The General State Archives (G.S.A.) of Greece recognises the need to develop a long-term coherent strategy for digitizing and making available its holdings.
Two major digitisation projects have been carried out, in the past:
- Invitation No. 65, Measure 1.3: Documentation, management, promotion of Greek cultural heritage of the Operational Program IS "Information Society"
- Invitation No. 152, as part of the Operational Program IS "Information Society"
- Invitation No. 65
“Developing and Distributing Integrated Digital Collections of Cultural Information in the General State Archives (Central Service)”
Implementation Period: July 2004 - September 2008
Digitalization, documentation and promotion of three digital collections of the General State Archive Central Services:
- The archives of the Greek Revolution (1834-1865), applications and honorary awards to soldiers of the 1821 Revolution (takes: 35,367 pages, documentation: 23,095 XML files)
- The archives of the Greek communities of Asia Minor (1682-1928): codices, firmans, beratia, patriarchal letters (takes: 65,000 pages, documentation: 654 XML files)
- Engravings – Maps (17th-20th centuries): 475 documents (takes: 680, documentation: 658 XML files)
- Invitation No. 152
The outcome of this project was the development of an integrated software program called @ρχειομνήμων. The new system now serves as a centralized database where eventually all archives available at the Central Service and at the Regional Services of the General State Archives (G.S.A.) of Greece will be stored and made accessible to the public.
The immediate benefits are standardization and a more rapid digital processing of the archival material, resulting in faster availability of the archival information to the researchers using the archives, from a remote location, online/real-time, using the active websites infrastructure of the G.S.A.
OTHER DIGITISATION PROJECTS
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
In 2010, the General State Archives (G.S.A.) of Greece and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum signed a Cooperation Contract regarding the reproduction of digital copies of archival material related to the Holocaust and to the history of the persecution and murder of six million Jews and millions of other victims of Nazi tyranny between 1933 and 1945.Since 2010, the Central Service and the Regional Services of the G.S.A. have cooperated with the Museum’s representatives so as to provide them with copies of finding aids relevant to the primary Museum’s mission.
The Greek Revolution of 1821: Digital Archive - Research Project
The General State Archives (G.S.A.) of Greece are participating at the Research Project The Greek Revolution of 1821: Digital Archive, organised by the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH). Over the last two years, the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH) is implementing a large scale research project concerning the upcoming bicentenary of the Greek War for Independence (1821).
The research project has the following goals: first, to develop new research tools for historical research in a digital environment, and second, to create the necessary infrastructure for posing new research questions and opening new research areas, regarding the Greek Revolution period (roughly 1780-1830). An important aim of the Scientific Committee is to provide new impetus for the public discussion of historical ‘certainties’ pertaining to the much discussed factors that led to the foundation of the Greek state.
In order to accommodate these research goals, this collective project which abides by the questions currently being discussed in the field of Digital Humanities, has designed a digital platform, which will accommodate a uniform taxonomy of different kinds of material (text, image, sound). This database will unify material which is currently being stored in disparate, often inaccessible places, that has been partly digitised but has not been adequately described and annotated.At the same time, the project aims to secure the dissemination of new research through free access to the material mentioned above. More than just a database, the project will incorporate a number of digital applications, addressed to different audiences (e.g. digital narratives, digital exhibits and publications). The project is now well under way, and the Scientific Committee is happy to announce that the RCH has signed bilateral agreements with the majority of libraries and archival institutions which house pertinent material in their collections. These agreements were signed following in situ visits by members of the Scientific Committee, who reviewed the available material and discussed priorities with the directors of each institution.
An important “by-product” of the Committee’s meetings with the researchers and supervisors from each Institution is the need felt by all for meetings at regular intervals, in order to exchange information and experience from work at the project. For this purpose, the RCH has scheduled a number of meetings. This not only allows for timely trouble shooting, but more important, provides a relax environment for discussing theoretical and methodological issues as they arise, as well as fostering a team spirit, important for a project with a five-year span.
Creation of an online educational and research platform on the The Greek Revolution of 1821: Digital ArchiveIn the framework of the act4Greece program, the Research Centre for the Humanities (RCH) is undertaking the creation of an online platform that brings together different kinds of material (archival, textual, visual, audio, audio-visual) on various aspects of the period of the Greek Revolution of 1821. The project will be carried out with the collaboration of eminent academic and other bodies, such as the Library of the Hellenic Parliament, the General State Archives, The Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive (ELIA), The Museum of Greek Folk Musical Instruments – The Phoebus Anoyanakis Collection. Aims of the project:
- To involve young Greek academics and researchers who hold doctoral degrees, so that they can continue their research work in Greece without having to go abroad.
- To create a user friendly tool where archival material, research results as well as the songs, costumes and paintings of the period will be easily retrievable. This will greatly facilitate the study of related scholarly issues.
- To develop an educational tool for both secondary school and university-level use that disseminates effectively the results of academic research.
- To reach out to the international scholarly community, with the publication of the project in both Greek and English.
PARTICIPATION IN OTHER PROGRAMMES
The Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH)
The General State Archives of Greece are participating at the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH).
DARIAH is a pan-european infrastructure for arts and humanities scholars working with computational methods. It supports digital research as well as the teaching of digital research methods.The Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) aims to enhance and support digitally-enabled research and teaching across the arts and humanities. DARIAH is a network of people, expertise, information, knowledge, content, methods, tools and technologies from its member countries. It develops, maintains and operates an infrastructure in support of ICT-based research practices and sustains researchers in using them to build, analyse and interpret digital resources. By working with communities of practice, DARIAH brings together individual state-of-the-art digital arts and humanities activities and scales their results to a European level. It preserves, provides access to and disseminates research that stems from these collaborations and ensures that best practices, methodological and technical standards are followed.DARIAH was established as a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) in August 2014.
