SFA Data Challenge

Write an app using our data search API connecting to our online catalogue

SFA data challenge

At the Swiss Federal Archives (SFA), we’re looking for creative ways to improve access to our documents. Take up the SFA’s data challenge! Write an app using our data search API and maybe we’ll incorporate it into the Federal Archives’ online access platform.

Online access, which went live at the end of 2019, enables millions of freely accessible data sets from the Federal Archives catalogue to be searched and filtered using an API. You decide what the app does with the data: for example, you can develop a graphic search engine that links search results to metadata from other archives or libraries, or design a conversational agent. Two actual examples can be found under "explore". Help us improve access to the treasures of the Federal Archives!

Our data

The Swiss Federal Archives hold documents from the Federal Administration, the Federal Assembly and the Federal Council, from foreign resident dossiers and parliamentary debates to customs treaties and trade agreements. In most cases, the online catalogue contains only brief metadata on the documents that are kept in our stacks: the title, reference code, creation period and accessibility under the Federal Act on Archiving (ArchA, SR 152.1). Some fonds are described in greater detail in the metadata: one example is the Schweizer Filmwochenschau, where transcripts of the spoken texts are also catalogued.

The search API accesses the catalogue’s structured metadata. Documentation on the API can be found here: www.recherche.bar.admin.ch/recherche/#/en/information/api

The number of results per search request is limited to 10,000. For this reason, the app should be designed for a specific topic or for certain search functionalities rather than attempting to capture the data as a whole.


The participants in the most exciting projects (max. 25 people) will be invited to the Federal Archives. They will receive an exclusive guided tour of the archives and the opportunity to meet other challenge participants and staff of the Archives at a drinks reception. The date will be set as soon as it is clear that the restrictions associated with COVID-19 are going to be eased.

Selected submissions will also be presented on our online channels. We may also contact individual developers or teams to integrate the functionalities into our offering. A payment will be made if this leads to a collaboration.

More information

View the complete tender text, join the #project_sfa-data-challenge on our Slack, or contact Christa Ackermann for further information about the SFA Data Challenge.

Event finished

06.06.2020 18:00

Edited content

05.06.2020 11:53 ~ loleg

Event started

05.06.2020 09:00

Joined the team

04.06.2020 15:12 ~ SFA

Challenge posted

04.06.2020 15:12 ~ SFA
Contributed 3 years ago by SFA for GLAMhack 2020

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