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Dear readers, We are happy to present to you our first News Bulletin of 2014! Constantly trying to improve our offerings to you, we have given the bulletin a new design and concept. We have chosen this online platform for publishing as it gives you a stronger feeling of actually browsing through a journal – maybe at leisure during your coffee break on your smartphone or tablet? The bulletin will also remain available for download as a PDF. The news bulletin will be published quarterly, bringing you up to speed on the most recent developments of the Archives Portal Europe as well as introducing you to our partner institutions, Country Managers, APEx team members and activities that have and will be going on. We are delighted to dedicate a special focus within this issue on the Greek Central Service of the General State Archives (GSA) as the year 2014 marks its 100th anniversary. The GSA is one of our most committed project partners, enthusiastically contributing and working on enriching and deepening the Archives Portal Europe and it is with pleasure that we can introduce them up close to you with this first news bulletin of 2014. Without further ado, we would like to give the floor to Dr Marietta Minotos (Director of the General State Archives). Her introductory words reflect on the cooperation between the APEx project and the GSA and are our official preface to this bulletin. We hope you will enjoy reading and exploring the bulletin as much as we have had fun creating it for you!

Cheerio,

____________________ Kerstin Muff (APEx Editorial Manager)


APEx project office - Nationaal Archief Prins Willem Alexanderhof 20 2595 BE - The Hague The Netherlands +31 (0)70 331 5416

Project co-funded by the European Commission within the ICT Policy Support Programme


Contents

Preface Release 1.2 of the Archives Portal Europe The “Featured Document� The Country Managers The Country ManAger Coordinator Country Manager Interview: Lina Bountouri Articles Usability tests Upcoming events


Welcome to the Archives Portal Europe!


Dear readers, colleagues and friends, On the occasion of the release of this year’s first news bulletin, I would like to start this short note by highlighting the importance of the year 2014 for the Central Service of the General State Archives (GSA) as 100 years have passed since its establishment. In this context, we are delighted that very important cultural and scientific events are in progress, in parallel with our strategic aims and objectives at national and international level. You can see all these events and more on our official website www.gak.gr. Among the abovementioned, the APEx project plays a crucial role because it reflects the actual policy of the GSA as it has been expressed by our participation in the APEnet project which promoted access to valuable archival material and the know-how of delivering such a large-scale European project. The General State Archives (GSA) has been actively participating in the APEx project for the last two years. During this period, the GSA worked harmoniously with other European partners and has managed to fulfill successfully the scientific goals set up. Our participation has been a great opportunity for us to improve our knowledge and qualifications both on scientific and technical matters and in addition, we have had the chance to broaden the horizons of our cooperation with countries abroad. Participation in the APEx project underlines our common European cultural and archival heritage and the significance rendered by the European countries to the right of every citizen of the continent to access this endless archival treasure.

Finally, I personally would like to express my gratitude to all my colleagues in Greece and in Europe for the fruitful atmosphere they have managed to create throughout these past two years which I am certain will be maintained until the completion of the APEx project and its ultimate success.

Dr Marietta Minotos Director of the General State Archives


In February 2014 we released an enhanced version of the Archives Portal Europe with a variety of new features and improved existing functionalities of the portal. So far there have been two major releases of the Archives Portal Europe: release 1.1 in January 2013 and the aforementioned release 1.2. In between these two significant phases, there have furthermore been two minor, intermediate releases of the portal, gradually leading from Curious? Well then, log on to the Archives Portal Europe and let us know what you think of it! We will keep working on improving the portal for you and keep you in the loop on our further progress.

Read up on the release 1.2 here.

the first to the second official release.


Publication of the release 1.2 of the Archives Portal Europe Here are a few examples of where our release has been announced on the web. Maybe you have even learned about it from one of these sites?


The “Featured Document” on the Archives Portal Europe

The “Featured Document” on the starting page of the portal has already been in place for a few months. Here, each of our participating partners is given a platform to publish and highlight sample material from their collections to give you an

insight into their holdings and thereby reveal the Archives Portal Europe’s treasure chest to you.


Since we have reserved some extra space for the GSA in this issue, click

here and explore where it leads you to!


