Archives Portal Europe (www.archivesportaleurope.net)
A single access point where the users can search and access information on archival materials from different European countries as well as information on the creators of those and the archival institutions throughout the continent. Millions of archival descriptions are aggregated and published on the website which provides links back to the providers' websites for the original descriptions and digital objects. The portal is the main visible product of the APEnet and APEx projects, and was created via funding by the European Commission within the framework of the eContentplus and ICT PSP Programmes.
APEnet project (www.apenet.eu)
APEnet - Archives Portal Europe network - was a Best Practice Network project supported by the European Commission in the eContentplus programme. It ran from the 15th of January 2009 until the 15th of January 2012. Its objective was to build an Internet Gateway for Documents and Archives in Europe Seventeen European National Archives in close cooperation with the Europeana initiative created this common access point to European archival descriptions and digital collections. The project successfully delivered the first version of the Archives Portal Europe on the 12th of January 2012, giving access to more than 14 million descriptive units, contributed by 61 European archival institutions. Shortly after the conclusion of the APEnet project, a follow-up project was started, the APEx project, again funded by the European Commission, but this time within the ICT PSP programme.
APEx project (www.apex-project.eu)
APEx – the Archives Portal Europe network of excellence – was a project for European archives to collaborate for wider and enhanced accessibility of their content on the web. Funded and supported by the European Commission within the framework of the Information and Technology Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP), it continued the work of the APEnet project (2009–2012, funded by European Commission under the eContentplus programme) which established and released the Archives Portal Europe. With the continued expansion and enhancement of the Archives Portal Europe – in terms of participating countries and institutions, plus available content and services – APEx contributed to the development of a coherent digital infrastructure which opened up the portal to our common cultural heritage of archives, equally accessible for citizens, researchers, businesses and governments alike. The APEx project ran from March 2012 until October 2015.
It is an overview over the archival institutions participating in the Archives Portal Europe. It is structured geographically, starting with the different European countries, followed by a list of archival institutions situated in these countries, which then are ordered according to the administrative or regional structures within the country in question. Within the "Directory" section, the constituent institutions are connected to contact and service information of each institution. Also a list of all holdings guides and finding aids can be found there. Within the advanced search and the context view of search results the archival landscape links directly to the holdings guides and finding aids. Technically the Archival Landscape is based on apeEAD, the service and contact information of the institutions is based on EAG2012.
Archival institutions participating in the Archives Portal Europe by contributing content.
Centralised web environment where the content providers of Archives Portal Europe can manage the whole process of their contributed data. They can fully control the data ingestion, archive, and dissemination in a single interface. It enables them to upload files via HTTP, FPT and OAI-PHM, to validate the files against APE profiles (apeEAD, apeEAC-CPF, EAG2012) and convert them, and to publish them on the Archives Portal Europe. The content providers can also create, publish and download EAG2012, holdings guide, and apeEAC-CPF in the Dashboard. After publishing apeEAD, it is possible to convert it into EDM and deliver it to Europeana. The administrators of each partner country – called Country Managers – can also create and modify the archival landscape in the dashboard.
Data Preparation Tool (DPT)
This is an open source tool which helps the content providers to locally prepare their data for the Archives Portal Europe. It can be installed at a local machine and mainly be used before ingesting data to the central dashboard in order to streamline the complex data processing. The content providers can validate and convert any xml file to apeEAD, create EAG2012 and EAC-CPF files, and holdings guides. apeEAD files can also be converted to EDM for their use in the Europeana. It is downloadable over here.
A component of a finding aid to be used for searching. It is usually one record – or a group of records – within a fonds, which is described by at least title, date of creation and reference code.
A digital representation of archival materials. There are six different types on the portal: image, text, sound, video, 3D and unspecified, which are represented by different icons in search results. The digital object can also be the original object when born digital.
Stands for Encoded Archival Context (Corporate Bodies, Persons, Families) as an XML standard for encoding information on records' creators. It is compliant to ISAAR(CPF) standard as maintained by the International Council on Archives (ICA). The profile for Archives Portal Europe is called apeEAC-CPF and the documentation is available over here.
Stands for Encoded Archival Description as an XML standard for encoding descriptions of archival units like fonds, series, files, etc. It is compliant to ISAD(G) as maintained by the ICA. The current version is EAD2002 and the new version (EAD3) is on the verge of official release. The profile for Archives Portal Europe is called apeEAD, which is based on EAD2002. The documentation is available over here.
Stands for Encoded Archival Guide as an XML standard for encoding information on institutions with archival holdings. It is compliant to ISDIAH as maintained by the ICA. The EAG used in the Archives Portal Europe is EAG 2012 which is the updated version of EAG 0.2 developed in 2002. The documentation is available over here.
Stands for Europeana Data Model. It is the data format used by Europeana. The DPT and Dashboard provide easy one step conversion from apeEAD to EDM, extracting and mapping digital objects and relevant information. The EDM documentation is available over here.
One of the flagship projects of the European Commission to create a single web access point to books, paintings, films, museum objects and archival records that have been digitised throughout Europe. It is an authoritative source of information coming from European cultural and scientific institutions. Archives Portal Europe is one of the most important strategic partners of Europeana. It represents the archives domain in Europe and delivers a large amount of digital objects to them, and builds together a digital infrastructure for cultural heritage.
A finding aid provides information on any kind of archival material, mostly describing a single fonds or collection, describing it as a whole as well as describing its different components. Furthermore a hierarchical structure of the fonds or collection can be represented within the finding aid, if applicable. Within the Archives Portal Europe, finding aids are encoded in apeEAD.
An aggregation of documents that originates from the same source.
A holdings guide can be understood as an overview over the holdings maintained by a certain repository. A holdings guide can be a simple list, just grouping and naming the different records creators, fonds and collections, as well as a more elaborate, hierarchically structured document giving additional information like a summary, the dates of creation, etc. for the different fonds and collections. Within the Archives Portal Europe, holdings guides are encoded in apeEAD and the holdings guides are linked to the corresponding finding aids. Each one structures the list of findings aids of a contributing institution. Furthermore it can give information on fonds or collections that are not yet accessible via online finding aids. It also may contain links to apeEAC-CPF documents describing the records' creators.
Stands for International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families. A description can be downloaded via http://www.ica.org/en/node/30230.
Stands for General International Standard Archival Description. A description can be downloaded via http://www.ica.org/en/node/30000.
Stands for International Standard for Describing Institutions with Archival Holdings. A description can be downloaded via http://www.ica.org/en/node/38884.
Stands for Metadata Encoding & Transmission Standards. It aims to provide a common XML format for encoding metadata needed for both the management of digital objects and the exchange of them between repositories. A description on the METS standard in general can be found at http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/. The profile for Archives Portal Europe is called apeMETS and the documentation is available over here.
Stands for The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. It is a commonly used protocol to exchange metadata within the cultural heritage sector. The content providers can harvest their data via OAI-PMH to manage it on the dashboard. The dashboard system also uses OAI-PMH to deliver their data to Europeana. More information can be found at http://www.openarchives.org/OAI/openarchivesprotocol.html.
A topic-oriented overview of holdings. Thus, the source guide is useful for research and may contain finding aids or descriptions from several institutions; not all finding aids of an institution may be listed in a source guide.
The data structure used in Archives Portal Europe to describe archival materials. It is called 3 layers because the structure contains 3 levels: finding aids, holdings guides, and the archival landscape.