Merchandising products: One experience  

In November 2019, the School of Design (ESD) of the Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave (IPCA) received an invitation from the General Directorate of Books, Archives and Libraries of Portugal (DGLAB) to collaborate on a project that would bring unprecedented challenges to a multidisciplinary team of designers and the opportunity to get to know and value documents that have described part of the History of Portugal.

ESD is an organic unit of the IPCA, a public institution of higher education founded in 1994, located in the northern region of Portugal. As part of its mission to contribute to the development of society through innovative training, cultural creation, applied research and investigation, the European Digital Treasures project presented itself as an opportunity to explore new methodologies and regional and international synergies.

The team responsible for the project included a graphic designer with a master’s degree in illustration and animation, an industrial designer, responsible technician of a product design laboratory and a project manager, a teacher and researcher in the areas of communication design, typography and publishing. These different skills allowed solutions that not only responded to the initial brief but also complemented it with communication outputs (such as packaging and promotion videos) that helped to explain, demonstrate and advertise the merchandising products designed.

Here is the catalogue of all the products created under the project.

The first stage of this journey involved a week-long artistic residency in Madrid, from 17 to 21 January 2020. During that week, the teams of designers from all the project partners met, worked and shared experiences. There were moments of contact with professionals in the areas of design, communication, management and distribution of products related to museums and cultural institutions. Workshops were developed in which work methodologies, future scenarios and prototypes were discussed. The contact with designers from other countries allowed not only for better awareness of the brief, considering that the heritage and cultural value of many archives were reflected upon, but also for the exchange of experiences and expertise in varied areas. These included graphic design, product design, jewellery and marketing. There were also some field visits to cultural institutions of worldwide reference, which allowed an observation of the spaces and organisation of the merchandising shops and direct contact with some products. Furthermore, these were moments that enriched the experience of the week, due to the opportunity created to visit some of the best art collections in the world. After this important moment, which leveraged the steps of previous research and problem definition, we moved on to the ideation and prototyping phases.

Development of a merchandising article.

From a selection of historical archives, seven prototypes of innovative merchandising products were developed: a botanical specimen jar with five artisanal soaps; two écharpes; two ceramic brooches, a ceramic cutting and serving board and a DIY mobile. Take a look at the videos.

All prototypes were thoroughly studied, tested and presented in multiple contexts, national and international. With an iterative, multidisciplinary and multicultural process we sought not only to contribute to greater recognition of our past treasures but also to open the door to future projects that help communicate the value and mission of the Portuguese Archives.

Ana Catarina Silva, Polytechnic Institute of Cávado and Ave (IPCA).

EDT Workshop New Business & Conceptual Models: “Use of Artificial Intelligence”

Ole Gausdal (r.) waiting for his turn to present the Use of AI.

Last but not least we want to present the speech, given by Ole Gausdal, National Archives of Norway, about “Use of Artificial Intelligence” at the European Digital Treasures workshop ‘New Business & Conceptual Models’, held on 23rd of May 2022 within the #28 ICARUS Convention.

The National Archives of Norway has started to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to improve our user services. We have large volumes of paper-based archives with limited amount of metadata. As for today´s standard, they are also quite poor categorized. The result has been that use of the material requires quite a lot of manual work. We are now working to improve this situation by use of AI. In order to use AI, the material has to be digitized. And that is of course a limitation. So far, we have digitized between 2-3 percent of our total holdings.

The goal for our use of AI is to make historical data searchable and to improve metadata in order to automate our services and improve the user experience and self-service. Artificial Intelligence has many branches. We are mainly working in the field of natural language processing (content extraction and classification), machine learning as well as image recognition. To follow up our AI ambitions, we have employed three AI experts and two experts to follow up handwritten text recognition (HTR).

Read about the use of AI in detail in our report here (p. 11) & check out the video on our YouTube Channel here.

Let’s present our workshop speaker

Ole Gausdal.

OLE GAUSDAL is director in charge of international relations at the National Archives of Norway since 2017. He has been Deputy Director in charge of Digitization from 2005-2008 and Director for Digitization and the Collection from 2008-2017. He has previously worked as Deputy Director and Head of Archives in several ministries and public agencies. He holds a master in History.

Check out the recording of the presentation of Ole Gausdal about “Use of Artificial Intelligence” here!

Additionally you can read the full report about the workshop here.
Read more about the workshop here.

