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The EHRI Archival Portal Starts Taking Shape

Between 9th and 11th May 2012, Karsten Kühnel, Archivist and Head of the section Archival Description at the International Tracing Service (ITS), attended a conference of the Work Package Standards and Guidelines of the Archives and Research Portal EHRI (European Holocaust Research Infrastructure). EHRI partners met at the Finnish National Archives in Helsinki in order to jointly prepare a report on standards which will allow archives and other institutions to effortlessly render searchable their description data in the EHRI Portal.

The EHRI project that was started with 20 partner organizations from 13 countries – among them the ITS – in October 2010 intends to create an online portal that will give an overview of Holocaust-related archival material spread all over the world. Considering that EHRI can access and process electronically structured data only, it is indispensable that the inventories, finding aids and archival descriptions are converted into consistent technical standards.

To get an overview of the electronic infrastructure of the partner organizations involved, the EHRI Work Package Standards and Guidelines collected data by means of an online questionnaire in the past months. The partners were asked about their current status of indexing and cataloguing classical archival, librarian and audio-visual collections as well as further special collections kept by single institutions. “Since our standards wholly correspond with the standards favoured by EHRI, the ITS description software proved to be optimally suited for the uncomplicated integration of our data into the EHRI portal”, explained Kühnel.

The participants also gave attention to the guidelines data providers should be equipped with. These guidelines shall inform the latter how their data can be made optimally searchable and findable in EHRI. And they are to advise how the archival description of collections may be enriched by contents generated by users (Web 2.0) in EHRI.