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Customer Success Story

BHIC's Digital Archival Evolution with Preservica

In 2025, the New Archive Act will shorten Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum’s (BHIC) archive transfer time to 10 years, which poses challenges and opportunities due to increased digitization. BHIC has implemented Preservica’s digital repository to ensure success by addressing financial, organizational, and personnel requirements.

Executive Summary

The Brabants Historisch Informatie Centrum (BHIC) serves as the historical memory of the province of North Brabant. Managing over 1,500 archives and collections, totaling more than 42 kilometers of documents, BHIC provides support to individuals, private organizations and government institutions on matters concerning archives, cultural heritage, genealogy and local history. In 2025, the New Archive Act will shorten BHIC's archive transfer time to 10 years, accelerating digital record influx into the e-Depot. This poses challenges and opportunities due to increased digitization, especially in decentralized governments, driving the need for long-term preservation solutions. As a result, BHIC has implemented Preservica's digital repository to ensure success by addressing financial, organizational, and personnel requirements.

Shifting Towards Independent e-Depot Management

The BHIC manages various records, including building permits, soil files, administrative archives, video recordings of council meetings, audiovisual collections, websites and private archives. BHIC utilizes the e-Depot (12TB) as a trusted digital repository to preserve and protect long-term electronic records, ensuring their integrity, accessibility and usability for both Dutch governmental and non-governmental entities.

BHIC's e-Depot provision is a vital conduit for governmental communication with citizens, encompassing administrative, cultural and historical information. This platform allows BHIC to manage, access and preserve digital content, aligning seamlessly with its mission. To achieve these goals, BHIC requires access to reliable and scalable software applications.

Furthermore, the Dutch government, through the National Archives, ceased support for a national e-depot facility for several Regional Historical Centers (RHCs). For these reasons, BHIC looked to establish its own e-Depot service to independently manage and preserve digital records. This required a long-term digital preservation partner to accelerate digitization in decentralized governments.

“Together with Preservica, we have taken the first steps in developing our own e-depot. This lays a solid foundation so that information eligible for permanent preservation can be kept in good, organized and accessible condition, especially considering all the new developments on the horizon in the Netherlands, particularly the introduction of new archival laws and regulations.”

–Hella Timmermans, Archivist and Head of Collection Department, BHIC

Selecting Preservica and Developing Custom Interfaces for Enhanced Access

BHIC chose to collaborate with an external party to conduct a six-week tender process, leading to the selection of Preservica for its comprehensive preservation features and continuing their partnership with MY-LEX for eDiscovery.

Migration to Preservica required a metadata upgrade, to provide enhanced and sustainable access. BHIC staff performed this migration themselves based on an export from the National Archives on-premise environment. They took this opportunity to carry out a significant upgrade in metadata at various aggregation levels. This included adding a fixed rights management structure used in the front end to present digital information based on consistent parameters.

Parallel to the migration of digital content and metadata into Preservica's platform, BHIC has further worked to develop an eDiscovery interface. This integration utilizes Preservica's OAI-PMH and APIs, bringing metadata and thumbnails into search results. BHIC caters to two distinct user groups: participating organizations using the repository for business operations and the general public for research or evidentiary purposes.

BHIC developed separate search portals tailored to each group's needs. The civil service portal grants access to participating organizations' archives, based on an Azure ID linkage, while the public portal offers access to unrestricted content. Both portals utilize Preservica's OAI-PMH and content API for metadata sharing and asset retrieval, ensuring compliance with rights structures to prevent unauthorized access to restricted content.

The BHIC is located in the Citadel, close to the city centre of 's-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch).

BHIC's Methodical Workflow for Efficient Ingestion into Preservica

BHIC has implemented meticulous workflow processes to efficiently ingest content into Preservica, following industry standards and best practices. This procedure aligns with the ISO standard 20652:2006 and emphasizes the authenticity, context and findability of ingested data.

BHIC follows a structured workflow process to ensure the integrity and accessibility of its digital archives within Preservica, which consists of four key phases: Preparatory, Formal, Validation and Transfer:

  • Preparatory Phase: BHIC's digital information advisor assists producers in preparing data according to the TMLO/MDTO metadata standards. Data undergoes thorough scrutiny, including virus checks and validation by BHIC's advisor digital information employee, within the pre-depot environment.

  • Formal Phase: BHIC creates a Submission Information Package (SIP) following the OAIS reference model during the ingest phase.

Files and metadata are packaged according to TMLO standards.

  • Validation Phase: Data undergoes validation to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

  • Transfer Phase: Data is securely transferred into Preservica, ensuring the integrity and accessibility of BHIC's digital archives.

"We are witnessing a rapid evolution in the Digital Preservation landscape in the Netherlands. The increasing need to sustainably preserve information each year is a testament to this growth. Developing BHIC's own e-depot is laying a solid foundation to ensure eligible information for permanent preservation remains well-organized and accessible. This endeavor is particularly significant in light of forthcoming archival laws and regulations, underscoring our commitment to advancing archival practices in the Netherlands.”

–Mike Quinn, CEO of Preservica

Letter from Abbot Wiricus of Floreffe dating from the period 1202-1212-the oldest document in the BHIC archive.

Efficiency Amplified: How Preservica Revolutionizes Workflow Management for BHIC's Archive Team

Preservica significantly streamlines tasks for BHIC's archive team, particularly in the pre-ingest phase, by working well with the Records Management Tool (RMTool) to efficiently organize and transfer archive items to the e-depot. This integration ensures a smooth ingest process, with Preservica's additional tooling facilitating the addition of essential technical metadata to enhance migration and preservation efforts.

Preservica also supports the preservation of preferred formats, crucial for maintaining the authenticity and integrity of file content, especially in legacy environments where formats may vary, thereby preserving dynamic characteristics and laying a solid foundation for potential migration strategies.

“Preservica has proven to be an innovative and reliable partner that continuously works to optimize its product. It's nice to have a partner who moves with us. In this regard, we expect to take joint steps in the future to ensure that future generations can continue to have access to the past.”

Ton de Looijer, Digital Information Advisor, BHIC

BHIC's Forward Path with Preservica

The collaboration between BHIC and Preservica is of great added value because of the changing landscape of archive management in the Netherlands. BHIC's establishment of its own e-Depot service, alongside meticulous workflow processes and integration with Preservica's comprehensive features, ensures the preservation and accessibility of digital records, safeguarding the province of North Brabant's rich history.

By streamlining tasks for its archive team and adhering to industry standards, BHIC demonstrates a commitment to maintaining authenticity and accessibility while navigating evolving challenges in archival management. Continued collaboration with Preservica underscores BHIC's dedication to preserving historical records for future generations.

John Jansen, Director at Nova et Vetera, Preservica’s lead partner in the Netherlands, adds, ​“We are proud to have worked with so many e‑Depots to deliver sustainable preservation and greater access to digital government records for their regions. We look forward to working with the rapidly growing community of institutions across the country that are choosing Preservica’s trusted digital preservation software”

Learn more about Preservica’s cloud-hosted eDepot software or pre​ser​vi​ca​.com to explore how Preservica is being used to protect valuable digital content at businesses and academic institutions.