Ellen Fleurbaay , Amsterdam Municipal Archives, The Netherlands
Short Paper: Short Paper 4: Building a New Culture
At the start of the new millenium, to be exact on the 27th of January 2000, the website of the Municipal Archives of Amsterdam has made a new start. At the same time an Archives-exhibition opened of the photographs of the nineteenth century city-photographer Jacob Olie. The website and exhibition had a very positive influence on each other: 50,000 visitors came to see the original photographs and the website attracted a multiple of this number of visitors. Many of the webvisitors ordered photographs and/or the exhibition-catalogue in the webstore.
In October, the Amsterdam Archives organised a press presentation for a new feature in our reading room and on the website. In about 1,300,000 images the registration of the population of Amsterdam between 1893 and 1939 is digitized. In the reading room one can consult several indexes (digital / microfilm) of names of all inhabitants of Amsterdam in this period and one can make prints of the corresponding digitized images of the original records. On the website an index of the names of the heads of the households is available and it is possible to order prints of the images. Both national and local press were very interested and gave us a lot of free publicity. It resulted in more than 200,000 webvisitors and 1500 prints ordered by the web in the first weekend after the presentation, and a lot of new requests for research in our reading rooms. We were surprised to see that people living next door to the Archives ordered their prints by mail and that a couple of tourists on holiday in Amsterdam visited the reading room to look for their ancestors.
The Municipal Archives of Amsterdam are very happy with the success of its webstrategy of using the internet as a way to reach a new clientele all over the world and at home and will continue on this policy.