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The Danish National Archives leads the way on standardised digital archiving in Europe

Like many record-keeping institutions in Europe, the Danish National Archives (DNA) needed a robust technical solution to handle large archives of digital records.

With more than 5,100 databases in their inventory, the DNA processes over 220 databases every year. This equated to 22 terabytes of data in 2017 alone.

Recognising the need for technical expertise, the DNA participated in a pan-European project that would achieve consistency for record-keeping technology, systems and practices across all Member States.

Introducing E-ARK

The European Archival Records and Knowledge Preservation (E-ARK) set out to develop technical specifications, methods and tools that could be available to all Member States at a lower cost, and higher quality.

The project brought together experts in national archiving, research and IT from across the European Union. Enabling open collaboration between people drawn from a wide pool of expertise, E-ARK resulted in common open technical specifications and open source tools for digital archiving.

These tools and specifications have formed the basis of our CEF Building Block, eArchiving. It is available to public administrations, EU institutions and private sector organisations.

"eArchiving facilitates a universal set of standards and specifications for transmitting, describing and preserving digital data. For us, this will remove the obstacle of different standards and specifications that exists for archives wanting to collaborate on shared solutions."

Phillip Mike Tømmerholt
IT-project leader and data manager 
Danish National Archives

A scalable solution

During the project, the DNA collaborated closely with the Swiss Federal Archives and KEEP Solutions to create an updated version of the open format Software Independent Archiving of Relational Databases (SIARD). This update provides new features and better scalability.

KEEP Solutions also developed two open source toolkits to facilitate the migration of databases from proprietary formats such as Oracle to SIARD. The Database Visualization Toolkit uses new search technology combining relational and non-relational archiving techniques. In combination with the eArchiving Building Block, it can replace the existing DNA approach and become a new de facto solution for anyone needing to access archived databases.


Faster processing times

New archiving search technologies developed by the Austrian Institute of Technology also enabled faster ingestion of archives, and rapid search through the entire digital archival collection.

With the support of the eArchiving Building Block, open specifications such as SIARD enable the DNA to move to open specifications using open source tools. The transformation will occur over the coming years, save time, and reduce costs significantly.

Ask a question

Are you working on a digital archiving project? Contact the DNA at mailbox@sa.dk for further information.

Are you ready for eArchiving in public institutions?

Last updated on  Oct 29, 2019 10:40
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