background image
and the conspiracy-laden norms of illegal
activity abroad created even more confusion
within the structure.
In 1992, the German historian Professor
Weber asked the Council of Europe to
intervene to save the Comintern Archive in
Moscow, which was endangered by political
changes.The Council of Europe requested
the help of the International Council on
Archives who, at the end of 1992, initiated
discussions about the possibility of creating
an electronic catalogue which would even-
tually provide easy access to this unique set
of archival holdings.The idea was based on
the model and technology of the Sevilla
Archivo General de Indias, which was crea-
ted to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the
discovery of America. ArchiDoc
(, a complex soft-
ware package which can handle the catalogue,
digitisation and Research Room requests,
was developed by the Spanish Informatica
Corte InglÚs in the early 1980s and continu-
ally upgraded to keep pace with the rapid
development of information technology.
The Framework Agreement of 1996 envisa-
ged the creation of an electronic database of
the 220,000 Communist International files
(about 20 million entries) and of 1,000,000
digitised images of the most frequently rese-
arched documents. Seven years later, on 27
June 2003, RGASPI inaugurated the elec-
tronic version of the Comintern Archives,
which is now freely accessible from the
Reading Room for researchers and the
interested public.
Under the leadership of the international
board INCOMKA, the eight Partner
Organizations (the Federal Archives of
Switzerland; the Federal Archives of
Germany; the Archives of France; the State
Archives of Italy;The Ministry for
Education and Culture of Spain; the
National Archives of Sweden; the Library of
Congress, US; and the Open Society
Cultural Information and Digital
Technology: seminar series at the
Foundation of the Hellenic World
The use of digital technology and the pro-
motion of cultural information are the sub-
jects of the new seminar series organised by
the Foundation of the Hellenic World
( seminars are a
continuation of the Cultural Convergence and
Digital Technology congress
which took place in May 2003.They will
address themes ranging from the digitisation
of collections and monuments to the use of
VR systems and 3D GIS in excavation sites.
The seminars target a very broad audience
from the education and research communi-
ties, as well as a variety of other professional
areas (arts and media, ICT sector, architectu-
re, museology, history and archaeology).
For the complete seminar series timetable
and further information (in the Greek lang-
uage only), see:
Michael Dertouzos Competition
The Michael Dertouzos Awards, entitled IT
with a Human Face, have been announced in
conjunction with the 14th World Congress on
Information Technology (WCIT 2004), which
will take place at the Convention Centre of
the Athens Concert Hall
( on 19-21 May
2004.These prestigious awards fall under the
umbrella of the Human-centred IT
Environments and Applications WCIT working
session, and are dedicated to the famous
Greek computer scientist and technology
humanist Michael Dertouzos.
The awards are open to students and young
researchers working in the field of informa-
tion technology with emphasis on the human
interface of computing systems and innovati-
ve IT-based technologies.The submission
deadline for abstracts is 26 March 2004. For
further information on WCIT, see:
The Electronic Comintern Archives
available in Budapest
The Communist International (Comintern),
founded by 52 representatives of 35 parties
and organisations in March 1919, ruled over
the international Communist movement
through its 70 partners for almost a quarter
of a century. It was dissolved in 1943.The
documents testifying to its organisational life,
to the public and secret debates, to decisions
made behind closed doors and deliberately
leaked, were immediately transferred to the
Central Committee of the Communist Party
of the USSR and later to the Central Party
Archive of the Institute of Marxism-
Leninism.The documents were classified `Top
Secret' and as such were inaccessible even to
researchers. All the documents of the
Communist International (written in about
90 languages) would make a line 15 kilome-
tres long if placed side by side in archival
boxes.The entire collection is shelved in the
storage rooms of the Russian State Archive
for Social and Political History (RGASPI),
successor to the Central Party Archive.The
documents comprise 220,000 files and 22
million pages in all.Without a user-friendly,
electronic catalogue this mass of material, this
trackless forest of documents, is unmanagea-
ble not only for researchers but even for spe-
cialist archivists.The frequent reorganisations
of the Comintern headquarters in Moscow