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

Enabling digital access

Enabling public access to archives is one of the most important objectives of archival repositories. This subject is therefore paid a great deal of attention. The possibilities afforded by making archives and collections available in digital form have, of course, a very important and positive role to play. Ongoing developments in ICT support innovation and improvement. The State Archives Service and the National Archive are involved in a great number of collaborative projects that aim to improve accessibility and usability of the website.

It has not yet been possible to optimally digitise all archives and collections of the National Archive. The Digital Content project seeks to address this and make these archives and collections publicly accessibe in digital form. As the amount of files is too large to realise this objective for all archives in the short term, the project is examining and establishing which items must be prioritised.

The eArchive in Development vision document (2009 – 2014) asks that the consortium of Regional History Centres (RHCs) and the National Archive identify which ten percent of the total national collections is of most interest to the public and should be made available in digital form over the next ten years. Thiis is a significant request but one which is surely worthwhile.

In the first instance, digitised archives and collections that will be made available at will include:

  • large and frequently used items that are susceptible to wear and tear
  • items that are exceedingly popular with the public