BAAC Estonian members group visit to Finland

October 2007, Finland

Estonian expert council of collections of humanities and natural sciences organized a professional tour to Finland for its member institutions at the end October. Among the tour group were also some BAAC members like Estonian Literary museum, Tartu University Library and Eero Kangor from Tartu University.

The aim of the visit was to see some of Finnish institutions involved in digitizing the cultural heritage. First visit took us to the Finnish Museum of Photography in Helsinki that is situated in an old cable factory turned into culture centre. The museum focuses mainly on photographic art but has recently added to its collection the photo archive of Finnish daily newspaper “Uusi Suomi”. We were introduced to their digitization workstations, state of the art photo studio and plan to make the collection available and searchable also online. More than their digital storage, that was similar to our practices, differed their way of storing photos: as the main aim is exhibiting, the photos were placed on cardboard mats for better displaying.

The next days were spent in Mikkeli, developing archival centre 230 kilometers northeast of Helsinki. There the group visited Finnish Central Business archives, Provincial Archives and Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences. The common thing that caught the eye was institutions’ attempts to sustain themselves by offering their services such as selling storage space. Especially interesting was Mikkeli University’s try to unite the archival and IT knowledge and its result: their database system for archives, automatic backing systems and mass storage facilities. One branch in the university’s media centre is specialized in digitizing magnetic carriers. They train also specialists for television and sound recording focusing on digital means and possibilities.

During the visit BAAC was introduced both to our hosts and also Estonian non-members, giving us some more needed contacts in Finland and a promise to present Mikkeli University’s achievements in the field of digital storage and access on our next seminar.

Maarja Savan
Estonian Literary Museum