Building Archiefbank 2.0

Archiefbank is the central portal for private archives in Flanders and Brussels. Within the framework of this platform’s funding for 2019-2023, it was given the opportunity to improve its database user-friendliness and accessibility. Archiefbank therefore asked meemoo for recommendations for how to achieve these improvements.

Challenge

Archiefbank is a collaboration between lots of different organisations. Together with cultural heritage communities and professional partners, it ensures that private archives become and remain visible to the public. Archiefbank promotes archive awareness, registers private archives and makes them available in a central database, and encourages the wide use of this database and the archives.

User-friendliness and accessibility are of course crucially important here, which is why Archiefbank Vlaanderen asked us for advice. KADOC (Documentation and Research Centre on Religion Culture and Society from KU Leuven) is responsible for archiefpunt.be, the platform’s underlying database, and is also our first point of contact for carrying out this professional consultancy assignment.

Our role

We convened our partner and stakeholder focus groups and used the input we received to devise a digital strategy. As an external partner, we were able to facilitate setting up a support platform between the various parties involved. Digital strategy and reuse are focal points of the work we do, which is why Archiefbank counted on our expertise to bring this project to a successful conclusion. We therefore studied the existing infrastructure and looked at how Archiefbank Vlaanderen and its partners and end users work with it, before drawing up an action plan which enabled Archiefbank Vlaanderen to execute its digital strategy in stages.

Finally, we also provided advice for writing a grant application to implement a number of points on the action plan, which ultimately resulted in the Digitale Architectuur Traject Archiefbank Vlaanderen (DATA) project.

Approach

This professional consultancy assignment consisted of three parts:

1. Create a digital strategy

We drew up a strategy to achieve Archiefbank Vlaanderen’s (digital) objectives. These objectives revolve around four themes:

  • content;

  • heritage communities;

  • revenues;

  • the organisation.

User-friendliness and accessibility are central to these objectives. We defined the needs, experiences and methods used, and agreed certain performance factors and indicators to measure the strategy’s success.

>>Read the digital strategy at CEST (cultural heritage standards toolbox).

2. Study the IT infrastructure

We researched Archiefbank’s available IT infrastructure and looked at how it could help achieve their digital strategy by describing the current and desired situations. We also sent out a survey to assess Archiefbank’s user-friendliness and accessibility, and formulated possible improvements based on the responses we received.

>> You can find our recommendations at CEST (cultural heritage standards toolbox).

3. Draw up an overview of specific recommended actions

We helped Archiefbank further by drawing up an action plan for deploying its IT infrastructure and achieving the digital strategy in both the medium and long term. This action plan was divided into work packages, with new profiles defined for Archiefbank personnel to help implement the digital strategy. This third part of the consultancy project was developed further in the DATA project.

>> Check out the action plan at CEST (cultural heritage standards toolbox).

Partners

Archiefbank Vlaanderen is a collaboration between Letterenhuis (‘The House of Literature’), ADVN (Archive for National Movements), Amsab-Institute of Social History, KADOC (Documentation and Research Centre on Religion Culture and Society from KU Leuven), CAVA (Centre for Academic and Liberal Archives), VAi (Flanders Architecture Institute), Liberas (Liberal Archive), AMVB (Archive and Museum for the Flemish Living in Brussels) and the State Archives of Belgium.

Do you have a question?
Contact Rony Vissers
Manager Expertise
Do you have a question?
Contact Bert Lemmens
Expertise Officer