EUAN


Second Meeting, Stockholm 17-18 June 1999



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Report


Attendance (click here for a picture): Per-Gunnar Ottosson, Björn Lindh, Göran Kristiansson, RA; Ishbel Barnes, SCAN; George MacKenzie, John Shaw, NAS; Bruna Colarossi, NAI; Amanda Elsinghorst, Jaap Kloosterman, IISG.


1. NAI Project Description

Bruna gave a description of the Allied Control Commission (ACC) project, which is the part of NAI participating in EUAN. The project involves receiving microfilm of the documents held in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington and compiling a computerised index to file level. At the Indicator or top level, the descriptions are not particularly rich and it is at the sub indicator level that the most valuable information for users is found. It was agreed that this may impact on the definition of top level used in EUAN.

Overview of The Descriptive System

e.g.:

  • 10000/ is the indicator, e.g. Headquarters
  • 10000/100/ is the sub indicator for region IV Lazio and Umbria (military regions, not modern administrative ones)
  • 10000/100/123 is the file number

The Index carries:

  • Indicator/sub-indicator/file no.
  • Reel no.
  • Title
  • Date
  • Notes
  • No of frames in file

2. Users and Usage

These are key issues for the project. It is important to consider potential users as well as those who already use physical services or websites. It was agreed that a recommendation might be made to Commission to investigate a cross-sectoral inter-European survey of users and potential users.

3. Impact of Legislation

PG reported that Sweden appears to be relaxing its previous strict interpretation of the privacy legislation. Tim reminded the meeting that under the European Directive on privacy and data protection it is necessary to know who the data controller is in each project.

4. Discussion on Descriptive Elements

It was agreed that the ISAD(G) core of 5 elements for international data exchange is valid for the prototype. It was noted that name of creator is likely to be included in the core elements at the next revision of the standard, and that this element should also be adopted. In addition, the following additional elements should be included:

  • administrative/biographical history
  • scope and content/abstract
  • access conditions
  • finding aids
  • language

The consortium partners agreed to produce a set of specimen entries based on these elements by the end of August for discussion.

The Dublin Core elements are worth further investigation, and it was agreed to do this, by first looking at relevant Australian work.

The importance of name authorities was recognised, and it was agreed to gather more information on what exists in the different partner countries and elsewhere in Europe. The development of a pan-European name authority standard was, however, seen as problematic.

5. Language Issues

The specimen entries mentioned in 4 above will also be produced in at least two languages, to test some of the problems of multi-lingual working. It was agreed that the EUAN prototype must support multi-lingual working, and that both language of fonds and language of finding aid are important.

Noting the proposal in RA to provide translations of abstracts or at least of key words, it was agreed to mark the specimen entries to show terms (or whole elements) that would need to be translated.

This issue will come up at the EVA meeting in Munich, at which EUAN will be represented.

The ICA draft dictionary of terms will provide a valuable basis for translations of technical archival terms. It was agreed to formally inform ICA about the intention to use these terms.

6. Co-operation with Other Projects

In view of the importance of co-operation it was agreed that, in addition to EVA, steps should be taken to work more closely with the European library research project MALVINE, the ICA Descriptive Standards Committee (ICA/CDS) and the Research Libraries Group (RLG). Liaison with the New Haven group is already assured by Goran Kristiansson of RA.

7. Dissemination

EUAN will be represented at the Croatian Archival Association conference in September.

The website is now available at the IISG address. The domain name euan.org has been registered, but not yet implemented. The website will be progressively developed in the coming months.

8. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the archival expert group will be in Rome on 4-5 November. The technical group on Workpackage 3 will meet in Edinburgh on 21-22 September and coincide with a conference on Encoded Archival Description.


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Conclusions


All consortium partners were represented at the meeting in Stockholm, where it was agreed that:

1. ISAD(G) (and ISAR(CPF)) are valuable tools in our work, but we must remember they are not model finding aids nor are they data dictionaries;

2. Both the archival model and the technical implementation of the EUAN prototype, must support multi-lingual working; The ICA Dictionary terms (DAT3) provide a core of technical archival terms that should be incorporated in the prototype.

3. The top level is still a valid aim for the prototype, but attention needs to be paid to what top level includes. In the Allied Control Commission archives, for example, the top or Indicator level is not of much use to a potential user without the sub-indicator level. This must be addressed in the EUAN prototype.

4. The prototype must have at least two distinct interfaces, one for the archivist, which includes all the levels/element names, and one for the user, who is not interested in levels or archival theory, which will be much simpler and easier to use.

5. The prototype must also be developed with a range of users in mind, including the problematic group of new users. Means of testing with a range of users must also be developed. There may be a role for the European Commission, to investigate a cross-sectoral inter-European survey of users and potential users.

6. In view of European-wide legislation to comply with the Directive on data protection and personal privacy, it is essential to know who the data controller is for the project.

7. The ISAD(G) core of 6 elements for international data exchange is valid for the prototype. (This includes name of creator, which will be included in the core at the next revision.) In addition, certain other elements should be included:

  • administrative/biographical history
  • scope and content/abstract
  • access conditions
  • finding aids
  • language

We should test these with specimen descriptions from each partner.

8. The term data exchange is not helpful as we are interested in making available information. We still need a way of defining this. (dissemination has a specific meaning in this project already.)

9. Co-operation with other projects is crucial and in particular, in addition to EVA, steps should be taken to work more closely with the European library research project MALVINE, the ICA Descriptive Standards Committee (ICA/CDS) and the Research Libraries Group (RLG).

10. The following should be communicated to ICA Secretary General Joan van Albada:

"The European Union Archive Network EUAN, is working to define standards for multi-lingual, trans-national description of archives. Recognising the vital importance of professional terminology, EUAN wishes to use the work of the ICA DAT 3 terminology group, both in its current form and with any future enhancements, and to incorporate it into a database within the prototype software system that is being developed for the project."

11. It was noted that the Dublin Core was worth investigating, but that leading work has already been done in this area by Australians at Monash University. This will be consulted first, to judge the areas of synergy with EUAN work.

12. Name authorities are desirable and more information on what exists in different countries would be welcome. However, the idea of a pan-European name authority file is a long way in the future, and may never be possible.


George MacKenzie
Project Co-ordinator
5 July 1999


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Last updated 7 July 1999.

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