The Archives Portal Europe

Country Managers Country Manager: the person representing the portal and thereby acting as its official delegate and primary contact point within his/her respective country. Each country participating in the Archives Portal Europe has a so-called Country Manager. There is always one Country Manager (and in some cases his/her supporting team) per country, even if there is more than one institution of one country participating in the Archives Portal Europe. The Country Manager qualifies himself/herself through his/her obvious involvement in and experience with (inter)national activities within the archival world and engagement in branch organisations in his/her country. He/she is the pivotal asset to expanding the Archives Portal Europe beyond the APEx project’s lifetime. Acting as a quintessential link to the future, the Country Manager will continue widening and deepening the Archives Portal Europe network of content providers and initiate and support a variety of dissemination and training activities which continuously further the portal’s substantial expansion.


The Country Manager Coordinator There is a whole network of Country Managers across Europe, all eagerly working on furthering the Archives Portal Europe. In order for this community to fulfill its potential, there needs to be a coordinator – the

Country Manager Coordinator. Check out Wim’s blog archief 2.0! THE network for archivists in the Netherlands and Flandern.

Right now, our Country Manager Coordinator is Wim van Dongen from the Nationaal Archief in the Netherlands. He acts as the link between the APEx project and the Country Manager community.

Country Coordinator The

Manager

trains new members to the team of Country Managers on their responsibilities, from technical issues to PR activities.


Central Service of the General State Archives of Greece (GSA).


Country Manager Now, this might all sound a bit abstract to you. To make the role of a Country Manager more tangible for you, we conducted interviews with a number of Country Managers of which we will publish one (or more) with each issue of the news bulletin.

Starting off is Lina Bountouri from the Central Service of the General State Archives of Greece.

What is your name and where do you work? My name is Lina Bountouri and I work in the Central Service of the General State Archives of Greece (GSA).

What is your professional background, meaning what is your position and your area of work within your institution? I have worked as an archivist and librarian in the software development industry and I am still working as an academic lecturer, teaching archives management. In the General State Archives of Greece, I hold the position of archivist in the Planning, Coordination and Studies Department. My area of work within my institution is to follow and participate in the international activities of the General State Archives of Greece in close cooperation with the Director’s office. Moreover, I am a metadata specialist; hence I participate in related efforts.


For which country are you the Country Manager? Greece.

How would you describe your responsibilities as Country Manager? The Country Manager’s role is quite crucial, active and simultaneously quite interesting since, as the major contact point for APEx, the CM has an overview of a variety of tasks and roles at national level such as:     

Monitoring the archival landscape Attracting content providers and end-users Expanding the network of content providers Disseminating and enhancing the APE Having a thorough knowledge of the portal (front and back-end users) and tools  Translating project texts

Do you have a team supporting your work as Country Manager? All participants in WPs are supporting and participating in the CM’s work, since many of the CM activities are divided and assigned according to the tasks of each WP (WP1, WP2, WP4 and WP7).


Our readers are surely curious to get a glimpse behind the curtain of the work of a Country Manager. Is there such a thing as a typical Country Manager’s day? The CM in Greece up to this point deals on a daily basis with communication with other archival institutions and the updating of its knowledge in relation to the use of standards and metadata schemas (for instance, the CM follows the EAD3 development). Moreover, the CM – as part of its communication with the potential content providers – has to be updated on a) the use of their archival information system; b) the use of standards, metadata schemas and knowledge organisation systems in it; c) the information systems’ export capabilities and d) the availability of digital objects. Also, the CM organises meetings with the content providers in order to present the APEx project and to examine their available data. Finally, the CM attends some of the GSA APEx team meetings and keeps the project manager and the Director of the GSA posted on CM activities.

What´s the news on activities and events?

Regarding the promotion material, we have translated and adapted the following flyers concerning the APEx project:  Archives Portal Europe  Content providers  How to join the APE network Furthermore, a press release regarding our participation to the project has been issued (also in an online version) and an extra unified leaflet (combining all the above) has been launched in order to be distributed to the wider public of the Service.


The promotion material has been disseminated to the Central Service of the General State Archives and its Regional Services, the Advisory Council of the GSA, academiclevel archival schools and institutions, libraries and museums all over Greece. Last but not least, an APE/APEx/Europeana poster (A3) in Greek is going to be launched in the upcoming events. As for meetings and workshops, during the next few months, the team is planning a presentation of the APE/APEx, open to the public, in the Central Service of the GSA and lectures in the academic-level archival schools of Greece.

