ID: 118



Born 1982 in Kiel, Germany. 2002 to 2006 studies in Medieval and Modern History, Ancient History and Political Science at the University of Kiel. 2006 Master’s degree from the University of Kiel, 2009 PhD from the University of Kiel.
2007 to 2009 PhD scholarship awarded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. August 2009 to April 2010 resarch assistant at the chairmanship of the University of Kiel. From May 2010 to April 2012 archivist (trainee) at the State Archives of North Rhine-Westphalia. From May 2012 to August 2013 Manager Corporate History at the archives of the chemical company BASF. Since September 2013 archivist at the German Federal Archives.


The Digital Archives of the German Federal Archives Frommachine-readable data” to “born-digital” records

Brief summary:

The German Federal Archives has established a business model for digital preservation and custody in 2008. Since then the Archives has implemented a PreIngest-toolset, which enables us i.e. to build SIPs out of databases, and a software-suite for the creation and management of the AIPs. Currently we establish a digital-preservation-planning-tool.


The German Federal Archives has long since taken digital records into custody: After the German reunification the Archives recieved electronic materials, originating from the government agencies of the former German Democratic Republic. In 2006, the aim of preserving both machine-readable data from the 1970ies to 1990ies and the electronic records soon expected then, led to the constitution of the ‘Digital Archives’ at the Federal Archives. At that time, the challenge was to create a business model for digital preservation and custody, which has been established in 2008. But the Electronic Document and Records Management Systems (EDRMS) were not introduced in the government agencies as speedily as had been anticipated by the Federal Archives. Instead there were other digital object types, which had to be integrated in the system, notably big databases, digital media (pictures, movies, sounds) and unstructured data (in shared folder file systems).

In 2013 the Federal Archives implemented a PreIngest-toolset, which enables us to build submission information packages (SIP) out of unstructured data and databases. For the creation and management of the archival information packages (AIP) we use a software suite, which includes a consistent metadata management. Hence we establish a tool for the digital preservation planning: Especially the wide range of formats the Digital Archives has to cope with presents a challenge to digital preservation. Given that long-term access to each of these formats cannot be guaranteed our preservation policy implies the provision of a secure storage and the integrity of each record manifestation as well as the migration of records to new technical manifestations (primarily PDF/A and TIFF).

Scientific contribution:

The lecture will detail the current developments within the Federal Digital Archives.
As archivists we have the responsibility to ensure that the digital materials we have taken into custody remain understandable and usable as authentic copies. Hence we should guarantee the link between the content and the information required for understanding and decipherment. Reliable instruments for digital preservation and custody should therefore allow the inclusion of the metadata within the archival information packages (self-describing objects).


business model for digital preservation and custody, digital preservation planning, machine-readable data, born digital