ISA² - Interoperability solutions for public administrations, businesses and citizens

Facilitating archive management across Europe

Standard-based archival data management, exchange and publication

2017.01 Standard-based archival data management, exchange and publication

When is this action of interest to you? 

This action started with a study aiming at identifying existing data standards in archival information management and exploring IT tools and services supporting them. 

The action is also assessing available options for publishing the relevant part of the content of EU archives in open data format, through the different available platforms (like the open data and the European data portals) allowing Member States, citizens and researchers to interact with them and reuse them in different contexts.

What has been achieved?

In June 2018, final deliverables for the first phase of the action have been published:

  • Study report - An extensive inventory of business processes, standards and IT solutions common in the area of archival data management, exchange and publication.
  • Assessment tool - A configurable benchmarking tool/model based on requirements in terms of business processes to cover, standards to implement and technical constraints.

The second phase of the action has been finalised and the results are published:

  • This second phase was a "proof of concept" (PoC) phase. It aimed at testing how archives management systems (AMS) perform in the business processes and archival data exchange recommended in the study phase. These tests offered insight in the solutions’ capabilities and allowed a selection among the tested products. The selection process of an AMS proved to be a complicated process, but the methodology developed during this phase facilitated the proofs of concept and product evaluation. The PoC methodology, which can guide other archives services through the selection process, is available in FR and EN.

The PoCs for AMS were complemented by an additional PoC that examined the feasibility of publishing archival data as linked open data.

  • LOD report used archival test data from the Historical Archives Service, built on existing initiatives, took them further and developed an archival domain-specific ontology. The prototype that was built is documented, explains its functioning and demonstrates the advantages of the linked open data approach when exposing archival data to the public.
  • SPARQL endpoint allows to access the data of the PoC.


What are the next steps? 

In 2020, the Commission will start the implementation of a new archives management system supporting all existing business processes. Specifically in the context of the ISA² action, solutions will be implemented that organise the archival data exchange with the Historical Archives of the European Union at the European University Institute. Other solutions will enable the shared management and use of reference data (VocBench) that will enrich archival description metadata. Ultimately, these solutions should be reusable by other archival institutions that are facing similar challenges.