Being open builds trust

Norway’s new health archive is being built on open source

Published on: 08/03/2019
Last update: 05/04/2019

The new Norwegian Health Archives (Norsk helsearkiv, NHA) is being built using open source software, including operating system Linux, relational database management system MariaDB, search engine Elasticsearch, and digital preservation system Archivematica.

The archive, a specialised part of the National Archives of Norway, is to become a digital repository for patient archive material from hospitals, intended for research. The NHA, housed in the town of Tynset, will be inaugurated in April.

The use of open source fits well with the archive’s aim to be as open as possible. It helps the archive build trust, explains Kristine Aasen, project manager at the NHA. The archive already publishes all of its governance documents, business architecture, guidelines and procedures online, and its business architecture is based on the TOGAF open architecture framework.

The Norsk helsearkiv has commissioned the development of a toolkit intended to be used by hospitals when they prepare the records for exporting to the NHA. The archive will publicly share the source code of the tools it develops, to make sure that all sensitive patient health records and metadata are safely preserved.

Seeking contributions

These tools will be developed by Piql, a Norwegian digital preservation specialist. “The source code will be available on GitHub,” says Ms Aasen, “and our goal is to make this a project for all parties in the industry.”

Piql will also handle the implementation of Archivematica. It will involve Artefactual Systems, the Canadian company that began development of Archivematica. The two companies were selected following a procurement procedure involving three competing solutions, which included visits to reference clients in Berlin (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria), and Luxembourg.

More information:

Norwegian Health Archive
Archivematica Open Source Digital Preservation Software
The National Archives of Norway
Helsearkivforskriften (Health Archive Regulation)
Piql press release
Computerworld news item (in Norwegian)