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DigiCULT
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Info
27
A
rchives must contribute in this way
to make the Web more intellectual
and to participate more actively in the
space known as the noosphere (the part
of the world of life that is created by
man's thought and culture).
13
A PROJECT THAT IS AWARE OF THE
VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
A
s already mentioned, one of the
basic aims of the AER project is to
facilitate and promote research. In many
cases, visitors to the portal are traditional
users of the Archives such as students,
teachers, or researchers who are taking
advantage of the new dissemination
resources available, but there are also
Internet users who are not acquainted
with the contents of archival institutions
first hand. Our development process
involves accepting and identifying diffe-
rent cultural perspectives and needs since
we are witnessing the appearance of a
virtual user whose profile we do not
know but who we do know is interested
in high-quality content of a cultural
nature over the Internet.
T
his is why the search processes wit-
hin the AER application have been
carefully planned and evaluated. There
are two options for search criteria:
1 Simple search: aimed at the typical
Internet user most interested in
general search areas.
2 Advanced and specialised search:
aimed at researchers and archivists, it
allows more complex and in-depth
consultations combining different
criteria.
T
he use of free-text or pre-establis-
hed search parameters has also been
studied. Special care has also been taken
to design clear help screens to facilitate
the use of the application and access to
information.
T
ools such as the Researcher's Diary
have been developed to facilitate
research by specialised groups of users.
This allows researchers browsing through
AER to manage their searches for docu-
ments and images over time. Its main
purpose is to update the record of useful
searches carried out by a user so that
s/he can work on them subsequently. It
records both the subjects that have been
searched for and the reference numbers
of documents obtained as a result of the
searches, making it possible to monitor
the documents consulted and record any
comments relating to resources of inte-
rest. Collaboration between heritage and
e-learning sectors has been promoted at
all times.
A
ER is not a closed project: it is con-
stantly being updated and new
functions are being developed to help
researchers get the best out of archival
resources. Current functionality allows the
researcher to request copies of documents,
ask for printed copies or copies in digital
format to be sent out, request certificates,
reserve documents prior to visiting the
actual archives and request the develop-
ment of a researchers' forum for commu-
nication with the community of users.
AER INTRANET
A
ER incorporates an intranet to faci-
litate all internal management inclu-
ding the organisation and description of
documentary resources, movement of
resources, standardisation, management of
copying and restoration of documents.
T
he spirit and purpose of the project
is that it should be extended to
include other Spanish and Latin
American archives, thus creating a space
that could be called the `Iber-Archives',
the consolidated key to which is the
Electronic Guide to Spanish and Latin
American Archives. For this reason, a
network of Archives has been configured
based on a communications infrastructu-
re with sufficient capacity to allow the
exchange and consultation of informa-
tion between different Archives and the
Ministry of Education, Culture and
Search Result: Description in context
13 For more on the `noosphere', see the Global
Consciousness project at
http://noosphere.princeton.edu/
© Minister
io de Educación,
Cultura y Depor
te de España,
2004