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Digital Archive

Our digital archive represents an important part of our overall strategy (see: what is osa?) and can be divided into three broad categories: Thematic Digital Collections, Digital Repositories, and Digital Archival Laboratory.

Thematic Digital Collections

These are collections formed around particular topics in recent history or coherent sets of records. Most are based on OSA physical holdings, and these are often integrated with related digital collections from other institutions.

  • Hedervary Collection: documents on the activities of the UN Special Commitee on the Problem of Hungary, including primarily English language reports, memoranda and correspondence, as well as audio recordings of Hungarian witness testimonies given before the Committee from the collection of Claire de Hedervary.
  • Was There a 1989?: a primarily Hungarian collection of texts, photos, films, and sound chronicling the transition in Hungary and the region. This collection presents multiple perspectives, placing side by side differing accounts of events as they unfold.
  • 1956 Digital Archive: an English language collection of texts, photos, and films on the 1956 Revolution in Hungary and its reception abroad. In this instance, dispersed materials housed in different institutions were reunited and put into their original context.
  • Paranoia Recycling: a collection of Hungarian films dubbed into English. This rare collection of educational films on ABC (Atomic, Biological, and Chemical) warfare from the late 1960s will form the seed of a larger collection of educational and propaganda films from the Cold War period. Part of OSA's effort to preserve and present rare and deteriorating material stored on obsolete media.
  • RFE/RL Publications: English textual material made available in both image and full text formats. The Background Reports (1952-1989) were produced by RFE staff members for the radio's management and subscribers in order to provide analysis of current events and trends in the eastern bloc. A comprehensive presentation of one of OSA's most requested collections; includes geographical and subject indexes.
  • Digital State Security Archive: Hungarian textual and audiovisual materials. This group of records continuously collected from the public unites the fragmented, scattered, and often artificially separated files to give a full picture of the activities and culture of the former state security organs.
  • Other Collections: various photo galleries and small-scale online presentations produced as the by-product of particular projects or exhibitions.

Digital Repositories

In 2005 we established an institutional digital repository for the Soros Foundations Network available at a dedicated website called the Soros Network Archival Portal (SNAP). Based on this experience, we are currently in the process of developing the OSA Digital Repository (OSADR) to support proper curation of our digital content and to provide broader, enhanced, and more flexible access to our collections. Whereas many of our thematic collections and digital archival laboratory projects present our collections side by side with those from other institutions, OSADR is a system to help us manage and provide access to our own collections. As such, it is intended to link together rather than to replace our current tools and resources.

Digital Archival Laboratory

We are also experimenting with alternative approaches to archiving and acquiring digital content. The following projects all share a decentralized structure and in some sense challenge the status quo in archival descriptive practice.

  • Kampanyarchivum: Hungarian texts and graphics produced during the 2002 and 2006 political campaigns. The Kampanyarchivum was a proactive effort to acquire from the public, preserve, and provide long-term access to digitally-born "ephemera" produced during two hotly-contested Hungarian political campaigns.
  • Samizdat Text Corpora (STC): An institutional collaboration supported by the ISRA network and available through their website. Texts and images in multiple languages with English and original language description, STC aims to reunite underground literature produced in the former communist bloc for comparative analysis by allowing institutions and individuals to upload and describe their own material.
  • Parallel Archive (PA): currently accepts texts and images in multiple languages with primarily English description. PA is a unique tool that captures the spontaneous digitization already being carried out by archival researchers, allowing them to upload, share, and re-contextualize their scanned historical records. By offering such features as OCR, annotation, forums, and tagging, PA records not only the subject matter of documents but also the way they are being used in contemporary research.

Using Digital Content

All digital content available through in our digital archive collections and projects can be used for research and education. Our digital resources, though not a comprehensive representation of OSA physical collections, do present some of our most highly used, interesting, and controversial material alongside that of other institutions. Not only is the content presented interesting in its own right, but the collection information displayed with each item can serve to guide researchers to physical collections relevant to their research. Citations to items in our digital collections should be made to the original physical copy (see: OSA citation rules) with the notable exception of the Parallel Archive (PA), which provides a permanent URL for citing uploaded documents. OSA gladly accepts requests for reproduction of our digital content and adheres to legal conditions defined at the collection level when considering these requests.

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