Traditional vs. Virtual Archives – The Evolving Digital Identity of Archives in Germany

This thesis describes how the IT technology changed archives. It was divided into six chapters. The first two form the theoretical and historical introduction of the subject matter. The first chapter, entitled Informatization of archives, explains the topic of informatization, including computerisation and the implementation of archival information management system. The second chapter, The beginnings of digitization, was prepared likewise, although it also has a thread of analysis of subsequent attempts to coordinate digitization, from the lowest to the highest level. The digitization dealt with in this chapter is understood broadly as a process consisting of many different stages from selecting, through scanning to Internet availability. In the next chapter, entitled Description, a range of standards used by archivists to describe archival material is presented, beginning with ISAD(G), providing details on the criteria for archival description and EAD, which standardises the electronic exchange of data. Other standards, including EAG, ISDIAH, EAC and ISAAR, as well as METS and PREMIS are also mentioned. This chapter also touches upon the issue of software used by German archives to describe archive records, such as HADIS, scopeArchiv, BASYS, AUGIAS or Faust, as well as the issue of electronic inventories and related retroconversion. The fourth chapter, Digitization of records, covers the process of digitization as it is broadly understood, equipment, digitization laboratories and formats of stored scanned documents, and presents models for digitization projects based on in-house digitization or out-sourcing. The fifth chapter, Archives on the Internet, is devoted to the issues related to the development of internet archives services, namely their websites and portals. The last chapter, Future Archives, deals with the developing and unavoidable trend in the formation of new electronic archives that collect electronically developed archive materials, which include electronic documents, databases, websites and digitized objects. As in the first two chapters, there is a theoretical introduction, which guides the reader into the issue and makes an attempt to estimate the advance in creating that sort of archives. The final part of this thesis summarises the development of the digital identity of the German archives in the last decades.