Currently, DARIAH has 17 Members and several cooperating partners in eleven non-member countries.
ΑPEΝΕΤ (Archives Portal of Europe on the Internet)ΑPEΝΕΤ (Archives Portal of Europe on the Internet)ΑPEΝΕΤ (Archives Portal of Europe on the Internet)
Within the scope of the five priority actions determined by the European Council, the European Archivists Group (EAG) decided to proceed with the cooperation of the EContentPlus program, whose main goal is to make the digital content in Europe accessible and exploitable.
The implementation of the APENET (Archives Portal of Europe on the Internet) project was scheduled as part of the EContentPlus program and aimed at creating a network between the European Archives. This network, through an internet portal and being technically and organically compatible and searchable through the European Digital Library, is able to provide online access to:
a) search engines that cover millions of digitized documents
b) access to the actual digitized documents that are documented by the above mentioned search engines
c) information services for archive sources, archives, archive organizations or institutions of cultural nature or other that have archive collections available
The Archives Portal Europe has been created and enhanced through years of collective development. In particular, considerable efforts were made to implement standardisation with common European profiles of the international XML schemas EAD (Encoded Archival Description), EAC-CPF (Encoded Archival Context – Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families), EAG (Encoded Archival Guide) and METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) and to create tools to manage and publish complex data from a wide range of archives across Europe.
APEx (Archives Portal Europe network of eXcellence)
The Archives Portal Europe network of excellence -APEx - is a European-based Best Practice Network project aiming at expanding, enriching, enhancing and sustaining the Archives Portal Europe.
The Archives Portal Europe is the single online access point to an ever growing network of European archives, allowing us to gain an easily accessible insight into our shared European cultural provenance and progression, turning the spotlight on the vast network of archival content that documents the excitement of our European heritage as well as reflecting our multifaceted European weave.
APEx is the joint effort of the already participating European archives and those archival institutions yet to become partners which are expanding the Archives Portal Europe and gets the archival landscape in shape for the quickly advancing digital future of our society. Additionally acts as an important aggregator for Europeana.
The Archives Portal Europe continuously takes on board additional European archival institutions while APEx provides all means necessary to assist aggregation at national levels.
Furthermore, APEx cooperates actively with Europeana on the interoperability of metadata formats and rights management of archival material.
Finally, APEx's ultimate goal is to provide easy access via the Archives Portal Europe to as much archival content of as many European institutions as possible and equally, to channel all digitised and digital archival material to Europeana.
In 4th and 5th June, 2014, the General State Archives of Greece organized and hosted in Athens a joint WP2, 4 & 7 meeting in connection with the Project Board (PB) and Executive Steering Committee (ESC) meetings of the European Program Archives Portal Europe Network of Excellence (APEx), where all the participants had the opportunity to have a face-to-face meeting with APEx colleagues.
Archives Portal Europe Foundation (APEF)
Funded by the European Commission between 2009 and 2015, the European archives community has realised a tremendous achievement: the creation of the Archives Portal Europe. To guarantee the sustainability of this unique aggregation and publication platform and to ensure that contributing content to the Archives Portal Europe will always be free of charge, the national archives of the participating countries – the driving forces behind the former projects – have established the Archives Portal Europe Foundation.
The Foundation is a legal entity under Dutch law and has been allocated a budget and responsibilities to further develop the portal from 1 October 2015 onwards.
In addition, the portal acts as a data aggregator for Europeana which displays digital heritage objects held in a wide range of cultural and scientific institutions around Europe, thereby helping to preserve knowledge about European cultural heritage for future generations.
The Country Manager is the person with thorough knowledge regarding the portal, both front- and backend, as well as its overall objectives. Therefore he/she will be the first contact point for institutions wishing to contribute content. Country Managers can advise institutions on their participation within the network (administrative point of view) and on the best way to deliver their content (technical point of view).
Country Manager for Greece:
e-ARK (European Archival Records and Knowledge Preservation)
E-ARK was a multinational big data research project that improved the methods and technologies of digital archiving, in order to achieve consistency on a Europe-wide scale. Tackling a range of problems associated with independent record-keeping technologies, systems and practices, E-ARK benefited the development of internationally accessible archives through: the provision of technical specifications and tools, the development of an integrated archiving infrastructure, the demonstration of improved availability, access and use, and the rigorous analysis of aggregated sets of archival data.
Running from 1st February 2014 to 31st January 2017, E-ARK was co-funded by the European Commission under its ICT Policy Support Programme (PSP) within its Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).
The E-ARK project has provided:
- Guidelines on pan-European e-archiving as part of EC e-infrastructure
- Open archival products (tools, services, framework, metadata specifications)
- Open technical products (tools, services, metadata specifications)
- Open operational products (ingest and access tools, services, metadata specifications)
- Open access tools, services, metadata specifications, including data mining tools for business intelligence
- Open interfaces from tools, services, metadata specifications to existing systems products
- Outcomes of a legal study
- Outcomes of pilots, especially where similar archival material to that under consideration was processed
- Project papers on the integration work undertaken
Euronomos is a freely accessible multilingual international database with all relevant archives and records legislation for each member of the EU, Switzerland and the European institutions and organisations. The database is built in such a way that other interested parties can join the project and add their information.
The project partners all have a work space at their disposal within the database to insert their information. This work space is cut up in sections that further develop a specific aspect relating to the archives and records legislation of the country or organisation in question.