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Archiv hlavniho mesta Prahy
(Prague City Archives)
Archivni 6, 149 00 Praha 4 (Prague 4)

Phone: +420-23600 1111
Phone Registry: +420-23600 4017
Phone Reading Room: +420-23600 4012
Fax: +420-23600 7100

Capital City of Prague

Ad fontes
The Ad Fontes project of mass digitizing
Norway grants
Supported by a grant through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
The Prague City Archives The Capital City of Prague
Presentation of results of the Ad fontes project

The Ad Fontes project of mass digitizing
A project of complex digital protection, preservation and general accessibility of the most valued historical documents of the capital of Prague.

    Main objective of the project:
  • Development of prerequisites for preservation, permanent maintenance and general accessibility of historically most valued, most valuable relics and physically most threatened archiving documents from the collections and resources of Prague City Archives, which are significant to national and European history, by means of creating generally usable digital copies from originals of such archiving documents.
  • Make the most desired and used collections of archiving documents accessible to the widest common research, study and cultural usage.
  • Conservation of European cultural heritage
  • Improvement of care and protection of movable cultural heritage
  • Protection of the City of Prague‘s rare documents
  • ePraha
    Selection of archival materials and selection criteria:
  • Historical documentary value of a particular archival document
  • Extent of its actual or potential physical damage
  • Frequency of its use by the researchers
selection of archival materials
    Schedule and financing of the project:
  • Operating period: 01 April 2007 – 30 September 2010
  • The total cost: 778,855 EUR
  • The grant amount: 483,591 EUR
    The project is supported by a grant through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
    Technical equipment:
    Scanning devices:
  • 2 portal scanners A1 600 DPI ProServ ScannTech 601i
  • 1 portal scanner A2 600 DPI ProServ ScannTech 602i
  • 1 desktop scanner with TMA A3+ 2400 DPI Epson Expression 10000 XL
    Data storage and archive appliance:
  • Data and application servers Hewlett Packard DL380 G5
  • Backup device Hewlett Packard StorageWorks MSL4048 Ultrium 960
  • Mass data storage disk field RAID 6 Hewlett Packard 15TB
  • Plasmon Archive Appliance AA80-W2NDN2E
    Operation routines and digitalization process:
  • Preparation of archival documents (cleaning, straightening, preservation)
  • Scanning
  • Editing (cropping, correction)
  • Metadata description
  • Verification of records (images and metadata)
  • Record transformations for publishing
  • Saving of study backup copies in the Information system
  • Long-term archiving of records on archival data carriers
  • Safe copies of the most valued and most threatened archiving documents in graphics format TIFF group 6 without compression 600 DPI (24 bpp, RGB)
    Celkem bude během 3 let pořízeno 230 000 scanů.
  • Scans in study quality JPEG 300 DPI
  • Technical metadata in XML format corresponding the specification MIX v.2.0
    extracted from technical metadata NISO standard for digital still images Z39.87.
  • Description metadata for basic identification in XML format using proper scheme IDA AMP v.2.0 (Identifikace archiválie AMP)
    All XML files saved using the UTF-8 characters encoding.
  • Safe copies in TIFF graphics format incl. technical and description metadata for basic identification has been recorded on the optical UDO II media type WORM using pair of copies. Data capacity of UDO II media is 60 GB a declared lifetime of WORM type media is 180 years.
  • File format validity is guaranteed by choice of suitable graphics format TIFF group 6.
  • Data validity of files written on data carrier is guaranteed by choice of optical UDO II media technology for decades.
  • Data permanence (authenticity) is guaranteed by choice of media type WORM (write once) and recording unique string (64 characters) generated by hash function sha-256 to technical metadata file.
    Import to Graphics database and data accessing:
  • Images in study quality incl. technical and description metadata for basic identification has been data source for import to Graphics database of institutional Information system.
  • Values saved in Graphics database has been matched the description metadata of historical catalogue.
  • Images in study quality incl. description has been accessible for researchers in reading room of Prague City Archives; for the public on the Internet later this year.
  • Data and metadata will be stored in data repository for accessing in standardized archive reprezentation. Using adding values services will be available the searching and harvesting of metadata on the Internet by automatic processes to various memory institutions around the world (2010).
    Partner projects:
  • Joint project of the National Archives and of the Prague City Archives: Options and forms of making the archival collections or parts thereof available to the public in electronic format.
  • The Ministry of Culture established a Coordination Committee for projects approved in the FM EEA/Norway first call in order to exchange experience among institutions with similarly focused projects and to jointly promote such projects. The Committee members are: the Municipal Library of Prague, the Prague City Archives and the National Library of the Czech Republic. The activities of the Committee are coordinated by the Department of Arts and Libraries of the Czech Ministry of Culture.
  • Archiv hlavniho mesta Prahy (Prague City Archives), Archivni 6, 149 00 Prague 4
  • The contact person: Ing. Tomas Hanousek, phone: +420-236 004 006, e-mail: tomas.hanousek@praha.eu

Interim report on the Ad Fontes project of 18 July 2010:

On 14-16 June 2010, a joint conference of the Municipal Library in Prague and the Prague City Archives, denominated Digitization Spells the End of Dog Ears, was held on the premises of the Municipal Library of Prague at Mariánské náměstí, Prague. The conference marked the end of two projects supported by Norwegian funds – the Prague City Archives preservation digitizing project denominated 'Ad Fontes' and the 'HISPRA' project of the Municipal Library of Prague.

