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Newsletter 24 Jan

 



Newsletter 24 jan 2012

The APEnet project is over – Long live the Archives Portal Europe

As the APEnet project has run to its successful ending and the main goal of the project – the Archives Portal Europe – is now a fully functional portal up and running at www.archivesportaleurope.eu

At the moment the portal contains more than 14 million descriptive units linked to approximately 64 million digitised pages of archival materials


Contents:
New release of the Archives Portal Europe
Dashboard access handed over to partners
Europeana interoperability now fully active
Content Checker available for partners
APEnet will continue as APEX and expand
Project dissemination activities



New release of the Archives Portal Europe


The maintenance and development of the various functions of the portal and its adjacent tools are continuing seamlessly, at the moment with priority to multilingual issues. Based on an enhanced infrastructure and an optimised search engine, a new release has just been launched which contains many improvements such as:

• Extensive auto-completion and auto-suggestion functionalities based on the full content of the portal, to assist users by suggesting related or similar search terms when they enter their own. This helps them to find their way in the huge amount of archival material already available and shows them the richness of the content as well as representing a first step towards multilingualism.

• A completely renewed “navigated search”, now allowing users to browse the archival material within the framework of its original structures and to directly access the full display of the holdings guides and finding aids available, in order to evaluate these documents before including them in a search. Users can now easily select all kinds of combinations of whole countries and particular institutions, and include all their material in a search via one single step.

• An improved “list view” for giving access to search results in a Google-like way, offering a variety of options to either sort or refine search results as best fitting the user’s needs to narrow down as quickly as possible to those results in which he/she is most interested.

• A more user-friendly “preview function” giving access to details of the search results in the pages of the “list view” and the “context view” via ‘mouse-over’ functionality, which also enables users to immediately switch to a particular search result in the full context of its finding aid.

• A possibility for users to register themselves in order to be able to store search queries to be used later. This basic user functionality will be enhanced in later versions to enable users to personalise their use of the Archives Portal Europe


This third release – taking the Archives Portal Europe from beta-phase to alpha-phase – is another major step towards the final release that will be launched at the end of the APEnet project in January 2012. As always, we welcome your feedback which can be sent using the contact form.

 

Dashboard access handed over to partners


The most visible part of the Archives Portal Europe is of course the front-end but the APEnet team has not forgotten to improve the portal’s back-end as well. This “Dashboard”, which gives content providers the opportunity to upload, convert, validate, index and publish their data themselves, is also more user-friendly now and in addition, is loaded with many extra features which makes it much easier for content providers to manage the data they want to publish via the Archives Portal Europe and Europeana.

During the Communicating Archival Metadata conference in Stockholm in June and the CITRA conference in Toledo in October, the APEnet team organised workshops to show the partners and representatives of other interested archival institutions how to use the Archives Portal Europe’s Dashboard. As a result of this, the APEnet team has transferred the responsibility for the data administration to each individual partner with the latest release of the Archives Portal Europe, providing them access to their own data via the Dashboard. Through this, the Archives Portal Europe has now fulfilled its promise to be an instrument created by archival institutions for archival institutions, to enable the European archival community to best publish its data to a wide audience.





Europeana interoperability now fully active


While improving the Dashboard, the APEnet team has also successfully tested the Archives Portal Europe’s OAI-PMH interface in cooperation with the Europeana ingestion team. So the APEnet consortium partners can now also start using the built-in APEnet EAD to ESE (v3.3) functionality to forward their data to Europeana.

Content checker available for partners


In addition, the APEnet team has set up a complete demo environment of the Archives Portal Europe software on a dedicated webserver of the Nationaal Archief in the Netherlands in order to enable the consortium partners to familiarise themselves with the functionality of the Archives Portal Europe’s Dashboard, before they embark on managing their data in the production environment.

This demo environment, called Content Checker, contains all functionality of the “real” Archives Portal Europe (except for the OAI-PMH functionality) and provides the partners with the opportunity to educate themselves in using the possibilities of data administration and publication via the Archives Portal Europe without any consequence for their “real” data set in the production environment.

 



APEnet goes APEX


While the entire APEnet technical team was putting a lot of effort in the new Archives Portal Europe release, the APEnet Project Management Team devoted a lot of time to organising a follow-up on the APEnet project, in which the Nationaal Archief (The Netherlands) took the lead.
A proposal for a follow-up project called APEX (Archives Portal Europe network of eXcellence), to be financed by the EU ICT PSP programme, received a very good review and also passed the final selection afterwards and is currently under negotiation.
The APEX project will continue the work of the APEnet project but will also focus on expanding the Archives Portal Europe network by getting more partners/countries on board, helping regional and local institutions holding archival content to publish their data via the Archives Portal Europe and thus forwarding more archival data towards Europeana. The first mentioned objective has already been reached (more or less) because the APEX consortium will consist of the national archival institutions of 28 European countries, plus ICARUS. The fact that all those institutions were very eager to cooperate within the new project can be considered as a major success of the current APEnet project.
It is expected that the APEX Grant Agreement can be signed early December 2011, after which the project will start on 1 March 2012. More details about the APEX project will be made available in due course at www.apex-project.eu.

 


APEnet is a collaboration between
nineteen European national archives
and Europeana.

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