Regional Archives Maribor in Web 2.0 and the overall situation in Slovenian archives (Nina Gostenčnik, Maribor/Slowenien)

Vortrag von Nina Gostenčnik (Pokrajinski arhiv Maribor / Regional Archives Maribor: višja arhivistka / senior archivist; namestnica direktorja / deputy director), 23.11. 2013 (Speyer)

Nina Gostencnik

The Regional archives Maribor is one of the 7 state archival institutions working in Slovenia. In size, it is the second largest among all 6 regional archives. Its main headquarters are in Maribor, there are also two organizational units, situated in Ravne na Koroškem and in Lendava. The archives holds about 17 running kilometers of archival holdings dating from the 13th century to the new millennium. Our oldest documents are various charters from the 13th to the 19th century.

RIS project (Use of Internet in Slovenia) researched the use of social networks in Slovenia. The results show that 60% of people asked has a personal profile on at least one of the many social networks. We can see that there are more women than men and that the strongest are age groups between 16-25 (75%).

The majority of cultural institutions in Slovenia are present on the Internet. Almost all of them have at least a homepage. Therefore, all Slovenian archives have their homepages, which are more or less regularly changed and updated. Many cultural institutions also use social networks for their presentation and communication with users. The use of web 2.0 technology is thus rising. On Facebook we can find many Slovene museums, libraries, galleries and also archives.

All 6 regional archives in Slovenia present their fonds and collections online. They use a common database, which is available at the following address (www.siranet.si) and provides all information on fonds and collections in all 6 archives. It offers a view of the whole archival description on lower levels of a fonds. The database is connected to a search engine, which searches through fonds and collections of all 6 regional archives and the results are available also through other search engines.

In Slovenia the use of web 2.0 applications in archives begun in 2011 and is obviously still in its test phase. Of nine archival institutions (state and church), four have begun using Facebook and only one has a Twitter account. The use of web 2.0 in Slovenia is basically limited to social networking and Twitter.

The Regional Archives Maribor has decided to start a Facebook page and open a Twitter account firstly for the reason of gaining bigger recognition in the area where it functions. The problem of our archives‘ recognition in the community has always been grave. The archives was constantly mistaken for the regional museum in function as in location. Therefore, it was our wish to be more present in the community. We organize professional meetings, exhibitions, book presentations and several other events, which do not reach any more people than those in our database (who we notify with classic – paper invitations). Through Facebook and Twitter and with building a net of friends, likes and followers we have a chance to reach more people; offer them an inside into the archives, our work, holdings and promote the importance of protecting written cultural heritage.

There were some dilemmas as to start using web 2.0 applications in our archives. They were mainly connected to the lack of knowledge about the web 2.0, its informal nature and wasting time and effort for results which might not be satisfactory.

However, while using Facebook and Twitter for almost a year now, we have gained some more recognition, we found a new way of promoting the archives, a better way to communicate with users and those interested in the archives. And we also ascertained that “more heads know more” as we have a saying in Slovenia. 431 Facebook users have liked our Facebook page since its start in August 2011.

Use of Twitter in the archives is still very slow. We have twitting individuals, newspapers and media houses and maybe up to 10 cultural institutions, one of them being the Regional Archives Maribor, which currently has 98 followers and 213 tweets since 2011.

The use of web 2.0 in Slovenia’s cultural institutions is oriented mostly towards their own promotion. However, some starting steps to a better use of Web 2.0 have already been taken and we only need to proceed.