Opening Archives to General Public, a data modelling approach


Publication date



Høgskolen i Oslo. Avdeling for journalistikk, bibliotek- og informasjonsvitenskap

Document type


Joint Master Degree in Digital Library Learning (DILL)


By placing their descriptions on-line, Archives have gained greater public. This new public is mainly consisting of the novice users not familiar with the archival research. Archival research is conducted through the Finding Aids that serve users as a guide to the discovery of archival holdings. However those Finding Aids were originally used by the archivist for the records management and for interpreting users’ requests by deriving answers from provenance and context driven descriptions. In the on-line environment, Finding Aids are usually accessible through the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard. The EAD was developed with the purpose of encoding and capturing many different archival descriptive practices The problem has arisen with this notion that Finding Aids in the on-line environment have the exact same form as before, just without the archivist as an mediating factor. This causes many problems to the general user public that is not familiar with the archival research process. This thesis tends to explore one possible approach for facilitating access on behalf of the general user public to the archival holdings in on-line environment. This approach is by transforming the data encoded in EAD standard to another, more general mode. The goal model in question is the Europeana Data Model (EDM) developed for the purpose of Europeana v.1.0. project. The objective of this thesis is investigating weather EDM would bring the wanted changes to the accessibility of archival data. In order to achieve this, the general method for mapping EAD standard to EDM was developed. Furthermore the method developed was applied on the two fonds originating from the archive of Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, musical academy in Rome, for the purpose of validation of the developed method and analyzing the results of the mapping. The results of this study have shown that transforming archival description in EDM would bring certain improvements to the non-expert users accessing on-line. The main improvements are regarding terminology, facilitated access to the different levels of the archival description, improved search functionalities and better visibility of archival holdings.


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