What can I find on arkiv.dk?
On arkiv.dk, you can search in more than 580 Danish archive collections. To begin with, you can search in all the archives, but it is also possible to restrict your search to one or a selection of archives. If you happen to need help with your search, please use the guide Search help.
The archive collections comprise many different types of material: archive records, photographs, maps, newspaper clippings, film and sound recordings and much more besides. You can search in all the materials or just limit yourself, for instance to searching for photographs.
On arkiv.dk, you can see information on more than two million historical photographs and a quarter of a million catalogued archive records. By far the majority of the photographs are digitized and can be accessed directly. Finally, via arkiv.dk you can gain access to several thousand historical films and sound recordings and nearly 10,000 digitized maps and plans. More than 3.2 million catalogue records are accessible in total on arkiv.dk, and the number is increasing monthly by 20-25,000.
Most of the material is of private origin, but in certain archives, records from local government and other institutions, too, are to be found.
Arkiv.dk can be used by both private individuals interested in local history or genealogy and by researchers who have the broader aim of historical research.
Archive collections are especially suitable to document historical events that took place locally. At the same time, in all towns and parishes, you can also find examples of how historical themes of national importance unfolded locally. Therefore, archives provide a valuable supplement to the sources that are stored in state/national archives and libraries.
Arkiv.dk is a good place to begin, if you wish to gain an insight into what the archives hold. However, what you see on arkiv.dk is only the tip of the iceberg. The material therein has been delivered by citizens, societies, companies or institutions on a voluntary basis after mutual agreement. Unlike in the case of state or local government records, the delivery of archive material of private origin is not compulsory. Therefore, you cannot assume that the archives hold records that give all sides of a story.
The large variety of archives is also reflected in their collections. Thus, it is difficult to
establish any general guidelines for the types of records you can expect to find in the archives. The source material is often highly dependent on the locality, and reflects, for example the way different movements and societies have interacted in a local community or how a specific industry or
business influenced an area. The selection of source material also depends on what the individual archive has prioritized in its collecting strategy and when the archive was established.
At the turn of the 1980s, large nationwide archive collecting projects were implemented. Here,
records and images from clubs and societies were collected, which means that most archives hold a large amount of such material in their collections.
The major part of the collected material belongs to the period before digitalization. While it was relatively easy for archives to collect analogue material, the task of collecting digital material poses some challenges. Thus, the newer material found in archives is rather limited.
Many archives still have a large amount of uncatalogued material which cannot be displayed on arkiv.dk. Some archives began the process of digitizing records when the cataloguing system Arkibas, that is behind arkiv.dk, was put into operation in 1989; other archives are only now beginning to digitize records, and, therefore, most of their material is still only found in analogue catalogues.
If you do not find what you are looking for, please contact the individual archive. You will find the contact details for the archives on: www.arkivvejviser.dk.
At the archives, members of staff who are highly knowledgeable about the history of their local community are ready to help you search further.
Please remember that the resources of the archives are all very different, and many who work in them are volunteers who work on local history in their spare time. This is why it will be sometime before all archive material can be displayed on arkiv.dk.
Please note that not all local and town archives in Denmark contribute material to arkiv.dk. Therefore, it may be necessary to search other places, too, in order to obtain a complete overview of the contents of all archives.
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