How do you value the Country Managers community’s team work? Until now, the Country Manager did not have the opportunity to participate in the arranged Country Manager meetings. However, the CM uses the Country Manager forum for facilitating the communication between them and having an overview of all activities.

International partnership and travel. Doesn´t it?

implies

work

The Country Manager has sent dissemination material prepared by WP7 members to a variety of archival institutions, museums, libraries, archival schools. Furthermore, the CM has already visited potential content providers such as historical archives, private banks archives and has programmed upcoming contacts and visits to several institutions.

What´s your experience with users of the Archives Portal Europe? Through contact with the users of the APE, the majority of them consider it to be quite user-friendly and functional, with effective and easy navigation and orientation, consistent enough so as not to confuse the user. The portal is simple to use and provides help and support to the user while it consists of a single access point, a useful and valuable tool for their archival research.


What would you like our readers to know about the Archives Portal Europe? The APE is giving the chance to its users to have a wider view of the Europe’s common historical and cultural events, while at the same time, users can get a glimpse of each European country’s regional and national archival treasures.

From your point of view, how does the Archives Portal Europe impact the archival community?

The APE has a great impact on the way archivists and related professionals work since they have to search through a single access point, avoiding the time-consuming procedure of searching in the collections of each national archives of Europe individually. Through this way, the APE provides them effectively and efficiently with an overview and panorama of archival collections and treasures kept in the national archives.


The Archives Portal Europe offers a special

highlight:

The

Featured

Document.

Does your institution contribute any gems from within your archive?

Our institution has already prepared three “Featured Documents” including the oldest document held in our Service, the masterpiece of “Charta of Greece” and a representative sample of a structured file of the King Otto period in order to be uploaded shortly to the Archives Portal Europe. More specifically, our selected gems include:  Evangelion (Gospel lectionary), GSA-CSA, manuscript collection, Evangelion, MS 238, 10–11th century  The Charta of Greece (Map of Greece) by Rigas Feraios, collection of engravings, n. 475, 1797  Acropolis of Athens (Akropolis von Athen), the Secretariat (Ministry) for Ecclesiastical Affairs and Public Education rchive, 6 Archaeological Service, File 44, sub-file 7, 1836 In February 2014 the Charta of Greece (1797) was uploaded as a “Featured Document” to the Archives Portal Europe.

Where is your institution in terms of providing archival material? So far, we have published in the Archives Portal Europe the following finding aids:  GSA, Secretariat/Ministry of Ecclesiastical issues and State Education archive, 1833–1848  GSA, Secretariat/Ministry of Finance archive, 1833–1862  GSA, Secretariat/Military Ministry archive, 1833–1862  GSA, Ministry of Finance archive : National lands, 1833–1869


 GSA, Election material from the Greek Parliament archive, 1844– 1893, 1915  Archives from Kefalonia, Venetian Administration archive: Administration of the Assos Fortress. Proveditori of Assos (Fortezza di Asso: Provveditori di Asso), 1597–1797  Historical Archive of Crete, Official Journal of the Cretan State, 1898–1914 We are currently preparing the metadata of the finding aids to be sent during 2014:  Georgios Ladas Collection (Parliament archive, Council of State archive, election material archive)  Giannis Vlachogiannis Collection (War of Independence archive, Ioanis Kapodistrias governing period archive, reign of Otto period archive, King George I period archive, private collections, manuscripts, election material)  Collection of engravings  Exchangeables Fund archive  Awards/Military Ministry archive  Technical Services Division archive, Ministry of National Education and Religious Affairs (MNERA)  Gospel (parchment), 10–11th century All findings aids are being elaborated and extracted in EAD format from the GSA information system Arxeiomnimon. Part of the abovementioned collections will also be published on Europeana.


What���s your experience of using the content management tool – W the hdashboard of the portal? lle uploading our finding aids through the dashboard, the content management tool proved to be easy to navigate and user-friendly.

How can can you you be be contacted? contacted? How

The CM’s email is org05@gak.gr and its telephone number is +302106782273

Any last words?

Good luck to all of us!


