The Initial Situation
Challenges for Researcher
Numerous important documents and written historical sources of the border region Austria-Slovakia are kept in the national, regional and clerical archives of both countries. These mutual historical sources compose an essential part of European cultural beneficiaries. Therefore they are not only important for people living in the border regions but also for the wide public in general. The values of those documents for cultural and touristic activities – for example marketing activities in castles, churches, monasteries or even towns and cities – have been hardly promoted nor actively utilized in the past.
Often the public desire to research about their own history is retarded through some hurdles. Most of all the understandability of language, the readability of the ancient scripts, their decentralized storage and limited access to the documents made it difficult to explore the written sources. The free online access facilitates now a borderless and timeless utilization.
Challenges for Archives
Over the past few years, irresistible transformations of archives have taken place, leading them onto a path into the digital future. No longer are they just purely information service providers for analog documents but instead have changed into providers of digital materials. The pertained documents have many particularities compared to printed books and each one of them has unique attributes. There versatile character appears in the different materials like special papers or parchment, the non-uniform sizes and formats, the conservation status and of course the different contents of the historical documents.
As a result of those exemplified challenges each document has to be considered as unique part of the whole. Even more, because of this above stressed uniqueness many new technical questions arise:
• Which scanner will be suitable?
• Which angle should be used for digital recording?
• Which form of database fits best for easy online researching?
By strengthening the international network and cooperation, the archives will benefit significantly from new and shared experiences and are able to face new ventures jointly.