Innovation and Ingenuity in the Fortepan Digital Photo Archive
Hungarian Studies Review
Hungary stands at a pivotal point in establishing its role as a global leader in the modern approach to historical photo archiving. Born from the effort of two friends to save discarded family photographs from dumpsters and trash bags on the streets of Budapest, the Fortepan archive (fortepan.hu), now with over 150,000 donated images, has become a cultural institution within Hungary as well as a disruptive force to the archival paradigm in both content and accessibility. Fortepan has rejected traditional archival practices such as exclusivity, restriction, and regulation in favor of openness, crowdsourcing, free public downloading and use, and a new web-based structure which releases images from the limitations of historical provenance and original order. Donated images are scanned at high resolution, curated, and organized by date on a timeline that invites users to immerse themselves in the curious, poetic, and mundane moments of everyday life. Acting as a collective “family album” for Hungary, Fortepan places the public at the forefront of archival practice by inviting them to contribute to their recorded history and public memory as donors, volunteers, taggers, historians, and citizen archivists.
Department of Communication and Media
Original Publication Date
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Campbell, Isaac and Fabos, Bettina, "Innovation and Ingenuity in the Fortepan Digital Photo Archive" (2021). Faculty Publications. 5265.