Frequently asked questions on CENDARI Archival Directory


Can users add descriptions and if so, what kind of descriptions can users add?


Users who have not logged into the CENDARI Archival Directory (“researchers”) have view-only access. A user can only add archival descriptions once they have a DARIAH-account, have been authenticated and have been granted contributors’ rights. Contributors’ rights allow a user to read, create, or edit archival descriptions. However they do not allow the user the ability to delete any archival description nor create a record for a new archival institution. Archival descriptions should be added while observing International Council on Archives standards ( http://www.icacds.org.uk/eng/home.htm ).

If a user wishes publish their archival descriptions so they can be freely accessible to all Archival Directory viewers, they would need to contact a user with editor rights. The user with editor rights, who might be their mentor (a historian, librarian, archivist or someone with similar experience) will check the quality of the submitted archival descriptions and then can change the archival description’s status from 'draft' to 'published'. A user with editor rights can also create records for archival institutions.



Does CENDARI have any agreements with archives and libraries regarding the sharing of their records?


CENDARI does not have any specific agreements with any Cultural Heritage Institutions (archives, libraries and museums). Cultural Heritage Institutions and users can add descriptions as required into the CENDARI Archival Directory, as long as they observe International Council on Archives standards. If users wish to publish their archival descriptions and their search results from CENDARI’s Archival Directory, they need to discuss relevant permissions with the archive in question.


Will any translations of the institutional and archival descriptions be available?


Unfortunately, no translations will be provided. As a general rule, do not limit yourself to languages within collections when searching. If you specifically looking for results in a certain language, type your keywords in this language (and in appropriate script, for example: Cyrillic) into the search box.


Will there be a browse by period function?


Although this function is not currently available, it will be enabled at a later date. At the moment, the majority of the archival holdings in the Directory are from the same period (i.e. 1914-1918).


Why do the labels "Subjects" and "Places" not always correspond to all of the archival holdings available?


As all entries were produced manually, it was the decision of each compiler to add subjects and places labels when appropriate. Therefore, the categories “Subjects” and “Places” only partially correspond to all of the descriptions produced by the medieval and World War one historians on the project. Often these labels were not attached to archival descriptions. If a user considers that these labels would enhance an archival description, they can fill in these fields themselves. This can be done by logging in and clicking on the “edit” button at the foot of the appropriate archival description page. Then click on "Access points", and start writing the appropriate Subject or Place into the field. You may have to wait a few seconds after typing since subjects and places are available on the system will appear. After either typing manually or choosing from the listed subject and/or places, click on "Save" at the foot of the page.


Why is there no comprehensive search tree in a hierarchical order?


Hierarchised searches need pre-fixed taxonomies, agreed upon by the possible users of the Archival Directory. As such a pre-fixed taxonomy is not possible in this case, CENDARI has a more open approach in which users are free to choose their subjects and places according to their needs without them being pre-ordered in a hierarchical tree. Users can even add subjects and places which have not yet added to the Archival Directory (see the previous question on how this can be done).


Why does there appear to be no hierarchy (according to the level of fonds, subfonds, items etc.) for archival descriptions in the search results?



The Archival Directory software (AtoM) does not permit fonds, collections and similar items to be ordered into a hierarchy when they have been created by different contributors. Search results are usually not shown in a hierarchical tree. Therefore the user should look through all the relevant archival descriptions at the same archival institution.

When adding new records, it is possible to organise archival descriptions in a hierarchical order. This can be done by starting the highest level (with the field “Add new child levels”) and creating a hierarchy. The AtoM tool will then automatically arrange the order. For example, a fond cannot be subordinate to an item, because such a hierarchy is not consistent with the higher levels. After this the archival descriptions on the lower levels can be created.