Written by Ole Gausdal & the European Digital Treasures Team.

EDT Workshop New Business & Conceptual Models: “Face to Face to e-Commerce: the Migration Experience”

From Face to Face to e-Commerce: The Migration Experience, brief describes the DGLAB (Portugal, General Directorate for the Books, Archives and Libraries) experience on the transition from its previous approach and position online to E-commerce strategy adaptation, faced as an opportunity for paradigm change. José Furtado, head of the Division of Information Systems, Statistics and Quality in the Directorate General of Books, Archives and Libraries, presented their ideas and findings at the European Digital Treasures workshop ‘New Business & Conceptual Models’, held on 23rd of May 2022 within the #28 ICARUS Convention.

José Furtado at the ICARUS convention in Paris, May 2022.

On the course 2020 to 2022, directly or indirectly COVID 19 pandemic deeply affected the business model conduced. Abrupt decline in sales as well as of the clients due to confinement were observed.  At the same time, there was an incremental growth of online requests to services: a 13% growth of on-line interactions were experienced between January and June comparatively to the last 6 months of 2019 that continuously kept increasing since then.

All the above led to a shift of paradigm in this business area in order to better disseminate the institutional image of the archives, by introducing a different strategy, both at the physical shop and online service.

Decisions were taken towards the professionalization of the DGLAB’s online shop presence by means of disruptive technology in such way that could force the services to be also disruptive on their own work in order to optimize resources and process; aggregate other revenue-generating DGLAB services on the same platform; increase efficiency in customer service both at the “front-office” as “back-office” level, through a more immediate control of “stocks”; reading of sales flow indicators and order requests; improved payment and introduce flexible calculation mechanisms on shipping functionalities; tax configuration per country; General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance at Customer support features; ability for customers to view their order history and status; Live-chat integration etc.

Along with the consolidation of the strategic actions in the technological and operational field, start the path towards the creation of synergies that help us more easily identify and meet the needs of the user/customer/citizen by creating synergies with other entities is of crucial importance.

Encouraging easier access to archives heritage targeting public from other fields of research like design of products; magnifying the role of archives as a rich and unexplored source of resources for cultural commercial market; incentivizing public-private cooperation; generating product diversity to meet a broad range of public; promoting internships in real work context focus towards web design, marketing or communication; promoting initiatives focused on creating opportunities for artistic production, fostering identity expression as a right of citizenship that the State should support, should be the way to change.

In that sense, the challenge for next years will be to face e-commerce platform as a laboratory of experiences and the archives as a source of inspiration.

Read about this self-copying service in detail in our report here (p. 5) & check out the video on our YouTube Channel here.

Let’s present our workshop speaker

José Furtado.

José Furtado works at DGLAB. Furtado’s activities towards archives extends for more than 30 years, both in Portugal and in Macau. He was involved at research activities, coordination of the training activities and quality services at DGLAB; promoted and developed studies for the quality of processes and assessments on the satisfaction of the clients of the DGARQ and internal collaborators, and implemented the performance indicators system. Participated in several working groups involved in the development of projects of high relevance, namely, the development of the platform for virtual consultation for archives (CRAV I) and application of projects to the Memory of the World (UNESCO) and European Heritage Label. From November 2012 until now he is the head of the Division of Information Systems, Statistics and Quality in the Directorate General of Books, Archives and Libraries, has a degree in History and has a postgraduate in Management of People and Knowledge and a post-graduation on advanced studies in Public Management, granted by the Institute of Administration, Lisbon.

Check out the recording of the presentation of José Furtado about “Face to Face to e-Commerce: the Migration Experience” here!

Additionally you can read the full report about the workshop here.
Read more about the workshop here.

Written by José Furtado & the European Digital Treasures Team.

EDT Workshop New Business & Conceptual Models: Self-copying service in the researching rooms of the Spanish State Archives

Miguel Ángel Bermejo Alonso, Head of the International Cooperation Service at the Spanish State Archives, gave a lecture on the Spanish State Archives self-copying service at the European Digital Treasures workshop ‘New Business & Conceptual Models’, held on 23rd of May 2022 within the #28 ICARUS Convention.

Miguel Ángel holding his lecture during the workshop.

