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  1. Paco, your English is great!

    The Council conclusions seem very much focused on digitised materials, although our consultations with archive users show that their priorities are for comprehensive catalogues and that digitised archives are given much lower priority. ‘Showcases’ of particular choice items, or digitised long runs of highly popular records have their place, but I feel that one of our core jobs is to make detailed information about our holdings available online, before spending too much on digitisation. We’re a long way away from this: libraries are generally far in advance of archives in this area.

    My impression in the UK is that many archivists are keen to put their catalogues online, but that they are doing it on their own websites only, often using software that is not capable of interoperating with other applications or search engines. This means that users need to know about them in advance. An archives gateway for Europe would need to make it easy for repositories to contribute their data, in a standardised electronic form to national or regional nodes.

    For most users, I suspect that searching these local nodes would be more useful than an overarching European gateway, which might bring back an overwhelming number of results for searches. But there will be some users who would find a European gateway useful, and I think that it certainly is a great aim to have: particularly as a way of showing politicians our wonderful materials. I just want to be reassured that it will be built in a modular manner that will be sustainable over time.

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