National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

EAD/ICA-AtoM to share history

In April 2010, during the MCH Conference in Paramaribo (Suriname), the MCH partners supported the idea of providing online access to our shared history through an MCH Archives Website. The principles of such a website were defined in November 2010, during the MCH Portal Conference in Albany.

International standard

One of the recommendations, endorsed by all MCH partners, was to use the international standard EAD (Encoding Archival Description) for encoding archival finding aids. Another recommendation was to explore the possibility of using ICA-AtoM, a web-based archival description software based on ICA standards. 


In order to familiarize the participants with EAD and ICA-AtoM, the Nationaal Archief organized a workshop from 24 – 30 November in The Hague. The training was attended by representatives from each MCH country and given by Ivo Zandhuis and Maaike Lulofs. During the first part of the workshop the participants converted a finding aid in Microsoft Word to EAD. The second part of the training focused on ICA-AtoM, which can be used as EAD editor. 

Train the trainer

As all MCH workshops are based on the train-the-trainer principle, each participant returned home with two tasks: to pass the EAD and ICA-AtoM knowledge on to colleagues; and to continue using ICA-AtoM in order to create finding aids in EAD. The participants and trainers can stay in touch with each other for advice via the EAD/ICA-AtoM Facebook group.

For more information, see the report of Mrs. Lunette Lourens, one of the South African participants of the workshop.