He presented the overview and results of this pilot project, which regulated the possibility for the beneficiaries of 2 of the archives of the Spanish State Archives system—the Archive of the Royal Chancery of Valladolid and the General Archive of Simancas—to obtain up to 50 reproductions of documents by using their own photographic devices.

After this experience, which was implemented for 4 months—from October 2021 to February 2022—several beneficial effects have been already acknowledged, such as the reduction of waiting times, with the consequent relief for the always overloaded reprographic services and the management cost savings. Read about this self-copying service in detail in our report here (p. 3) & check out the video on our YouTube Channel here.

Let’s present our workshop speaker

MIGUEL ÁNGEL BERMEJO ALONSO is the Head of the International Cooperation Service at the Spanish State Archives. Graduated in Librarianship from the University of Salamanca and in Information Science from the University of Alcala de Henares. He has been a member of the Corps of technicians in Archives, Libraries and Museums since 2017.

Miguel Ángel Bermejo Alonso.

For more than 9 years he worked as a librarian at the National Library of Spain until joining the Corps of technicians of Archives, Libraries and Museums in September 2017. He started in the Archive Coordination Service with the management of grants to private non-profit organisations until December 2017 of the same year, when he moved to the International Cooperation Service, where he currently works on different European projects, such as EDT Project—he is a member of its Steering Committee—or Archival trace on migration AtOM—as a member of its Executive Committee.

He develops other bilateral cooperation collaborations and provides support in the Technical Unit of the Iberarchivos Programme.


All sessions of the workshop were recorded and will be presented here on our BLOG within the next weeks.
You can now check out the recording of Miguel Ángel Bermejo’s presentation HERE.

Additionally you can read the full report about the workshop HERE.

Read more about the workshop: HERE.

Written by the Spanish State Archives.

EDT Workshop New Business & Conceptual Models: Introduction & first speech “Identification of potential for revenue generation”

Yvan Corbat, senior consultant at Grupo DEX and partner of the EDT project, led and moderated the European Digital Treasures workshop ‘New Business & Conceptual Models’, held on 23rd of May 2022 within the #28 ICARUS Convention. He gave a general overview of the aims of the EDT project before the other partners of the project gave their individual presentations about new business models for the archival field.

Within the workshop, Leonard Callus, National Archives of Malta, held a speech about “Identification of potential for revenue generation” and explained how the National Archives of Malta undertook great efforts to identify and analyse new business models to generate revenue. Read about it in detail in our report here (p. 7) & check out the video on our YouTube Channel here.

Let’s present our workshop speakers

YVAN CORBAT is senior consultant at Grupo DEX and URBACT and UIA (Urbact Innovative Actions) validated expert, with particular expertise on cultural management and international cooperation. He has over 25 years of professional experience in international programms and project management, with particular focus on the strategic and operational management of multilateral-funded projects to support local/regional development, and on the design, implementation and evaluation of EU Programmes.

Yvan Corbat.

He has worked as advisor of the Minister at the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Chief of Staff for the XXV Anniversary celebrations of the Prince of Asturias Awards, under the auspice of UNESCO. In September 2020, he has been selected as expert for the Capacity Building for European Capitals of Culture project and, since 2020, he is volunteering as Solar Impulse Expert for the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions.

Leonard Callus.

LEONARD CALLUS forms part of the National Archives of Malta’s management team and is responsible for records management, community relations and outreach initiatives.

Before joining the National Archives, he served in several managerial and policy-related capacities within the public administration.


All sessions of the workshop were recorded and will be presented here on our BLOG within the next weeks.
For now: Check out the recording of the introduction and the presentation of Leonard Callus about “Identification of potential for revenue generation” !

Additionally you can read the full report about the workshop HERE.

Read more about the workshop: HERE

Written by Tatjana Hölzl, International Centre for Archival Research.

Workshop: New Business & Conceptual Models

The European Digital Treasures partners created a workshop held within the #28 ICARUS Convention on Monday, 23rd of May, 2022! The workshop and the convention took place at the Conference Center of Campus-Condorcet in Paris-Aubervilliers (France) and participants could join remotely or in-person.

Yvan Corbat.

One of the main goals of European Digital Treasures is to generate added value, visibility and economic profitability of European archives, through the identification and implementation of new business models and activities. The creation of this workshop was one step among others to pursue this aim!

Yvan Corbat, senior consultant at Grupo DEX and partner of the EDT project, led and moderated the workshop and gave a general overview of the aims of the project before the individual presentations of the partners.

