Niederösterreichisches Landesarchiv secures document preservation for posterity through digitization

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Protecting irreplaceable historic records while transforming operational efficiency.

5 June 2024 mins
Library archive

Conserving one of Austria’s largest public archives

Located in St. Pölten, the Landesarchiv stores records produced by the administrative bodies and courts that have been and are currently active in Lower Austria. Extensive holdings, which date back to the Middle Ages and the time of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, include manuscripts, administrative and court records, photographs, plans and cadastral items as well as other sensitive materials that are to be preserved for posterity.

“All citizens have a right to inspect records and we very often attract researchers, historians, and government officials seeking clarification of specific events,” said Dr. Stefan Eminger, Head of Contemporary History at Niederösterreichisches Landesarchiv. That demands not only a data- protected environment but also careful handling of the documents in terms of conservation.

No archival record has ever been damaged.
Dr. Stefan EmingerHead of Contemporary History Niederösterreichisches Landesarchiv

Taking charge of history

The archive’s principal duty is to preserve all records of state administration worthy of archiving, including physically endangered and very old documents that should remain untouched and safe from harmful environmental factors like damp and dust.

Dr. Eminger added: “The best way to store an asset would be if no one had access to it, but that misses the point of an archive because our goal is to make historical documents accessible to everyone. Our role as an archive means we must meet both objectives and through our restoration department ensure the originals remain in good condition.”

With that goal in mind, as part of a large international digitization project the archive was looking to convert official documents from the Holocaust and nazi regime, many of which were fragile paper files and handwritten notes. Thereby improving access for researchers, relatives of victims, and other interested parties around the world.