Open source has modernised the archive of the Catalan city of Hospitalet de Llobregat (Spain). The software helps manage the administrative records, but also allows easy access to historical records. This facilitates research and education, and enables public information dissemination. For its historical records, the Hospitalet city archive implements ICA-Atom, a web-based and open source archive solution.
The software makes it possible to offer online-access to digital copies of original historic documents. To make such dissemination possible, archivists have to prepare such documents, all of which is part of ICA-Atom. The software supports international norms and standards commonly used by archives and can be combined with other open source solutions, including document management system Alfresco.
The introduction of ICA-Atom greatly helped to modernise Hospitalet’s historical archive, says Màrius de Juan Escuder, director of the archives. Especially the older documents were hard to access, other than by visiting the archives. “We used a system cobbled together from various spreadsheets, text files and several tens of databases to keep track of documents on loan to city departments”, the director says, “requiring a lot of manual checks.” Now, the archive uses ICA-Atom to manage and update its records, track loans and allow access through the archive’s website. “We’re planning to overhaul the site this year, to make that possible.”
The city archive is responsible for the administrative and historical records, the director says. They are records from as far back as 1716 - around the time of the War of the Spanish Succession. In total the archives comprise over 80,000 archive boxes, that are kept in a 2,000 m² building.
First plans to modernisation of the city archive date from December 2011, when the archive reached out to the city’s IT department for help. ICA-Atom was implemented as a pilot in March 2012. Seven months later the city decided to use the tool for the entire archive. “And as of this month, we’re ready to make available online more than 8,000 archive descriptions”, says De Juan Escuder.
The archive director talked about Hospitalet’s use of ICA-Atom at the Open Expo, a conference taking place in Barcelona, on 21 January.
In 2011 Hospitalet also considered proprietary alternatives, says the archive director. “These were either too expensive or too complex.”