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Aligning Digital Services With Public Accessibility

TYPO3 Partner Agency 3pc GmbH worked with the Stasi Records Archive for a technical overhaul of their website.

Government, Public Sector, Accessibility
Technology Focus
Database, Website, Content Management
Project Focus
TYPO3 since

The Stasi Records Archive

The Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv or Stasi Records Archive in Berlin contains over 111 kilometers of documents from East Germany’s secret police. This vast archive of national history spanned everything from public surveillance records to private mail intercepts. Yet it remained locked behind an outdated content management system – until 3pc unlocked its potential with TYPO3.

In 2017, the Archive sought more than just a technical overhaul of its website, but a transformation into an informative and service-oriented digital presence. After a competitive tender involving leading CMS experts, 3pc proved ideal for aligning the site with the Archive’s mission to facilitate public access to records and information about its operations as the agency stood out for its deep TYPO3 experience and custom integration capabilities.

With over 15 years of working with complex TYPO3 projects, 3pc had honed specializations in content migration, frontend design, and backend customizations. The Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv saw them as an ideal partner to transform their digital presence from archive-first to accessibility-first.

Key Outcomes

Enhanced Access

Public access to records vastly improved.

Editor Empowerment

Enabled efficient site updates and maintenance.

Content Integration

Unified old and new content seamlessly.

Improved Workflow

Workload reduced by up to 70%.

Advanced Search

Enhanced search functionalities for better user experience.

AI Automation

Automated repetitive tasks, optimizing content delivery.

From Archive to Interface: Streamlining Access with TYPO3

3pc leveraged TYPO3 CMS’ integration capabilities to connect previously siloed workflows in order to enhance the website's usability and service delivery. Recognizing the importance of both historical documents and current information, they developed a dual approach to content integration and accessibility.

A major challenge was migrating over 1,000 outdated URLs into TYPO3 without compromising metadata or content. 3pc tackled this with custom scripts to parse old content and deliver them to TYPO3 via easy-to-use JSON interfaces. This helped preserve years of records while saving months of manual effort.

During migration, 3pc paid careful attention to structure and formatting. They tagged headlines appropriately, incorporated smaller images into galleries, and created new templates. 3pc also incorporated multiformat content like PDF documents, metadata-rich images, and video iFrames. This allowed a smooth transition that maintained the integrity of the Archive's varied digital assets.

Empowering Editors and Enhancing User Experience

Central to the project's success was distinguishing the roles within the website's management. 3pc implemented TYPO3 features that empowered online editors to maintain and update the site efficiently, ensuring that content remained relevant and accessible. This clear demarcation of more than 40 editors, with diverse experience and responsibilities, ensured that the website accurately reflected the Archive’s offerings and facilitated public engagement.

By integrating advanced search functionalities and accessibility features, the website now serves as a more effective portal for public inquiries, highlighting the Stasi Records Archive’s commitment to transparency and accessibility. The backend customization provided by 3pc enabled a dynamic content management process, allowing editors to focus on delivering quality information to the public.

Additionally, 3pc built innovative AI assistants into the TYPO3 platform to streamline content delivery processes. These AI tools automate repetitive tasks, such as linking glossary terms, thereby optimizing the workflow for the Stasi Records Archive’s website. This integration significantly empowers editors. By relieving them of mundane tasks, editors are enabled to dedicate more time to high-value activities, such as directly editing and publishing articles in the TYPO3 backend.

Redefining Digital Archiving with 3pc

“Partnering with 3pc has enabled a modern transformation of our online representations of digital files and images. Their expertise in migrating our outdated systems into a modern, engaging TYPO3 implementation has brought our websites a lot forward. We can now efficiently view records through interfaces tailored specifically to our complex archival needs and global users.”

– Nina Schwarz, Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv

Improved and Measurable Access to National History

3pc collaborated closely with Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv archivists to craft intuitive research tools, i.e. and, tailored to public needs. Whether a website visitor is in Germany, the USA, or any of the 107 countries where inquiries have come from, accessing the digitized archive inventory consisting of photos, videos, and documents from East Germany’s past directly on the website is now uncomplicated.

Faceted filters and accessibility features create meaningful historical interactions. Behind the scenes, 3pc’s TYPO3 solution facilitated massive gains in the Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv’s workflows – reducing workloads by up to 70%. More importantly, they enabled the Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv to rapidly publish newly digitized records to the public.

Contributing to TYPO3’s Open Source Community

Throughout the project, 3pc didn’t work in isolation – they actively contributed to the TYPO3 open-source community. They identified several bugs in the TYPO3 Core and extensions, particularly in the TYPO3 Workspaces Extension. These bugs were reported to the TYPO3 community, and 3pc took proactive measures by fixing some of these errors and sharing their solutions for the benefit of the broader community.

The Stasi-Unterlagen-Archiv continues maturing its TYPO3 foundations to further public archiving. Together with 3pc, they turn analog records from the past into accessible digital experiences.

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