The European archival community on its way into the Archives Portal Europe

Kick-off meeting for and with the Archives Portal Europe Country Managers



The first meeting of the Country Managers took place from 29–30 January 2013 at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (IT). Forty-five participants from 26 countries have shown a lot of enthusiasm and commitment to the project and we are very pleased about this engagement and eagerness to advance the Archives Portal Europe.
As the Country Managers for the Archives Portal Europe are the pivotal contact points for the dissemination and consolidation work of the portal, this workshop gave them the opportunity to get acquainted with the Archives Portal Europe's Country Managers team and also functioned as a tool to familiarise the Country Managers with their upcoming tasks.
Within this two-day workshop, the Country Managers had the time and space to share experiences, raise questions, concerns and suggestions etc and finally, learn hands-on about the upload, import and processing procedures of data into the portal.



After some welcoming words by Benedetto Benedetti (SNS) and Gerrit de Bruin (APEx Project Coordinator), the participants had the chance to introduce themselves to the whole group and voice their expectations for the meeting. To emphasise the importance and potential that lie in a project such as the Archives Portal Europe, Thomas Aigner (ICARUS) elaborated in his keynote address on the perspectives, challenges and opportunities of making Europe's archival content available online. The democratisation of knowledge and the freedom to easily access archival documents – the raw materials of our common history – is the credo that the APEx project strongly pursues.

With these general and shared aims in mind, the meeting continued with introducing the Country Managers to their upcoming tasks and roles within the development of the Archives Portal Europe. Lucile Grand (General Directorate for Cultural Heritage – Interdepartmental Service of Archives of France) offered detailed insight into what being a Country Manager is all about and how important their role is to ensure the sustainability of the Archives Portal Europe. Furthermore, Kerstin Muff (ICARUS) presented the Country Manager's Handbook which offers each Country Manager relevant step-by-step guidance for accomplishing their tasks and corresponding contacts within the APEx project for assistance and support.

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The second day of the meeting focused on acquainting the Country Managers with a hands-on approach to importing data into the portal. The guided workshop was led by Kerstin Arnold (Federal Archives of Germany) and Yoann Moranville (General Directorate for Cultural Heritage – Interdepartmental Service of Archives of France) and served to familiarise the Country Managers with the dashboard handling and data management of the Archives Portal Europe. After a run-through with prepared sets of data, the Country Managers had the chance to operate the portal functionalities with their own archival data.

Simultaneously, Kuldar Aas (National Archives of Estonia) led the evaluation session with a group of Country Managers that have already had some experience with the Archives Portal Europe. This session had as its objective the improvement of the portal's tools and asked the Country Managers for their specific feedback on the system's functionalities.

All in all, the meeting successfully stimulated the Country Managers' team spirit as many of them shared experiences and discussed their cooperation within the project not only during the official sessions but also beyond during coffee breaks and joint dinners. Likewise, the project management itself profited from the feedback given by the Country Managers which in turn gave the various Work Packages within the APEx project the opportunity to gain insight into the Country Managers' needs and align their work accordingly.

After so much positive and constructive input and response regarding such a Country Manager meeting, a follow-up gathering is already being planned.





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