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Jordi Sequero, Barcelona, everything's changing

One year ago we spoke about our will to change and improve the Scientific Archives Service website. Now, we are here to show you the results and to ask for your comments.

Old Sac
SAC’s original web page had only limited listings of institutions and collections, which were ordered alphabetically, and, also, it had a form for the institutions to send information. All this was included in a static website.
This is the old web site before the improvements were made. We can see the institutions, files indices and the form we use to submit information.

The road to a new website 
Among others factors, the following improvements were made possible thanks to a bigger financial support by the Catalan’s Studies Institute. This was due to the appearance of a favourable climate in the archives in Catalonia. We can see this in different examples: the creation of the Archive’s General Sub department, which is responsible for the coordination and management of the political archives in Catalonia; the consolidation of the ESAGED, the first archive school in Spain; etc.

This new situation enabled us to create:

- A pioneer project in relation to the science archives in Catalonia and Spain.
- The centralisation of information, which enabled the extension of the number and quality of the services that we offer to the science archive users.
- And the unification of professional work in this science field, therefore avoiding different criteria and technique of other disciplines.

In relation to the old web, we have only kept three elements: the indices of institutions and collections and the form in which to send information, but the new website has an updated design; it is more user friendly, in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English, etc. than the old one.

Now I will briefly explain the most important improvements we made: Search, Treatments or Catalogues, Documents and Map Collections.

- The first one is in relation to the Search engine. To improve the access to information, now we have three different options, previously explained indices, and two new options: the simple and the advanced search engine. These have a drop down menu to make it easier to make a choice. This search and the use of the indices have the same result: a file resource like this.

- The second one is about the Treatments or Catalogues. We’ve two ways to proceed: the direct way, with the creation of catalogues, and an indirect way, taking current catalogues and performing migrations to our databases. With this second treatment we can quickly increase the number of our catalogues, although the unification of the criteria is an important step that needs to be made. Both ways aim to increase our catalogue databases, in which we can perform cross searches. Here is the opening menu where you can download the full catalogues as a pdf file (on the right side of the image) or enter your search information. With this, you can search selectively in specific catalogues or do a cross search using a specific field such as data, languages, subjects, etc. and here we can see the final search result: the file.

- Another important change is the creation of a new service called Documents. With this new website we want to contribute to scientific dissemination out of the academic and research fields. For this reason, we decided to create a new image database with images of scientific documents. This project, which is still under construction, has its own different problems and questions: How many and what kind of documents do we have to introduce to each collection?, Should we try to scan every document or a representative selection of some documents?, etc. At this moment we prefer the second option, although we haven’t ruled out the first one.   Here we can see the documents menu in which we can do a simple search, looking for images from one single collection or we can do a cross search in the whole database. In this example we have chosen all the images from Monturiol’s collections. The results consist of two images. If you click on it the image is enlarged and the information file appears.

- The last but not least change is the Collections map. This is a project to visualise the information and, thus, will be an important tool for our users (to quickly search for information) and for us (to know what kind and how much information we have, we need, etc.).  The way to do this is through an agreement with a software company, whereby the price of development is shared, and thus we save money and have a tool designed for our specific necessities. But, at the moment, we are still working on the creation of this programme and I am not able to show you the final result. However I can present a simulation for you inspired in a financial website ( Anyway, we can see a visual map which has eleven big squares which represent all the different disciplines. The sizes represent the number of collections inside each discipline. If we chose one of these, for example physics, we can see other little squares, which are the specific collections. The size represents the approximate volume and the colours, from green to red, represent the date of the collection.

Next SAC
This year we must make an effort to consolidate these changes, and this must be done through collaboration with public administration, who is our sponsor. But also and above all, by utilising our ability to involve public and private institutions and people who are the owners of the science collections. We need their collaboration to obtain information, to make and to migrate catalogues, to scan documents, etc.
If we achieve, as we will, the consolidation of the Scientific Archives Service through these projects, which have already started this year, we will begin to work on the design and development of new ways of action. Some of these, which are now already in an initial state of development are:
- Chronological maps of the History of Science in Catalonia.
- Integration of the science instruments thanks to agreements with different institutions, such as the Catalonia’s Medical Museum, to promote scientific culture and to avoid its disappearance.
- Dissemination of research work to create relationships between the collections and the results of its researchers.
- Etc.

And Finally, What happen with the Spanish project: Archivos de Ciencia?
This project was born to be a state extension of the ancient catalan service, but with fewer services due to the less investment. And, although the last year we had worked hard to develop this, this year the Spanish Cultural Ministry didn’t renew his support and, at this moment, we don’t know exactly the reasons. Thus, the future of this project is, at this moment, uncertain. 
You can see the final result in the different posters that we have spread around here or visiting our web page.  )

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