Transcribe Bentham (University College London)

Hacking the past: an archives game jam

Transcribe Bentham (University College London)
The National Archives (UK)

The National Archives (UK) and the Bentham Project at University College London are coming together to create a free game jam, focusing on games with a purpose (GWAPs) on 23 and 24 February 2019.

These organisations have experience of crowdsourcing the transcription of historical documents with the assistance of interested volunteers. They also have been experimenting with the use of Handwritten Text Recognition software to automate the transcription of documents. However, the transcription of historical material can still be a time-consuming and complex task.

The challenge for this Hackathon is to create imaginative and engaging games that encourage and help people to transcribe documents efficiently. This will be done based on digital images from a diverse range of historical collections at both The National Archives and University College London. The transcriptions will open up access to historical material and make them discoverable for anyone interested in historical research.

The event will include:

  • Interesting talks about the documents from archivists and historians
  • Briefing on the tasks ahead
  • A chance to learn and develop exciting new digital skills
  • A showcase of all the work produced over the weekend
  • A lot of hacking time
  • And of course, pizza!

Find out more and register to attend via Eventbrite.


The Archives Portal Europe blog is written and maintained by the team and partners of the Archives Portal Europe Foundation.

Next to being a platform to promote the Archives Portal Europe and its rich content from all over the continent, the blog aims to cover all kinds of current archival issues from data standards and their interoperability via online discovery, open data and copyright questions to the broader context of technology within archives and the cultural heritage domain.

We also use the blog to share what is going on behind the scenes and to let you in on what we are talking and thinking about within the team and with our partners to improve the Archives Portal Europe and its various services. We will also report on events related to archives and the cultural heritage domain, the best context to pick up on new ideas and trends.

Each post will come with tags and some categorisation that you can use to navigate to blogs about particular topics as we add more posts step by step.

We are very happy to take posts from guest bloggers around the topics of this blog. Please get in touch if you are interested.

Call for reviewers – Records in Context

The Expert Group on Archival Description (EGAD) of the International Council on Archives (ICA) is working on the development of the Records in Contexts Ontology (RiC-O), which will be the second part of the RiC standard.

The ontology has reached some quite consistent state; a former version of it, dated February 2018, has been used for a French archival Linked Data prototype. In France, some larger projects are now beginning to use RiC-O as one of the main reference models for creating RDF datasets from some existing archival metadata.

At this stage, the ontology is ready to be tested. The sharing the RiC-O files with a greater number of persons may both help them to begin to think of some small to large scale RiC-O implementation and use that would suit their needs and context, and help EGAD to improve the quality of the ontology.

If you are interested to access the RiC-O files, please fill in the form made available for registration. The call is open until 15 March 2019, and feedback will be accepted until 30 April 2019.

EURBICA - European Branch of the International Council on Archives

Charles Farrugia becomes chair of EURBICA

EURBICA - European Branch of the International Council on Archives

Our Country Manager for Malta, Dr Charles Farrugia, has been nominated Chair of EURBICA (The European Branch of the International Council on Archives) from January 2019 until December 2020.

With over 900 members, EURBICA is one of the largest entities within the International Council on Archives. The Archives Portal Europe Foundation (APEF) is well-represented in the branch as Karin Van Honacker of the Belgian State Archives, member of APEF’s Governing Board, also is serving as Vice-Chair and secretary for EURBICA.

You can follow the activities of EURBICA via the blog that they share with our colleagues from the International Centre for Archival Research (ICARUS).

Also, the International Council on Archives is active on Twitter and if you don’t follow them already, you definitely should.

Update to the Encoded Archival Context

The Technical Subcommittee on Encoded Archival Description (TS-EAS) of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) has recently undertook a revision of the standard Encoded Archival Context for Corporate Bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF), and it is pleased to announce the completion of the first phase of the revision. Revised schema files and an updated tag library can be found on the EAC-CPF website.

The revision process is following a two-tiered strategy, starting with a technical update that includes minor enhancements and a general clean-up of the standard. The second phase of the revision will be a major overhaul of the standard and a reconciliation with the Encoded Archival Description in its current version (EAD3). The updated schema will be backwards compatible as long as the attribute @accuracy isn’t used and values of @xml:id attributes are unique.

This update solves 15 issues and the changes include:

  • relaxed data types for the elements <preferredForm> and <otherAgencyCode>
  • made the following elements repeatable: <languageDeclaration>, <agencyName>, <eventDescription>, <sourceEntry>, <placeEntry> within <relations>
  • added the value ‘unknown’ to the attributes @eventType and @agentType
  • added term ‘published’ to the element <publicationStatus>
  • added the term ‘deletedMerged’ to the element <maintenanceStatus>
  • added the new optional element <rightsdeclaration> with child elements to <control>, as in EAD3
  • added the optional attribute @localType to the elements <fromDate> and <toDate>
  • removed maximum year 2999 from the attributes @standardDate and @standardDateTime
  • corrected the typo in the attribute @accuracy
  • corrected data type for xml:id in eac.rng schema file