The MyArchive Service


1. Introduction

More and more archival material is born-digital and the MyArchive Service meets a long-felt need for practical archival solutions for them. It is a digital service that helps preserve born-digital archives by allowing private archive creators to deposit digital archival material within a secure space. Their archives may in due course, by agreement, be acquired – as donations – by the Royal Library. The Library will guarantee preservation and will provide access as agreed with each individual archive creator.
We mainly aim the MyArchive Service at Danish archive creators: authors, researchers, artists, and persons active in the cultural domain taken in a broad sense, those whose work is considered important for future research into particular areas of science, the history of learning, cultural history, etc.
Whereas published material has traditionally been covered by legal deposit, the Royal Library’s acquisition of private archival material has always been based on voluntary donations. This principle is continued in the digitally based MyArchive Service.
The Service is a continuation – in the digital world – of the work that has taken place at the Royal (National) Library since the 19th century: selective acquisition of Danish private archives with subsequent preservation and access. The Royal Library typically acquired letters, diaries, notebooks of all kinds, manuscripts, etc. Normally, the material had been preserved – more or less securely – by descendants of the archive creator, until the day it was bequeathed to a library or archive. Then it was organised, registered, and (after being declassified) made available to scholars and a wider public.
Whereas published material has traditionally been covered by legal deposit, the Royal Library’s acquisition of private archival material has always been based on voluntary donations. This principle is continued in the digitally based MyArchive Service.
The Service aims to cover not only correspondence (e-mails) relating to research and cultural activities, but also all material that can be attached to e-mails, e.g. manuscripts, memos, illustrations, presentations, and other types of material used in research or teaching.
The relation between library and archive creator is defined, in a document stating the Contract Terms for Deposit and Donation, and in a Memorandum of Agreement signed by both parties on the basis of an Application
2. Deposit
Use of the MyArchive Service requires an agreement with the Royal Library. Once this is done, we will assign a Deposit Area to the archive creator on a server protected by the Library’s firewall. Deposit takes place via e-mail. The MyArchive Service has been designed to be easy to use on a daily or regular basis. Users only need to be familiar with the basic standard procedures used for monitoring a private mailbox.
The Deposit Area of the archive creator is included virtually, as a secondary mailbox, within the private mailbox of each archive creator: e-mails that they wish to deposit can be copied by drag-and-drop or by copying via a menu. Other digital material can be deposited as attachments to e-mails. If they wish to deposit a separate document (not previously attached to an e-mail), this can be done by attaching it to a new e-mail sent to themselves and then deposited. In this way creators can also comment on the contents of the attached document.
Example: An author wants to deposit digital drafts of a ollection of poems; they attach the drafts to an e-mail in which they can describe the status and date of each draft. In the Subject field, they can give appropriate information to make retrieval as easy as possible. They send the email to themselves and then deposited it in a folder they have created in their Deposit area, e.g. ‘My collections of poems’. The contents of the e-mail itself will then correspond to what the author in the analogue world would have written on the file containing the drafts of that particular collection of poems.
In the analogue world one might keep material (letters, manuscripts, etc.) at home that could be of interest to future scholars: one might reorganize it, dump some of it as uninteresting, and repack parts of it and write an identification of the contents on the wrapper. The MyArchive services replicates this in the digital world; the Deposit Area sits within the firewall of the Royal Library, but each archive creator has full control over the material as long as it has not been formally donated to a Library or an archival institution. Creators can:
  •  Move and copy e-mails from the private mailbox to the MyArchive Deposit Area (also a mailbox). Both operations can be done by drag-and-drop within the same window.
  • Delete e-mails
  • Organize and reorganize e-mails in folders and sub-folders
  • Archive non-email material by attaching it to a fresh e-mail sent to the private mailbox and then copied to the MyArchive Deposit Area.
  • Forward to other mail accounts (colleagues, etc.) copies of deposited e-mails from the personal MyArchive Deposit Area. 
As in the analogue world, once the archive is donated it becomes the responsibility of the Library to manage the archive.
3. Donation
At some agreed point in time (normally at the latest 5 years after opening a Deposit Area) the deposited material becomes the property of the Royal Library. From this moment the archive creator (turned donator) cannot add e-mails or delete or reorganize the Deposit Area, but access on a read-only basis will be possible through the in a variety of ways. It will of course be possible for the donator to renew the Memorandum of Agreement and thus to continue to have access to a Deposit Area.
At the latest at this stage, a record will be created in the Online Catalogue of the Royal Library, signalling to users that the given archive exists, and whether it is classified or not.

4. Access
Once donated MyArchive material will be accessible for users of the Royal Library as agreed in the Memorandum of Agreement. As the system is currently setup, it will be accessed through a dedicated PC within the Royal Library, with appropriate assistance from the Library’s staff.
In a later phase, donated material will be prepared for digital long term preservation in the Digital Repository (or Digital stacks) of the Royal Library. From then on, the material will be accessible through the access systems set up by the Royal Library for access in general to digital material within its collections. These systems will include blocking of access of the general public to classified material.

5. Security
Security, not least protection against non-authorized intrusion, has had high priority under the planning of the MyArchive Service.
The Royal Library has much experience in the area, running e-mail systems and database applications for a number of other Danish institutions. The MyArchive Service complies with the same security standards as the Library’s own e-mail service and its various repositories of digital resources that are part of the Danish cultural heritage.
Thus, the MyArchive server is situated behind the same firewall which protects other critical resources of the Library, and it is regularly backed-up following the same procedures as those of the Library’s other systems and data.
The MyArchive server is located in Denmark and operates under Danish law.

6. Technical requirements

For using the MyArchive Service, it is currently a requirement that the archive creator uses an e-mail client that supports IMAP, the Internet Message Access Protocol. This protocol is supported by most e-mail clients. Currently, the Royal Library will support users using the Outlook Mail Client version 2007, the MacMail Client OS X, and the iPad Mail Client iOS 6.
An archive creator can set up access to his or her Deposit Area on any number of computers using any number of different e-mail clients that support IMAP.
The archive creator can set up access to certain other ‘secondary’ e-mail systems, e.g. a web-based system like G-mail, if acting from a ‘primary’ Outlook Client or MacMail Client with access through IMAP to the user’s Deposit Area. In this example, it will allow the archive creator to drag-and-drop e-mails are located on the G-mail server, into the Deposit Area.
Applications for a Deposit Area should be directed to, or by letter to The Royal Library, Department of National Collections, att. MyArchive, P.O.B. 2149, 1016 Copenhagen K.


Printable Contract Terms for Deposit and Donation (pdf) [Currently only available in Danish]
Application (Word) [Currently only available in Danish]
Memorandum of Agreement regarding Deposit (Word) [Currently only available in Danish]
Memorandum of Agreement regarding Donation (Word) [Currently only available in Danish]
Printable Setup Manual for Outlook (pdf) (45 pages, very explicit, mostly screen shots) [Currently only available in Danish]
Video Setup Manual for Oulook (YouTube) (5 minutes) [Currently only available in Danish]
Printable Setup Manual for MacMail (pdf) [Currently only available in Danish]
Printable Setup Manual for iPAD (pdf) [Currently only available in Danish]