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The Swedish National Archives chooses Projectplace for Europe’s largest digitisation project

“Projectplace is an internal success. We now have an organisation that is process-controlled, and Projectplace is helping us to work more efficiently,”
Börje Justrell, Director of the ICT Division at the Swedish National Archives. 

Riksarkivet, The National Archives, is an administrative authority that is responsible for the archiving of public records in Sweden. The National Archives formerly comprised a central agency and seven independent regional authorities, but these were merged in 2010 creating a single authority. This merger revealed that the National Archives needed to introduce more work in project form. The portfolio of projects grew steadily, leading the National Archives to begin looking for a tool that could manage this work effectively throughout the country. Following an evaluation process, the National Archives decided that the cloud-based project collaboration tool Projectplace was the best solution. 

“The National Archives has operations at almost 20 sites around Sweden. We required an easy-to-use tool that would enable us to work together both internally and externally with partners or clients. We also have an extensive international project network through which we collaborate with players from around Europe, ranging from universities to cultural institutions,” says Börje Justrell. 

Stringent security requirements

Owing to the fact that the National Archives assists other agencies in Sweden to archive various types of information, stringent security requirements have to be met. The National Archives can share documents and plan projects in Projectplace, as well as work in parallel with systems for finance, for example, without having to worry about the security risks. 

The National Archives has been using Projectplace for about three years and it has become a popular tool for collaboration, with the National Archives aiming to promote collaboration between offices while also minimising unnecessary costs. Projectplace enables the Archives’ employees and partners to work efficiently despite not being in the same city or country. 

One of Europe’s largest digitisation projects

The National Archives is one of Europe’s largest agencies working with digitisation, and this work is often conducted in project form. Work is currently under way to digitise sections of the National Library of Sweden’s (Kungliga Biblioteket) collections. However, the National Archives also works with a number of other institutions and agencies both at home and abroad. 

Projectplace has become a vital tool for, among others, Digisam – the secretariat for national coordination of digitisation. The Swedish government established Digisam as a department within the National Archives. Its job is to ensure the digital preservation of and accessibility to Sweden’s cultural heritage. Digisam’s work is project-oriented and it cooperates on a number of projects with different authorities, which are all planned and managed in Projectplace. The digitisation project began in earnest in 2012. 

More than 700 shelf-kilometres of documents are stored at the National Archives, which if placed end to end would stretch roughly from Stockholm to Copenhagen. One shelf-metre provides space for just over 10,000 documents. Digitisation is a major project because digitising and scanning all the material is a lengthy process. In addition to the physical material, there are around two petabytes of data being stored digitally. The digital archive is expanding by around half a petabyte each year. 

One model for all projects

Each project normally has one steering group and one project group and follows a model comprising a number of project stages. Anyone can upload shared documents, such as decisions, risk analyses, delivery times and schedules. Projectplace also provides scope for setting access rights in cases where you want a particular group only to be able to view certain information. 

Across organisational boundaries

The National Archives, together with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket), is in the process of creating a digital e-service for estate inventories. An estate inventory is a written document that by law must detail the assets and liabilities of a deceased person or a company that has gone bankrupt. Dealing with these matters can be time-consuming because the information is processed manually and may be located anywhere in the country. The National Archives helps to retrieve the information. 

“The National Archives receives between 30,000 and 40,000 requests each year from the Swedish Tax Agency, so the creation of an e-service will enable us to process data more quickly and efficiently than the existing manual system. Several million documents will be scanned in connection with the creation of the e-service. The project is being planned in Projectplace by a steering group comprising employees from both the Swedish Tax Agency and the National Archives. Project planning, action plans and financial follow-ups can be added to the tool and accessed by everyone involved in the project.” 

“Saves time and money”

Börje Justrell, as the division’s director, is able to keep up to date with progress with the aid of Projectplace, despite not being in personal charge of all the projects. Börje receives weekly project reports containing information on the status of each project and a timetable. Projectplace has become the obvious choice for the National Archives.  

“Projectplace is extremely popular with our employees. With this tool, we have much greater flexibility in our work and I think that is what has made it so popular. It has outclassed other tools. Ultimately, we are also saving time and money. Working effectively also saves time.
Börje Justrell, Director of the ICT Division at the Swedish National Archives.  

 

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