Summary Cologne Archive's collapse VIII

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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Cologne Historical Archive's head getting criticism concering copyright statement ( March 16th 2009 via Archivalia)
Director of the Cologne Historical Archive is now getting criticism concerning the copyright statement.
Since March 7th, the initiative “Digital Historical Archive Cologne” offers the opportunity to upload copies of the material from the collapsed archive. This way, scientist can help to restore the documents.
Bettina Schmidt-Czaia (director of the CHA), she of all people criticized this ambitious project pointing out copyright issues and ensures indignations.
„Many scientists, that received ordered copies of our material in former times, are now putting them online to provied an access“, said Schmidt-Czaia to Cologne Courier. This might break „copyright-laws“ of the documents. „It would be better, if these copies would be handed to us“, she urged the scientists.
On the internet, this announcement created hard criticism. In the forum „Archivalia“ (among others), is pointed out that there do not exist copyrights for documents whose authors died over 70 years ago. Most of the documents are free to common (common free) and can be handed to others/third.

“Reconsider donation cooperativeness“

The fact that the head of the archive holds on to bureaucratical issues like copyright in this crisis caused a lot of unpleasure. Especially, when one relies on the help of active citizens to rescue the documents. At this moment, it is important not to exclude the scientists but to use their interest to reproduce as many documents as possible, as well as to receive financial support. In the forum as in the service Twitter already appeared a call to reconsider donation cooperativeness towards the archive.
User unfriendly charges in the former CHA are also criticized, taking a digital picture of a document with own camera cost 2 Euros each. The users of the archive state that these fees could be the reason why so less digitized copies were made over the last years.

Comment by Klaus Graf (Archivalia): Let us hope the CHA recognizes that Digital Historical Archive is a support and that a great offer to become a „Bürgerarchiv“ (citizen archive) is given. Hopefully the responsible body (Unterhaltsträger), the City of Cologne will understand that the standing on these fees to collect some little money is absurd in this situation, relying on civic support.
Cultural possessions are common properties, they belong to all of us. We must rap our politicians on the knuckles, when their administration trends towards removing this policy.
A more detailed position of mine towards this issue can be read in the article “Cultural possessions must be free to access” (Kulturgut muß frei sein) in the “Kunstchronik”:

News on the Cologne Historical Archive by Sebastian Post@Twitter from the 61. Westfaelische Archivtag (March 17th-18th 2009 in Detmold) via Archivalia

1. Archival material & finding aids
Many backup films were recovered.
The Cologne Historical Archive (CHA) queries the German government refering to the archival material backups which are stored in the Barbarastollen. The Barbarastollen is the so called "Memory of German culture". Here, 825 Mio images on microfilms are kept save.
The finding aids of the CHA are completely rescued.

2. Statement on access to digitized documents from the CHA
The CHA do not dislike! the access to uploaded digitized material from the Cologne archives collections via internet, but the CHA has to agree upon every initiative. (see also:

3. Needs and hopes
Manpower and support will be needed for a long time. For sure is: The memory of the city is not lost. We are working on the rescue!

Pictures from the Erstversorgungszentrum (EVZ), showing the divisiveness of rubble and archival material (press service city of Cologne March 16th 2009 via Archivalia)

Former Summaries
Summary Cologne Archive's collapse VII, Tuesday March 15th 2009
Summary Cologne Archive's collapse VI, Tuesday March 13th 2009
Summary Cologne Archive's collapse V, Tuesday March 12th 2009
Summary Cologne Archive's collapse IV, Tuesday March 11th 2009
Summary Cologne Archive's collapse III, Tuesday March 10th 2009
Summary Cologne Archive's collapse II, Tuesday March 09th 2009
Summary Cologne Archive's collapse I, Tuesday March 08 th 2009





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