One dream of many people
We are a passionate international team working to create a one-stop web service to make European archives as accessible as possible. Colleagues from all over Europe work together very closely to make this dream come true. Previously users had to visit various archival websites for their research, but the Archives Portal Europe enables them to find information more efficiently from millions of archival materials stored in hundreds of archival institutions. This is the first time European archives have collaborated on this scale, and the potential that these connections provide is enormous for both archival professionals and the users.
The Archives Portal Europe is one of the main milestones achieved by the projects APEnet and APEx – supported by the European Commission since 2009 – in which, by September 2015, more than 30 project partners representing a corresponding number of European countries have participated. From October 2015 onwards, the Archives Portal Europe will be maintained and developed further by the Archives Portal Europe Foundation, now financially independent and supported by the national archives of the participating countries. Those interested in more background information or in the possibility to participate in the portal or the foundation may refer directly to the foundation's website at: www.archivesportaleuropefoundation.eu.
Power of development
The Archives Portal Europe has been created and enhanced through years of collective development. In particular, we have made considerable efforts to implement standardisation with common European profiles of the international XML schemas EAD (Encoded Archival Description), EAC-CPF (Encoded Archival Context – Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families), EAG (Encoded Archival Guide) and METS (Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) and to create tools to manage and publish complex data from a wide range of archives across Europe.
The principle is simple: each partner converts his/her data into this common format before integrating it in the portal using the local Data Preparation Tool or the online tool available in the portal's backend. The realisation of this conversion and validation tool thus relies on international standards and the project has developed standards usable by all.
In preparation for Europeana
The Archives Portal Europe also cooperates with Europeana to make archival material searchable and findable within its cross-domain approach of presenting cultural heritage objects online from libraries, archives, museums and audio-visual collections. We are an important strategic partner of Europeana and are working with them to develop a common digital infrastructure for cultural heritage across Europe.