Digitisation offers new opportunities and qualities for the accessibility of record groups. It passes on knowledge to the information society and makes a decisive contribution to the education of the community at large. Thus digitisation has become a central service sector of all the State Archives.
For many years the State Archives in Baden-Württemberg have dealt with digitisation and have developed online presentation modules. In 1998 to 2001 the then Landesarchiv Directorate did a lot of field research in a project funded by the the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG)
The project carried out between 2000 and 2001 continued the DFG - project "digital conversion formats" which had been finished in 1999. The aim of this project was to develop a workflow, so that huger amounts of records of different provenance could be made accessible to research.
Currently the Landesarchiv is engaged in the InnoNet-Project ARCHE. The objective of this project is to develop a laser beamer for colour microfilms for the long-term preservation of born digital or digitised documents, combined with a complete digitisation workflow including the re-digitisation of the colour microfilm.
Often the access to unique copies is difficult. Today, however, with the help of digitisation they can be found easily on-line. This is possible because digital finding aids and presentation modules for archives in the internet offer completely new options.
This is one of the reasons why, for many years, the State Archives Administration in Baden-Württemberg has participated in several research projects on digitisation of archives and has seen retrospective digitisation as one of their main concerns in their daily work.
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Apart from using microfilming the Archives have the option of retrospective digitisation of archival records. With these new opportunities citizens, researchers, students have online access to the records via internet, but also off-line in the reading rooms or via CD-Rom on their own PC at home. Thus valuable originals and unique copies can be protected.