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In a three day conference in June 2009, the NAi aims to map the development of research and experiences in creating, consuming and using digital architectural archives.

Conference 10 - 12 June 2009
Hybrid Architectural Archives: Creating, Managing and Using Digital Archives
Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam

For architectural archives, digital files are not just a new kind of datacarrier as was the case with microfilm. Digital materials require much more attention to be handled, described and stored in a consistent, safe and persistent way than paper or film. The awareness that our digital heritage is much more fragile than paper archives slowly starts to pervade the cultural heritage community. While some institutions are already testing e-repository test beds, most organisations are still searching for technical solutions for the new hybrid environment in which paper archives are accompanied by digital files.

Research and experiences
The conference will be a continuation of the Gau:di conference held in Paris from 8 to 10 November 2007 “Architecture and Digital Archives. Architecture in the Digital Age: a question of memory”. The conference is meant for architects, architectural museum staff, staff from cultural heritage institutions, architectural historians and researchers. The main purpose of the meeting is to map the development of research and experiences in creating, consuming and using digital architectural archives. The conference focuses on bringing together experts in the fields of architecture (the creators), architectural archives and museums (the keepers: preservation and access) and researchers (users).

Hybrid environment
The specific problems with permanent storage, access and retrieval of digital architectural archives are gradually revealing themselves. What are the consequences for organizations in a hybrid environment and what choices do we have to face?
With regard to digitising paper archives: should we digitise complete archives or parts of it retrospectively and describe them in the same way as our paper archives? How can we create a useful multi language thesaurus and vocabulary necessary to find the requested information? How should we present digital information and what will be the surplus value for users compared to the original paper drawings. How can users and providers make the most of this new digital content?

With regard to born digital archival material: how do we address the problem of authenticity when the digital original is the same as the copy on the web? What are the specific inherent qualities of digital designs? How do we preserve the functionalities of an architectural design produced by interactive software once the material is in a repository?

Conference themes
The questions above have been translated into the following themes:

  • Acquiring and processing digital archives in repositories
  • Producing digital archives in architectural practices
  • Architectural archives on the web
  • Users: expectations and use
  • Multilingual architecture thesauri and vocabularies


A preliminary program is now available.

January 5, 2009: submission of abstract
February 1, 2009: communication of acceptance
May 1, 2009: submission of full paper

The conference will take place in two different locations. Thursday June 11 in the Auditorium of the National Library in The Hague and Friday June 12 in the Auditorium of the NAI in Rotterdam. A hotel in Rotterdam is recommended. The Hague can be reached by train in 15 minutes. The National Library is located next to the train station: Den Haag Centraal (The Hague Central Station).


The registration fee is € 200 (6% VAT included) before March 1, 2009. After March 1, 2009 the fee is € 250 (6% VAT included). Registration allows access to the conference, documentation, museum- and library visits, coffee and tea, lunches on Thursday and Friday. To register, please complete the online registration form.

Practical information
Information on hotels and public transport.

Conference organisation
Patricia Alkhoven, Head of Collection Department NAI, Henk Vanstappen (Projectleader E-Projects NAI), Mariet Willinge (Special Projects NAI), David Peycere (Cite de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine), Riccardo Domenichini (Universita IUAV di Venezia)
Conference office: Mrs. Erica Etman, Telephone: +31 (0) 440 12 21

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Program of the conference, including thematical sessions and visits to the National Archives and the NAI model collection.

Registration and payment
If you wish to take part in the conference, please complete the registration form available on this website.

How to get there and where to stay
Addresses and maps of the main venues: NAi Rotterdam and National Library The Hague. We also recommend a number of hotels for conference visitors from abroad.

Visitor information

Here you will find all the practical information you need about The New Institute (the former NAI Rotterdam), such as opening hours, entrance fees and contact details.


Conference papers and presentations
Participants organising the conference sessions presented a proposal for their contribution. Proposals are available in pdf-files. Some of the presentations held during the conference are also available.

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