhs.org/blitz/blitzfa.html
http://rgia.narod.ru/archiveng.htm (with pictures)