“We have very good experiences with Archive-IT. And especially the service. If you want it fast, you can do it fast. You can simply make agreements about that. There is very good support. There is always a solution.”
On 1 January 2010, the merger between Venray and the villages of Geijsteren, Wanssum and Blitterswijck (of the former municipality of Meerlo-Wanssum) was a fact. The municipality of Venray was the official legal successor of all archives (including the archives of the village centres of Tienray, Meerlo and Swolgen, which after the reorganisation fall under the municipality of Horst aan de Maas), but did not have enough space for the physical storage of the archives in Venray. Digitizing was the best solution. Maarten van Berlo: “We immediately digitised the construction files. The other files are only scanned when we need them and the storage area is here in Venray. Drawings are A0 and are easy to read via JIM and Virtual File. The scale is also scanned. The original building files can be found at Archive-IT and we can request them from Archive-IT. Upon request, Archive-IT will then send us the requested files by post. It takes some getting used to, because it is no longer possible to measure with the bar. But architects now also measure distances on the computer. When citizens start building, they often need drawings. We then provide them as copies. The original remains in the file”.
The best offer
Maarten van Berlo: “We requested quotations from three companies. Archive-IT had the best offer. The proximity (from Venray to Reuver) is also a big advantage. JIM is unique, a super application. With extra training that Archive-IT facilitated for us, everyone can work well with it. When we started to orientate ourselves, we searched for archive repositories. Archive-IT was also one of the search results. Archive-IT is a sister company of Jalema, which is a well-known player in the municipality, so we knew we were in the right place.”
“A municipality must keep (part of) its files indefinitely” and “they must remain legible for at least 100 years”, according to the Archives Act. A building permit application must also be kept on paper if substitution (replacement of paper by a digital file) is not yet applied. The static archives of the municipality of Venray are located in the cellars of the town hall. Paper will stay for a while anyway. “Yes, yes, history costs a lot of money.”
- A digital file has even more advantages:
- It remains intact;
- You can’t lose it anymore;
- There is always a backup;
- It is available to more users at the same time and in more locations.
Now that the first project digitisation has been completed, project leader for the municipality of Venray Geert Elting and Maarten van Berlo look back on the digitisation of four different archive files. These Meerlo-Wanssum archives were opened up differently than is usual in Venray. Geert Elting: “With good preparation, digitising is a piece of cake. Due to circumstances, we had to digitize immediately and then saw that the (digital) archives were not unambiguously organized. All archives had to be (digitally) reworked. A process that we are still working on. Looking back, we say: take enough time for the preparation, which you win back afterwards.” It was also an important learning experience for Archive-IT, partly because Venray is the first municipal organisation where Archive-IT digitised the archives.
Geert Elting: “Soon the entire municipality will want to work paperless. Residents will receive a MijnVenray.nl account in due course, so they can log in at home and see all their affairs with the municipality of Venray. But first everything has to be digital, before we can start with the CCC (Customer Contact Centre) and integrate it with the website. We are now making great strides in this direction.”