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The Université catholique de Louvain has a long history, begun 600 years ago. Men and women have made it: teachers, students, researchers, members of the authorities. Great currents have crossed it. UCL Archives invites you to meet the first, to elucidate the second.

UCL Archives, online since 2018, is enriched every year and is part of the broader policy implemented by the Université catholique de Louvain Open Knowledge.  


An open and interoperable portal

To facilitate the dissemination of its resources, UCL Archives relies on a set of protocols and interoperability standards.  


Make his descriptions interoperable

The Dublin Core, developed by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), is a simple and generic descriptive format, consisting of 15 elements all optional and repeatable. It is intended to be easy to use and general enough to be relevant regardless of the discipline and is intended to allow interoperability between systems designed independently of each other. The Dublin Core is the object of the international standard ISO 15836. To allow a more detailed description, UCL Archives uses the qualified Dublin Core, composed of additional elements as well as qualifiers to clarify the meaning, the syntax or the vocabulary of some elements.

The OAI-PMH (Open archives initiative – protocol for metadata harvesting) protocol is a way of exchanging metadata between several institutions on the Internet, in order to increase access to digital documents. It makes it possible to increase the visibility of the digital collections, to reconstitute corpora virtually from resources accessible on different sites. It facilitates the exchange of data between data providers (who expose their metadata on a web server, called OAI warehouse) and a service provider (who harvest this data). Dublin Core XML is the basic metadata schema for data exposure. The OAI warehouse of UCL Archives is accessible at the following address: https://archives.uclouvain.be/oai-pmh-repository/request.


Make your images interoperable

International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) is a set of technical specifications that aims to provide an interoperability framework for delivering high-resolution images on the Web. IIIF aims to promote the interoperability of digital libraries and to provide an enhanced user experience in terms of viewing and manipulating images on the Web. Its goal is to create a common technical framework by which warehouses can deliver their digital objects in a standardised way on the Web so that they can be viewed, manipulated and annotated by any compatible viewer. All data (images and associated metadata) remain hosted in their respective warehouses and the institutions that are responsible for them keep control over what they broadcast.

The Universal Viewer is a multimedia player (images, audio, video and text) originally developed for the British Library. It is currently used by many institutions such as the National Library of Wales, Princeton University and Stanford University. It gives researchers improved access to the resources available: deep zoom, search, bookmarking, download… In addition, it implements IIIF for image-type resources.

UCL Archives is equipped with the ‘IIIF Drag and Drop’ function: users can drag and drop the logo  of each resource into an IIIF compatible viewer to display the manifest. In this way, they can collect images from different collections and/or institutions around the world to compare them digitally and easily share their results.  



Guarantee the accessibility of resources over time to guarantee their reliability

ARK (Archival Resource Key) is a system of identifiers set up by the California Digital Library (CDL), which aims to identify digital objects in a sustainable way.    


Project team

The project is coordinated by the Archives de l’Université.

  • Aurore François (Director)
  • Caroline Derauw (project manager)
  • Françoise Hiraux
  • Véronique Fillieux

With the effective support of Fabian Boldrin  



UCL Archives was created with the support of the following partners:

  • Plan stratégique Université numérique
  • Fonds Inbev-Baillet Latour
  • Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles


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