Project Online access

In future you will be able to consult every dossier from the Federal Archives online, with analogue dossiers being digitised to order. The Federal Archives are implementing this vision in two projects: one for the web portal and one for the digitisation infrastructure. This page includes a timetable and project news.

The Federal Archives online – any time, anywhere

The Swiss Federal Archives are working on a project that will allow you to access the full range of archival services online, wherever and whenever you want. You will be able to receive information, carry out research, read documents, place digitisation orders, submit requests to consult records and view dossiers (both analogue and digital) online. In the medium term, visits to the reading room will no longer be necessary.

For the general public: The Federal Archives provides a comprehensive online access service featuring expanded search options that also works on mobile devices.

For the administration: Thanks to improved rights management, submitting authorities will have easier access to their own

The projects 

Online access to the Federal Archives is being developed via two projects: one for the web portal and one for the
infrastructure used to digitise analogue dossiers when they are ordered.

It is being implemented in two stages. By the time the web portal goes live in 2019, the Federal Archives expect to be able to deliver some orders in digital form. The reading room will remain available. By 2021 the capacity of the digitisation infrastructure will be increased to allow all orders to be delivered digitally. At the same time, on-site facilities will be progressively scaled back. The Federal Archives’ services will be available online everywhere and at all times.


End of 2018 Completion of development work on the web portal
August 2019 Access for individual pilot users
25.11.2019 Online access to the Federal Archives available to all users
2021 Finalisation of the digitisation infrastructure
2025 Continuing development of online access
Planning status: 16.07.2021

Project news

10.01.2022 New release of online access to the SFA (V.
In addition to further stabilising data preparation (for large files) and adding extra automation steps at the back end, this release also includes a range of process optimisations requested by online access users. For example, they can click on a button to download the metadata from their results and favourites lists as XLS files, and edit and save them as they wish. Further automations have also been implemented at the back end, and maintenance work carried out on various components (e.g. new versions of Elasticsearch and ABBYY).

16.07.2021 New Release of the online access (V.

  • Optimisation of data preparation: The emphasis in this release is on optimising data preparation. The new version makes indexing for searches, text recognition (OCR) and preparation of data packages faster and more stable. The optimisations will mean shorter waiting times for digitisation orders for users of the web portal.
  • More automation at the back end: We have received many suggestions from external and internal users for ways to improve the web portal. Release V. implements some further measures that will allow Federal Archives staff to work more efficiently at the back end. They include further steps to automate orders and so speed these processes up.
  • Editable order wizard and improved presentation under “News”: It is now easier to keep the information in the order process up to date, giving users a better indication of current waiting times for digitisation orders. The new version of the web portal also supports the Markdown format in the “News” section on the homepage, allowing news items to be presented in a more user friendly way.

We look forward to receiving your feedback at

23.04.21 Continuing development of online access Over the coming years, the Federal Archives will continue developing their online access service, including viewers, optimisation of data preparation, and integration of official publications. Wherever possible, developments will be implemented using open-source software on GitHub.

22.04.2021 Online access goes open source The Federal Archives are publishing the source code for the SFA’s online access portal. The code is available under license AGPLv3 on GitHub.

21.09.2020 Prototype data challenge The Federal Archives’ data challenge encouraged those with a creative mindset to use the search API and experiment with the metadata. Three prototypes emerged:

Bild Data Challenge

GEO UNPLUGGED visualises search results on a map of the world.

The visual platform Mímir can be used to navigate from main department to document in the archive plan. It shows the extent of the fonds at a glance.

Using a saved search link, the results list download can be used to generate a results list in the form of a CSV file that can be edited locally.

In addition to creating the prototypes, the authors also offered some important suggestions for improving the API. Many thanks for all your hard work!

25.11.2019 Go-Live! Research, digitisation, downloads and advice: online access to the Federal Archives brings all these services together on a single web portal ( From today, it is available to all users. In the medium term, the Federal Archives plan to make all documents available in digital form. To this end, the digitisation structure is being further expanded between now and 2021.

Media release: New online access to the Federal Archives


22.07.2019 After the summer break we’ll be launching the pilot phase, during which we’ll be opening online access up to selected users. In the meantime, we present some figures about the online access (in german):


28.02.2019 - Slowly but surely, our online access service is nearing completion. Check out the following image gallery for some initial impressions direct from our new platform:


Haus 588x368

06.06.2018 - Information about the online access project is now available on the Federal Archives website. This page will be continually updated with project news. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Last modification 21.01.2022

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Swiss Federal Archives

Archivstrasse 24
3003 Bern

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Print contact