Karin Bredenberg

Karin Bredenberg

Last updated on 4 November 2019

Karin Bredenberg is Metadata Strategist at Sydarkivera in Sweden

In 2015 the municipality organisation Sydarkivera was founded in southern Sweden with the goal of supporting members with digital preservation. Since then, with the growing number of members, the goal has also come to include analogue archiving. Today the number of members is 27 and in two years’ time an additional 10 will have joined Sydarkivera.

Sydarkivera originated from the need for municipalities to archive their digital information, as in Sweden, municipalities are required by law to have their own archives and act as their own archival institution. Digital information has been around for a long time so the arrival of the need for archiving digital material made the municipalities see the need to join forces and share their competences. In Sweden, municipalities can join in a municipality organisation which in turn functions like its own municipality. I know it’s not easy to really explain briefly but we are working together and have a shared archival organisation! What started in southern Sweden is quickly growing north towards central Sweden… There’s a wide interest in joining the organisation and becoming a Sydarkivera member!

So, what are the challenges the municipalities saw? Well, the number of systems that needed replacement where users would notice out of date information as well as out of date information models that needed to be archived was growing substantially. A lot, if not all the municipalities didn’t have the expertise needed in-house, instead buying a consultant or temporary cooperation where needed. That’s why they started talking about creating a municipality organisation where expertise in the handling of information was gathered in one place which could aid all members with all aspects of digital preservation. The outcome of the discussions and preparations was Sydarkivera. Sydarkivera takes over the responsibility for the archived information so the municipalities themselves can focus on the relevant information in their systems. The transfer itself is a joint effort between members and Sydarkivera. The members aid with knowledge regarding the undertakings of the department or unit, the system and the technical infrastructure where the information is hosted. Sydarkivera aids with the knowledge regarding the methods and technical aspects of the transfer and digital preservation.


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The heart of Sydarkivera is our archival information system built upon international standards, European eArchiving Building Block specifications, Swedish Common Specifications known as FGS and well-tested technology to make sure we have a reliable and long term solution for digital preservation. The platform is constantly evolving depending upon the needs stated by the transfers as well as the dissemination of archived information. We currently use an open-source software from the eArchiving Building Block with some custom additions.

Let’s stop right here and explain Building Blocks for a moment. In Europe we have the Digital Single Market with the Connect Europe Facility (CEF) which have 10 building blocks allowing cross union sharing of different solutions. For example, secure messages, electronic IDs, big data testbed and e-Archiving. We have been using this e-Archiving software from the start with the advantages of using a building block software being the common specifications and the work being carried out on a European level.

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Using this core system, our members can achieve:

  • A complete digital workflow, from e-services to digital long-term preservation.
  • Machine-readable data with better accessibility and usability.
  • Shared costs for both the competence of taking care of the system and information and the techniques needed to secure a sustainable preservation solution.

Advantages of collaboration and membership in Sydarkivera also include the advice and assistance the members can get regarding archiving and information management. The members can take advantage of education on the subject, as well as workshops on certain issues like security classification, informational meetings for different types of professions, templates for creating documents within the area and much, much more. These advantages increase in number as our core system grows. Coming next, we’ll start to give specialist- and expertise education to give the ones wanting to take a dive deep into digital preservation the tools to do so.

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So how can a day look for a member municipality and what problems do they face? A difficult question to answer since our members are in widely different stages of transforming their organisation to a digital workflow. This means that the problems they face range from simple questions about analogue archiving to the most advanced inquiries about digital preservation.

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Sydarkivera and our experts are spearheading and leading the process of evolving our core system since the beginning of Sydarkivera. Additionally, starting this year, Sydarkivera is working closely with the eArchiving Building Block and leading the work with specifications and standardisation. Opportunities and challenges await that will make our core system evolve even more, to the benefit of not just our members, but everyone!

Illustrations: Magnus Heimonen, Web editor and media producer, Sydarkivera

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