Ars Electronica Archive Relaunch

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Duration: 05/2023 – 08/2024

As a young branch of art at the cutting edge of technological developments, digital media art poses major archiving challenges for the cultural sector. The professional documentation and long-term preservation of digital-born content is only just beginning, and many media art archives contain a wide variety of holdings at the same time. In the Ars Electronica Archive, for example, the heterogeneity of the data ranges from historical documents in physical form to classic video formats and digital born content such as 8K video files and code.This results in an increased effort in the preservation, cataloguing and publication of the data. And it also leads to an increase in the complexity of the databases, which already must meet many requirements.

The European Union has recognized the urgency of the issue and is making substantial investments in digital infrastructure to professionalize the archiving of digital cultural heritage (European Open Science Cloud, European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage, Europeana, etc.). As a leading European institution for digital media art, Ars Electronica will help develop pioneering solutions and strengthen and consolidate Austria’s position as a prominent contributor to the preservation of the European digital cultural heritage.

As part of the “Archive Relaunch Project”, Ars Electronica is rethinking its archive. New approaches are being discussed, further development is taking place, necessary adjustments are being made and new challenges are being faced: Updating the software and adapting the data model will ensure the continued existence of the already large treasure trove of data. In addition, links will create opportunities to store new data more easily and comprehensively. A new user interface design enables employees from all areas to use the archive more actively. And data cleansing regarding the creation of persons will create the basis for more networking opportunities – both in our own online archive and with other archives. In the context of European developments, the focus will be particularly on harmonization with international data standards to ensure compatibility with other data sources. Sharing data in national and European infrastructures such as Kulturpool and Europeana will make it more accessible not only to the interested public, but also to researchers.

A second project strand will expand the archive in the coming year by adding a large amount of data. The processing of part of the estate of Hannes Leopoldseder, one of the main protagonists, particularly in the early phase of Ars Electronica until the mid-1990s, will significantly increase the number of digitized historical documents in the archive and, with its focus on the creation of the festival, the Prix and the museum, will make an important contribution to the accessibility of digital cultural heritage and historical documentation in the field of media art.

The results and findings of the “Archive Relaunch Project” will be published on the Ars Electronica website at the end of the project. The selection of the newly created digital entries will be available in the AE Online Archive, the digital cultural heritage platform of Austria and via these also on Europeana.

Ars Electronica Online Archive:
Information about the archive:
Cultural heritage digital platform:

The “Archive Relaunch” project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport.