We welcome The Swiss Federal Archives as a new member!

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The Open Preservation Foundation (OPF) is pleased to welcome The Swiss Federal Archives (SFA) as a new member . 

Founded in 1798, the SFA is the oldest federal organisation in Switzerland and ensures the long-term availability of information relating to the Swiss Confederation. The Swiss Federal Archives introduced its digital repository in 2009. Tasked with preserving Federal Administration documentation, the SFA accelerated its process of digitalisation by implementing a strict digital-only strategy for document management in 2019.

The SFA has implemented systems and processes to receive the digital files; the main infrastructure consists of a digital repository (Preservica, since 2009) and an archival information system (ScopeArchive, since 2003). Since the start of their in-house digitisation in 2019, the volume of digital assets has increased significantly – reaching an enviable three million digitised pages in 2023. Today, the SFA are providing their services primarily in digital form. Currently, they have archived around 40TB (half digital-born, half digitised), but this continues to rise by around 10TB annually. The SFA are currently reviewing their infrastructure to meet these huge challenges, and to achieve the highest standards for digital preservation. 

Migration is the SFA’s primary digital preservation strategy, and as this requires an active engagement with standards, issues and file format tooling, they are avid and involved members of the community. As the main developer of the most established open database preservation format open source software, SIARD Suite (Software Independent Archiving of Relational Databases), the SFA are active in the specification and implementation of this format as they aim to make it a global standard. 

“In the past few years, we have become less restricted in working with open source software and now aim to publish the source code of all the software developed for us to share with the community,” says Silvan Auf der Maur, Digital Archiving Specialist at SFA. “The Open Preservation Foundation has profiled itself through its stewardship of important tools for digital preservation, the role it has taken on to connect various institutions, enabling the exchange of best practices and facilitating discussions on important aspects of the field, which affect all organisations active in digital preservation.”

“The small size of the field of digital preservation makes such a community of practice invaluable, and the open exchange of know-how is crucial to helping the community as a whole continue to develop and adapt to a continuously evolving technological landscape. We have been able to benefit from OPF services, such as the webinars and discussions, and we are excited to be able to participate and contribute more directly to the OPF as a member organisation,” says Stefan Kwasnitza, Deputy Director of the SFA.

Julie Allen, Executive Director of the OPF said, “We are delighted to welcome the Swiss Federal Archives amongst our membership. They possess an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience, and we find their drive and enthusiasm for digital preservation inspiring. The SFA has a colourful project history we relate to, and are heavily involved in project development work that we are interested in supporting; SIARD is an invaluable community tool. We look forward to supporting them where we can.”

We thank the SFA for their membership; each of our members strengthens our impact, gives us the financial means to do more, and enables us to better serve the digital preservation community. 


To find out more about The Swiss Federal Archives visit here
To learn more about the benefits of OPF membership click here.



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