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E-ARK Partners


Scope: Access to databases

Hungary Archive

When information is initially stored in databases used in offices and institutions, it is categorised according to the nature of the information. For example, individual tables are made of generic data such as names, addresses and so forth and are linked to other tables of relevant information. Multiple sets of data in these operational databases, where the original material is of interest to the originator and the archivist, are stored in a normalised form in order to maintain consistency.

When this data is moved to longer-term storage and access, the structure for storing the data is simplified into fewer datasets, grouping together sets extracted from the original database. This simpler structure is intended to be beneficial by making the data clearer and easier to interrogate, and for access to be more straightforward.


These are the data warehouses and they exist to ensure long-term sustainability for the data and to allow for interrogation by researchers requiring access to the data. This pilot tested the E-ARK ESSArch tool. This is designed to ensure that all the data is retained and that there is no loss of function as a result of the transition from the original relational database to the data warehouse.

Furthermore, this pilot also tested the efficacy of freely available web-based applications, such as Oracle APEX, in allowing researchers to get access to and use the data stored in the data warehouses. In some cases, companies and institutions such as banks, tax offices and public institutions only have their records in data warehouses, rather than in operational databases, so it is important that they are easy to understand and meet the requirements of those needing access.

In ‘rendering’ information, data needs to be provided in relevant ways and according to the specific requests of the researcher. Various tools are available for this with varying degrees of sophistication and at varying costs.


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