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Frequently Asked Questions

What does arCHeco stand for? arCHeco is the abbreviation for "archives économiques". The capital letters stand for Switzerland, more precisely for Confederatio Helvetica.
What is arCHeco? arCHeco is a directory of economic records in public and private (company) archives in Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein. arCHeco was developed in three stages. The first one, archives of private businesses in public institutions, is for the time being close. The second stage, company archives, and the third, economic records of state provenance, are ongoing.
What is the central idea behind arCHeco? In Switzerland a lack in transmission, accessibility and use of archives for research of economic records can be noticed. The directory arCHeco offers, for the first time, an overview of economic records in Switzerland and in the Principality of Liechtenstein. arCHeco is a working tool for the historical economical science. It tries to sensitise enterprises and archivists for the value of their collections as a source for internal managerial information and for historiography and it tries to show the necessity of safeguarding these records.
Who are the people behind arCHeco? arCHeco is an initiative that was launched by the Business Archivists Group of the Association of Swiss Archivists (VSA). The Business Archivists Group is responsible for the contextual concept as well as for the technical-organisational part, for which also the Swiss Economic Archives (SWA) is responsible for. The information regarding the archives and the record groups stay in the responsibility of the participating institutions.
Which record groups can be found in arCHeco? Up-to-date mainly record groups of private economy that are held by public institutions can be found. Including:
-private enterprises
-economical organisations (trade associations, chambers, professional associations and trade unions)
-cooperatives (purchase, production, distribution)
-health insurances and self-help organisations
-private households
-personal papers
-documents of enterprises, personalities or scientists active in economic politics.
arCHeco is based on which technology? The directory, which went online in 2000, was based on a static html-version. Contextual updates happened four times a year. In 2009 the migration to a database version using MySQL started. In addition an English version of the directory was prepared and the layout was updated with the help of CMS Typo3. New is also a front-end-approach for the participating institutions which, in future, can carry out their mutations themselves. The new information will be published and available on the site immediately.
How is arCHeco financed? The costs for the technical development are taken over by the VSA and the SWA. The time and effort for the data acquisition and the data maintenance is carried out by the members of the Business Archivists Group and the participating institutions.
Which public archives can I find in the directory and why are there some missing? In the first stage the Business Archivists Group asked the Federal Archives, the State Archives, archives of major cities in Switzerland as well as topical archives for their collaboration. Out of 65 contacted institutions 80% are represented in the directory. The archives in the directory without an entry of economical records do either not have economical records of private provenance or could, up to now, not finalize the data gathering. They will be included at a later stage.
Will I find archives of major companies and archives of the public sector in arCHeco? In March 2000 the Business Archivist Group started to include record groups that are administered or kept by companies or trade associations. So far 30 company archives are included. The archives of public domains plus record groups of state provenience are also included. The list is work in progress.
Will I also find management reports, company anniversary publications or other company publications in arCHeco? No, arCHeco only includes information about archival record groups (original documents deriving from business activities of a company, a trade association or a person). Sporadic company publications, that might be inherent in these record groups, are not specifically mentioned.
Company documentations, collections of management reports, company anniversary publications, newspaper articles and other documentation material, as they are for example collected by the Swiss Economic Archives, are not listed in arCHeco. This kind of documentation material can be consulted in the catalogues of the relevant institutions.
To which profundity are the records described? The directory gives basic information. The description is carried out on the level of record groups and contains internationally standardized minimal descriptions such as reference number, title, inclusive dates, volume, content, access regulations, finding aids and cognate record groups. In addition information specific for company archives such as name of the company, domicile or economic sector of the creator of records are listed. Information regarding company history, bibliographic indications etc. are optional. For detail information the user needs to consult the catalogues of the archiving institutions.
How can I search in arCHeco? There are different ways of searching:
-full text search: a) keyword search, b) search by economic sector, type of creator of records, Canton, period (filter), c) combination of full text search plus filter.
Keywords are in the language of the owner of the record group, therefore the search needs to be done in the according language. Independent of the language the filter selects all relevant record groups.
-Scrolling the list of record groups. The list is organized alphabetically following the creator of records.
-Scrolling the list of the archiving institutions and their list of record groups.
How homogeneous is the data of arCHeco? The decentralised collection of data, the multi lingual approach and the restriction to the final editing result in relative heterogeneous data. The data sovereignty and the responsibility for the data rest with the archival institutions.
How often is the data in arCHeco updated? The data can directly and continuously be updated by the archival institutions.
We also have economic record groups in our archive. How can we participate in arCHeco? Best is to contact the Business Archivist Group. You will then receive the login data. This allows you to enter the information about your archive and the record groups within.
How time consuming is it to participate in arCHeco? The Business Archivist Group tries to keep the effort for the participating institutions as low as possible: we try to use already existing description work. Entry masks and help texts are provided in German, French or English.
Our archive joined arCHeco already. Now we like to update the data? What do we have to do? The update can be done by any archive institution directly in the entry mask. In case you did not get any login-data or have forgotten about it, you can contact the Business Archivist Group.
Why is arCHeco an online tool and not available in a print version? arCHeco is a dynamic tool which is constantly updated. Therefore and also for financial reasons the Business Archivist Group does not publish a printed version.
last update: 07.01.2012Go to top

last edited: 07.01.2012

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