The Greek APEx team says: “Participating in WP7 gave me the “ticket” to the multilingual and multicultural world of Dissemination and Training…a colourful world of leaflets, graphics, logos, press releases, posters…“lost” in translations and a creative world where you call into play your imagination and innovative ideas. Participating in APEx gives you the opportunity to reach out to new users and partners,

disclose

and

spread

abroad

APEx/APE

knowledge and keep up their enthusiasm vivid…and it is so prolific when you see your ideas coming true!!!” Anna Koulikourdi, WP7

“I have really enjoyed all aspects of work that havebeen done so far on this programme!! I highly recommend everyone to participate and become a member of such a valuable network!! After participating in the APEx project for the past two years, I can assure you that the cooperation with members from other countries is excellent, my knowledge on international archival standards has greatly been enhanced and getting familiar with the IT tools that have been developed is something valuable to me and my department!!” Theano Asprogeraka, member of WP2 and WP4


New section on the APEx project website:

Articles Establishing and developing the Archives Portal Europe opens up the opportunity for professional discourse on inspiring and up-to-date topics on the pressing matters of how archives can meet the challenges of the digital world, how to provide access to digital archival material, technical standards, online publishing and many more. Many of these topics were presented, demonstrated and argued at our Archives Portal Europe conference in June 2013 in Dublin (IE). This dense assembly of current scientific and academic approaches towards archives in the digital age has sparked great interest in the audience and a significant response from experts, young professionals and the general public alike.


Therefore the APEx team decided to react to this strong echo and has started to publish the presentations that were given in Dublin – digitally on the APEx project homepage, for the time being. The publishing of these papers started in February 2014 (within the articles section of the APEx homepage) and has consequently been announced via news alerts, Facebook and Twitter. Not only does this online platform allow for the conference contributions to be accessible to the public but it will also function as a podium for topics from within the APEx project. At the end of the APEx project (in 2015), we will finally publish a selection of papers (book form and digital). The publishing of articles and papers is open to APEx project partners as well as professionals who deal with the general topic of how to build sustainable infrastructures for archives in a digital world and closely related topics. The articles are subject to editorial supervision before online publishing and will pass a peer review prior to book publication.

Interested in publishing a paper on our website? Give us a buzz here!


The APEx project regularly conducts usability tests on the Archives Portal Europe in order to learn more about practical user experiences and issues (dashboard as well as front-end users). Just recently, such tests were carried out again in which twelve partner countries participated. In parallel with these, focus group evaluations were conducted in Germany, Croatia and Hungary and a user survey featured on the Archives Portal Europe starting page. These different tests and evaluations help the APEx team significantly in further improving the portal in accordance with and in close connection with actual user needs and demands. The first evaluations were carried out in 2012 and focused on the content providers, that is, the archivists who actually upload their archival material to the portal via the DPT and dashboard. The main aspects the APEx team wanted to learn about were, for example, how self-explanatory and easy to use are the dashboard tools provided, is the uploaded data displayed correctly etc.


The user survey launched in parallel on the entry page to the Archives Portal Europe mainly aimed at finding out who is actually making use of the portal so far. In contrast, the most recent evaluation phase has put the focus on the portal´s end users as such where the archivists who are APEx team members observed their colleagues on how they as first-time users use the portal’s functionalities. These types of trans-national evaluations on a portal – as they are being carried out by the APEx project that builds the backbone of developing the Archives Portal Europe – is a unique and unparalleled operation and we sure are more than curious to see the results!

As participating Portuguese archive within the Archives Portal Europe, we evaluated the Archives Portal Europe 1.2 release with the support of two professional researchers. Our two regulars of the reference and reading room are specialists in Medieval and Contemporary History, aged between 40 and 55 and enthusiastically volunteered to take part in this evaluation. After the usability test, we asked them to share with us their opinion on the portal’s functionalities, design and interface – all valuable information for us to forward to the respective Archives Portal Europe developers team. Our two volunteers enjoyed exploring the portal and will recommend it to friends and colleagues as they said it was a valuable asset to their research work.

The National Archive of Torre do Tombo in Portugal let us peek over their shoulder while conducting an Archives Portal Europe evaluation with archival experts.


The APEx homepage, Facebook and Twitter will be our transmitter!


14 April 2014 Archives Portal Europe workshop for Dutch archivists Location: Nationaal Archief – The Hague – The Netherlands Click here for more information

12 May 2014 Archives Portal Europe workshop for Dutch archivists The Netherlands Click here and here for more information


Archives Portal Europe News Bulletin: #1/2014