Although more than 20 actions focused on the development of new business models are being implemented (an average of 4 per archival partner), the workshop presents  5 practical examples of these  new activities:

Miguel Ángel Bermejo Alonso (Subdirección General de los Archivos Estatales – Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte) presented the topic Self-copying service in the researching rooms of the Spanish State Archives followed by José Furtado (Direção-Geral do Livro, dos Arquivos e das Bibliotecas – DGLAB) talking about an E-commerce platform.
Leonard Callus’ (National Archives of Malta) topic was Identification of potential for revenue generation followed by Ole Gausdal (National Archives of Norway) talking about Improve access to digitized archives using artificial intelligence.
The workshop presentations of the European Digital Treasures partners were closed by Dorottya Szabó (National Archives of Hungary) who talked about Crowdsourcing activities carried out by the National Archives of Hungary.

Here you can see the workshop programme:

After those presentations the companies Ancestry and Teklia presented themselves and their ongoing projects, followed by Q&A session about how companies and institutions could include the strategies and activities within their daily business. 

Read the full report about the workshop here!

The sessions will be available on the ICARUS YouTube channel soon – stay tuned! 

See the programme & the short bios of all the speakers for the workshop here

Written by Tatjana Hölzl, ICARUS

Digital geospatial data, a tool for interpretation of our past – by Gregor Završnik

How can the benefits of digital geospatial data be leveraged? How can the discoverability and accessibility of geospatial records in a uniform and accessible way can be assured? The workshop “New Digital Exponential Technologies Towards The Generation Of Business Models” discussed these issued in both the technological and also the archival world.

Gregor Završnik.

Bio. Gregor Završnik is an international consultant with more than 20 years of experience in the Geospatial field. His geospatial digital records preservation engagement started on the E-ARK project in 2015 and continues until today with his work on the CEF eArchiving Building Block. As a member of the E-ARK3 team, he is leading the development of specifications and training for the eArchiving Building block in the field of geospatial information. His clients range from archives to mapping agencies and digital preservation solution providers. He is also a member of the Digital Information LifeCycle Interoperability Standards Board (DILCIS) and a short-term consultant for the World Bank.

Abstract. Maps and modern geospatial records are a useful tool to understand better objects and phenomena. With the development of exponential technologies such as social networks, artificial intelligence geospatial data became a fundamental component in the development of the digital economy. However, the benefits of this technology can only be leveraged if the discoverability and accessibility of geospatial records can be assured in a uniform and accessible way. A lot of data is stored in different formats with different levels of documentation and is often only accessible in closed systems. Mr Završnik shows how, using both simple and advanced technologies, geospatial data can be used for visualisation and analysis to understand better and make more use of our past data and present.

He discusses what generally brings value to data and what challenges are being faced in the data-driven economy. He goes on to propose how the Common Information Type Packaging Specifications for geospatial records, developed in the EU eArchiving building block, can support creating an Interoperable and connected information platform that can facilitate innovation and generate new business models. The solution is based on international standards from the geospatial and archival domains. The use of eArchiving specification ensures an open and transparent approach that will be sustainable and will ensure legal compliance.

Watch the session on YouTube here and check the manuscript paper prepared for the workshop here.

Written by Leonard Callus, the European Digital Treasures Team & Gregor Završnik.

Link-Lives – Building historical big data from archival records for use by researchers and the Danish public – by Barbara Revuelta-Eugercios

Barbara Revuelta-Eugercios.

The third presentation on September 3rd at the workshop in Alicante was held by Barbara Reuvelta-Eugercios. She is associate research professor with special responsibilities at the National Archives of Denmark and associate research professor at the SAXO Institute, University of Copenhagen. Her focus is on historical demography, mortality inequality and digital methods in history. After her doctoral studies in Spain, she has worked in research institutions in Sweden, France and Denmark in the fields of economic history, demography and history. She co-directs the Link-Lives project since 2019.

Abstract. The Link-Lives project is a cross-disciplinary research project. The aim is to take the difficult and time-consuming task of combining information from diverse archival sources relating to any given person, to build life-courses and family relations. The timespan for the project is from 1787 to the present. The results will be freely and easily available to everybody. The project will expand the scope of registry-based research from decades to centuries and open new avenues for intergenerational research in the health and social sciences. It will also ease the access to some of Denmark’s digital treasures to the average citizen. Link-Lives is a collaboration between the Danish National Archives, the Copenhagen City Archives and the University of Copenhagen. It is funded through two grants by the Innovation Fund Denmark, the Carlsberg Foundation and two small grants from the Ministry of Culture.

