The Five Hundred Year Archive team and the South African Jewish Museum

12 Jun 2018 - 13:45
Phyllis Friedlader, Group Photo
A photo from the Phyllis Friedlander Collection, entitled, ‘Phyllis Friedlader, Group Photo’


One of the aims of the APC’s Five Hundred Year Archive (FHYA) project is to advocate for the application of its approach and methods of archiving in other contexts. The approach of the FHYA, which uses the open-source AtoM archival software, seeks to reveal as much as possible about the history of the production and reshaping of archives over time, as opposed to treating archiving as a neutral preservatory processes.

Recently some members of the FHYA team brought these ideas to bear in an independent project with the South African Jewish Museum (SAJM).

The Jewish Digital Archive Project (JDAP) is a project undertaken by the SAJM with the support of the Kaplan-Kushlick Foundation. It is a community-based multimedia archive. In its most recent iteration it took the form of a website that allowed users to view and upload their photos, videos and documents with the aim of enabling families to explore their heritage and help build the archive for future generations of the Jewish community to share in.

Having uploaded a portion of their collections online the Museum was not satisfied with the search-ability of the collections on  its Wordpress-based site, nor with the integrity of much of the metadata. The SAJM met with the FHYA team to discuss migrating their collections to a new online platform that would better suit the nature of the material, as well as needing advice on best practices and standards for future accessions. After being shown a sample of the FHYA’s open sourced platform and the way that it searches materials across institutions, they employed a part of the team on a two-month contract to initiate the migration of the Jewish Digital Archive Project onto an AtoM installation of their own.

Debra Pryor was the Collections consultant and project manager, Grant Mcnulty was IT liason,  and Chloe Rushovich and Kathrine Garrun were the metadata specialists. The project will showcase a selection of JDAP’s collections on their new AtoM based site.