During the opening ceremony, the Directors of both the above institutions thanked the Kingdom of Norway; their address was followed by a speech by Jens Eikaas, the Norwegian Ambassador to the Czech Republic.

During the second day, the conference participants learned about the potential of using the results of various projects based on digitization of documents and objects. In its introductory paper, the Prague City Archives presented the results of its project; in its second paper, it presented the possibilities to make the outputs of the digitization projects available on the Internet in the new Archives catalogue.

The last day of the conference was dedicated to visits to digitization sites. The conference participants had the opportunity to see the digitization sites of the Prague City Archives, the Municipal Library of Prague, the National Library of the Czech Republic and the Academy of Sciences Library.

Interim report on the Ad Fontes project of 28 January 2010:

The Catalogue (a new version of internet guide) was launched. The Catalogue make the most valued and desired collections of archiving documents (currently 411 000 records) accessible through top quality digital copies for the needs of domestic and international expert historiographic research, for educational and lecturing purposes, for cultural and educational training purposes and especially for presentation of the history of Prague and the Czech Republic in a wide international sphere to the general public. The copies of archival documents, first of all church registry books (currently 45 000 images), are displayed in high picture quality and high resolution 300 dpi. The catalogue will be continuously updated (250 000 high quality images until September 2010).

Interim report on the Ad Fontes project of 04 May 2009:

As at 30 April 2009, the Prague City Archives had produced and processed 143,800 high-quality scans (600 dpi) as part of its project of digitization of historical collections.

To date, 109,000 high-quality scans (300 dpi) suitable for studying are available to registered researchers in the Prague City Archives Reading Room.

By the end of this year, a new version of Internet guide is going to be launched which will display high quality scans (300 dpi) to the general public.

Portofolio of digitized historical fonds and collections to date 30 April 2009:
portofolio of digitized historical fonds and collections to date 30 April 2009

Study quality image view accessible in reading room of The Prague City Archives:
study quality image view accessible in reading room of The Prague City Archives

Study quality image view accessible on Internet by this year end:
study quality image view accessible on Internet by this year end

The digitization workplace of the Prague City Archives is perceived as a reference digitization workplace for archives and other memory institutions.
List of the representatives of major institutions who have visited the workplace:

  • The City of Plzen Archives
  • Archives of The National Technical Museum
  • Library of Academy of Sciences of The Czech Republic
  • Library of Technical University of Liberec
  • The Municipal Library of Prague
  • The Ministry of Culture of The Republic of Bulgaria
  • The Ministry of Culture of The Czech Republic
  • The National Archives of The Czech Republic
  • Monument Care Prague Department
  • The Slovak Museum of Nature Protection and Speleology
  • Slovak National Archives
  • State Regional Archives Hradec Kralove, CZE
  • State Regional Archives archiv Chrudim, CZE
  • State Regional Archives Kosice, SK
  • Institute of Archival Science and Historical Science of The University of South Bohemia
  • City Development Authority Prague

The Ad Fontes project Press realease 25 August 2008:

Completion of the first year of operation of the Ad Fontes project

The Prague City Archives made another step forward in the process of rescuing the historical collections and making them generally available, thereby completing the first year of successful operation of the digitization workplace as part of the Ad Fontes Project. The project outputs will not only facilitate the work of professionals but they will also help the general public.

The priority in the management of historical documents is their protection. Due to the poor physical state of the archival documents, all unnecessary handling should be avoided in order to prevent further damage. This can be achieved by creating digital images as faithful copies of the archival documents at a point in time. Digital copies will allow consulting of archival documents without having to touch the original records.

The Ad Fontes Project as a whole is financed by the City of Prague and supported by a grant from Norway through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. Its goal, besides saving the selected collections, is to make them gradually available mainly on the Internet. Digitization as part of the project was launched last July. The documents selected for digitization were mainly registers, manuscripts, parchment documents and photographs. The documents selected for digitization from the collection of manuscripts were the medieval urban registers of the City of Prague including the oldest one dating back to 1310. Digitized materials included also rare Jewish registers and important literary historical manuscripts. The digitized photographs depict views of Prague at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Prague City Archives is one of the oldest archival institutions in the Czech Republic. Its mission is to collect and store both official and unofficial historical documents which provide a testimony of the past of the City of Prague from the medieval beginnings of urban life to the present times.

At present, the collection of the Archives amounts approximately to 17 800 running metres of archival documents.

We are located at the premises of the Archives in Prague 4 - Chodov.

Appendix: image

Digital Collections Library Catalogue Collection of Registry Books Conference 2022 International cooperation
Evidence! Europe reflected in Archives UNESCO Archives Portal