Content Profile and Content Policy

An organization operating an OAIS should have established some criteria that aid in determining the types of information that it is willing to, or it is required to, accept.  These criteria may include, among others, subject matter, information source, degree of uniqueness or originality, and the nature of the techniques used to represent the information.
(Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems, ''Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System'', 3-2.)

The HOPE social history institutions collect all types of records and publications belonging to transnational social movements, non-profit organizations and global NGOs, national political parties, and private individuals or families—few falling into the category of public records. HOPE content providers each have their own collection policies, broadly delineating the types of materials they accept and the range of sources. Most do not use quality-based selection criteria for donated physical or digital material. As private institutions they are, simply put, not in the position to dictate the quality of acquired materials. And as they often solicit overlooked and otherwise 'un-collectable' content, they tend to draw a large proportion of ephemera, grey literature, informal works, and perishable material.

On the other hand, in keeping with their legacy and mandate, they are highly selective regarding the topical scope of the materials they accession, keeping their profile well distinguished from that of state institutions. As they often treat transnational or pan-European themes, HOPE social history institutions tend to hold foreign language or multilingual collections. And materials collected—including publications, personal papers, organizational records, grey literature, paraphernalia, films, and visual materials—tend to cross traditional information domains.

Collection policies are realized locally through statutory agreements and deeds of gift stipulating access and reuse conditions for each collection. Archival legislation in each country partly covers legal requirements on the records of these private entities. Freedom of Information Acts are only applicable to those of their collections defined as public records. For the most part, access to their collections is circumscribed by donor restrictions, copyrights, and data protection requirements.

The HOPE Collections Policy Framework provides guidelines on the provision of digital objects and descriptive metadata to the HOPE system. The main purpose of the framework is to support the formation of clearly delineated data sets—by convention HOPE defines them as 'collections'—and to create collection-based templates in order to provide data to the access service, the HOPE Aggregator.

HOPE collections are selected based on two criteria:

  • they should be a 'set' of digital objects, based on their production or provenance
  • they should relate to the broad social history themes established by the HOPE partners

The concept of social history is itself open to interpretation, and is often defined only by its 'oppositional' character. It is thought to be concerned with 'real life' rather than abstract theories, with 'ordinary people' rather than privileged elites, with 'everyday things' rather than political events. Content providers must tag their HOPE collections and respective items with HOPE Themes in order to bring the HOPE Social History Resource together as a coherent body of material, regardless of local classification, structure and language. HOPE Themes will cluster the HOPE social history content in Europeana, highlighting the domain and enhancing the discovery-to-delivery experience.

The current content policy covers only digital material. This includes: digitized copies of currently held analog material; copies existing only in digital form (i.e. analog originals are out of reach or have been destroyed); and digitally born, recently created materials.

Currently, the HOPE federated service depends on content providers' local repository infrastructure to regulate access. HOPE has developed an access matrix on the reuse of content to provide guidance on local access management. HOPE also recommends that content providers manage access at a high level of granularity.

Related Resources

Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems. ''Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System''. CCSDS 650.0-M-2 Magenta Book. Washington D.C.: NASA, 2012. (

HOPE: Heritage of the People's Europe. ''HOPE Collections Policy Framework''. March 2013. (…)


This section last updated July 2013. Content is no longer maintained.