On November 30, 2022, the Embassy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary in Zagreb, the Liszt Institute, Zagreb and the Hungarian National Archives opened the exhibition Digital Treasures – The Construction of Europe, co-funded by the EU Creative Europe programme.
The exhibition was opened by Dinko Ćutura, Director General of the Croatian National Archives and Anna Palcsó, Deputy Head of Department of the Hungarian National Archives. Dr. Anna Mladenovics, Director of the Liszt Institute, highlighted the significance of the project at European level, which is an exemplary cooperation between 42 different institutions of different member states, underlined the interconnection between European historical processes and our common heritage. In her speech, Anna Palcsó, Deputy Head of Department, emphasized the contribution and harmonious cooperation of the participating institutions, and that the project as a whole was a significant milestone for European archives. The exhibition uses multimedia tools to present the common history of Europe and Europeans from four possible perspectives, using various European archival documents. It is an interactive exhibition with exciting discoveries for children and adults alike, coordinated by the national archives of Portugal, Norway, Spain, Malta and Hungary, but including documents from other countries.
Director General Dinko Ćutura welcomed the spectacular exhibition and announced that their cooperation with the Hungarian National Archives could become extremely important in the near future, thanks to the start of the exploration of the codices written by Esztergom priests and monks in the 12th and 13th centuries, discovered by Hungarian researchers recently.
The location and timing are both advantageous, the exhibition is expected to attract the attention of the public at the Advent market in the square in front of the Institute. The opening ceremony was attended by leading diplomats from the participating countries, including Spain, Portugal, Austria, Romania and Slovenia, as well as professional guests and people interested in historical documents. The opening was interviewed by Z1 television.
Written by: Zoltán Szatucsek, National Archives of Hungary
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.
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).
Placed in an emblematic space in the historical centre of the city of Porto, in the Centro Português de Fotografia, the exhibition European Discoveries: from the new world to new technologies is on its second edition, from November 19 to 22 January 2023, after its opening to the public at the Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo in 2021, in Lisbon.
As the documents in this exhibition so clearly show, European discoveries were carried out in several contexts, throughout history and involving people from different countries and regions.
The diversity of documentary typologies shown in the exhibition confirms the variety of themes and contexts in which the desire to discover was evident: letters, books, photographs, X-ray images, drawings, maps and reports, among others, dating from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century.
Preserving the memory of discoveries and inventions, scientific progress and technological advances is one of the features of the European identity and heritage.
This transmedia exhibition was displaced to the northern region of the country in order to bring the public closer to this topic, besides spreading the assumptions of the European Digital Treasures project.
The Centro Português de Fotografia, such as the Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, is part of the Directorate-General of Books, Archives and Libraries. It is housed in a building that served as a prison called “Cadeia do Tribunal da Relação” in the 16th century (from 1501 to 1600), being located in the heart of Porto’s Historic Centre, next to the Torre dos Clérigos, an equally emblematic monument of the city.
As an effective result of one of the activities within the scope of the Eurpean Digital Treasures Project – New Business Models for European Archives in the XXI Century-, the General Directorate for Books, Archives and Libraries inaugurated, on 22nd of September 2022, the DGLAB virtual store, developed based on a modern and functional e-commerce platform.
The third of a series of three exhibitions developed within the framework of the European project European Digital Treasures is going on in Malta!
One may visit the exhibition ‘European Discoveries: From the New World to New Discoveries’ at the head office of the National Archives of Malta in Rabat. The narratives displayed make use of different technological tools that allow one to get to know our past through multiple channels.
45 documents from 25 archives from 8 countries tell micro-stories that shaped Europe, including 12 documents about medical developments, 15 documents related to industry and energy and 15 other documents deal with navigation and transport.
We hope that these innovative products will allow visitors to experiment and play, to learn and share, as well as to feel moved by our shared past!
Learn more about the exhibitions here and check various exhibition material, like catalogues and games here.
Written by Leonard Callus, National Archives of Malta.
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 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.
On September 2nd, 2022, the opening of the third part of the exhibition series of the EU project European Digital Treasures took place at the Museum am Dom in St. Pölten, Austria. After the questioning of the “becoming of Europe” in the first part and the thematic complex of migration, exile and solidarity in the second part, the third part is now dedicated to the broad field of “European discoveries and inventions”.
The ceremonial opening, which this time took place in the very well-filled summer refectory, was first introduced by the museum director Barbara Taubinger with her welcoming speech, followed by the head of the school district Benedikt Michal and the member of the state parliament Martin Michalitsch, who formulated his thoughts on the topic on behalf of the head of the state government. As a crowning finale, the exhibition was ceremoniously opened by Diocesan Bishop Alois Schwarz and the guests had the opportunity to view the exhibition in the museum premises.
Anabela Ribeiro and Olinda Cardoso, Portuguese partners of the Digital Treasures project were present at the opening and demonstrated the international friendships created within the project! Thanks for being there!
The show will be on display for two months until the end of October and uses primary sources from eight major European archives to convey the various aspects of the topic. The very broad field has been divided into the content areas of “Medicine”, “Energy and Industry” and “Transportation and Navigation” which can also be explored within the framework of guided tours.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.