You can watch the whole session on YouTube here & read the manuscript paper here!

Written by Barbara Revuelta-Eugercios & the European Digital Treasures Team.

Automated Processing and Exploitation of Heraldic Data from European Archives. – by Torsten Hiltmann and Philipp Schneider

The European Digital Treasures team continues with the presentations of the experts who participated in the workshop “New Digital Exponential Technologies Towards The Generation Of Business Models” on 2nd and 3rd of September, 2021 at the Provincial Historical Archive of Alicante (Spain). 

The second speech on September 3rd was held by Torsten Hiltmann and Philipp Schneider. Torsten Hiltmann is a professor for Digital History at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 2020. His research focuses on the integration of Machine Learning and Semantic Web Technologies into historical studies and on the epistemological change of historical research through the application of digital methods.

Philipp Schneider is a research assistant at the chair of Digital History at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin since 2020. He works in a project called “Coats of Arms in practice”, where he is responsible for modeling and contextualizing heraldry as a historical source with the help of Semantic Web Technologies.

Abstract. The paper addresses the issue of reusing data from historical archives (and GLAM institutions in general) in data-driven research projects by presenting a catalogue of supporting factors. These factors center around the FAIR principles and how archives and other GLAM institutions can support research by implementing them in their data services. Mainly, historical data should be made accessible through APIs, be describable through its historical context, and to be as interoperable and reusable as possible. These preconditions for using archival data in data-driven historical research are presented by using the example of the research project “Coats of arms in practice”. It aims to study the development and usage of heraldry as a tool of visual communication in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. It employs a data-first approach by integrating data of coats of arms as well as the historical contexts of sources in which they were used into a single Knowledge Graph, built with Semantic Web Technologies. The coats of arms themselves will be described with the help of a specific ontology. Image detection methods based on Machine Learning are used to detect (and describe) coats of arms in image data of historical sources that have not yet been described. This paper focuses on the reuse of archival data from a research perspective. We would like to address the preconditions archival data and GLAM data in general has to meet from the point of view of data-driven research – especially when such research draws on data from multiple institutions. 

You can watch the whole session on YouTube here and read the manuscript paper here!

Written by Torsten Hiltmann, Philipp Schneider & the European Digital Treasures Team.

Browsing through sealed historical documents: noninvasive imaging methods for document digitization – by Daniel Stromer


The European Digital Treasures team wants to disclose the various presentations held within the workshop “New digital exponential technologies towards the generation of business models” on 2nd and 3rd of September, 2021 at the Provincial Historical Archive of Alicante (Spain). For this reason, we are posting about each of the presentations.

Daniel Stromer.

One of the speakers was Daniel Stromer, who started to study medical engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in 2010. In 2019, he finished his PhD (Dr.-Ing.) in Computer Science with the title “Non-invasive imaging for Digital Humanities, Medicine, and Quality Assessment“. Daniel is now heading the Learning Approaches for Medical Big Data (LAMBDA) group of the Pattern Recognition Lab (PRL) at FAU. In parallel, he joined Siemens Healthineers as collaboration manager for Digital Health. He is currently project lead of a multimodal document digitization project as well as interested in research where pure image data is being enriched and correlated with new data sources.

Abstract. Historical documents are witnesses of history that provide us with valuable information about former times. Many of these relics are too fragile to open them, such that innovative non-invasive imaging techniques can help to reveal hidden contents. In this work, we present our research on Computed Tomography, Phase-contrast and Terahertz imaging. We use image processing methods to visualize the digital data for the naked eye. Our use cases are mainly books, but also Asian bamboo scroll data is shown. As an outlook, our future research will focus on hybrid imaging approaches combined with intelligent image processing. Our research aim is to gain insights, and based on them, provide guidelines for specific documents. Therefore, the space of documents and modalities is presented. We try to utilize advantages and counter disadvantages of certain modalities. Finally, the future of this highly translational research is discussed and possible considerations for potential commercialization are presented.

You can watch the whole session on YouTube here & read the manuscript paper here!

Written by Daniel Stromer & the European Digital Treasures Team.