The digitalization of valuable materials from the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library collections started in 2006. In autumn 2007 these digital images became accessible for users through the library’s website. By the beginning of 2014 have been digitalized and included in the Digital Library nearly 330 000 files – manuscripts, old printed books, unpublished documents from the Bulgarian Historical Archive and Oriental Department, portraits and photos, graphical and cartographical editions, Bulgarian newspapers and journals from 1844 to 1944 – images and their metadata. Users could search in the Electronic archive through the specialized system DocuWare. The digitalized originals are on free access for users.
The Digital Library is structured in several collections according to the type and the chronological scope of the included documents. The different collections are subdivided in separate sections.
The collection of Slavonic manuscripts is the biggest one in Bulgaria and contains 1 500 manuscripts and fragments, dated from XI to XIX century. Those, that were digitalized, are mainly documents, for which preservation the electronical access is very appropriate. At the second place are those, which are most interesting for the scholars, as well as the different fragments, the information about which could facilitate their identification as parts of manuscripts in other libraries and collections. Among the most important digitalised manuscripts are: Enina Apostle from XI century, Dobreisho Gospels from XIII century, Banitsa Gospel from XIII century, Pirdop Apostle from XIII century, Skopije Menaion from XIII century. The major part of the presented manuscripts is available also through Europeana.
The fourteenth Century presents the best the high achievements of the Bulgarian written culture from the Middle Ages. So, this century is known as the second Gold Century of the Bulgarian literature. In this collection have been gathered manuscripts that prove this fact and also show the different „faces” of the Bulgarian hand-written book. The bilingual metadata of the digitalised documents allow also their search in Europeana.
The National Library stores 150 Greek manuscripts, dated from IX to XIX century. The majority of them are liturgical books. From all these manuscripts were digitalized the earliest documents and those, that are most interesting for users. Among the most valuable documents from this collection are: the decorated fragments from Gospels from IX century, Prophetologion from XII century, Typicon from XIV century, Leitourgikon from XVIII century, the Psalter miscellanies from XIX century.
This collection contains 25 manuscripts in Latin, Romanian, German, Italian, Armenian and Georgian. Digitalized are: Regulation of the Bachkovo Monastery, that is very valuable for the Bulgarian history (copy from 1702) and Brief Grammar of the Bulgarian language from 1856.
This collection contains editions from XV to XX century. Some of these editions mark the beginning of the South Slavonic book-printing, in particular – of the Bulgarian one. The copies of books, printed in the first Slavonic printing-houses in Cetinje and Targovishte (Romania), are extremely valuable, as well as the editions of Venice from XVI century and especially those of the first Bulgarian printer Yakov Kraikov. Digitalized documents from this collection are: Chasoslovets (Horlogion) (Venice, 1566), Lament (Ostroh, 1603), Evangelion (Lviv, 1644), Akatisti s Kanoni (Akathists and Canons) (Kiev, 1765) etc.
The collection of Bulgarian old printed books (1806-1878) contains about 1 700 titles in about 10 000 volumes. This collection presents the printed production of the Bulgarian writers from the National Revival. The major part of the collection’s materials is liturgical and educational books, translated and original fiction. The first editions of the writings of the prominent Bulgarian enlighteners and writers, such as Sophronius of Vratsa, Neofit Rilski, Dr. Petar Beron, P. R. Slaveykov, Lyuben Karavelov, Hristo Botev, Ivan Vazov etc. are very interesting.
The materials of the collection will be digitalized chronologically. Among the digitalised materials are: Kiriakodromion Sirech Nedelnik (1806) of Sophronius of Vratsa, Povest Radi Strashnogo i Vtarago Prishestviya (1814), Kniga Siya Zovomaya Ogledalo (1816), Chudesa Presv. Bogoroditsi (1817), Riben Bukvar (1824) etc. In the books’ descriptions is also indicated their number in the repertory of Dr. Manyo Stoyanov Balgarska Vazrozhdenska Knizhnina.
This collection contains editions from XV to XXI century, that are differentiated by languages. Many of these editions are bibliographical rarity and also could be valuable for every world library. So far have been digitalized the following books: Dla dziatek nauka czytania pisma polskie (Кraków, 1611), Nauka ku czytniu pisma polskiego z figurmi przyіozone so nabozne modlitwy y psalmy (Lviv, 1599), Elementaria institutio Latini sermonis & pietatis Christianae (Кraków, 1575), Photii Myriobiblon sive Bibliotheca (Rouen, 1653).
The Bulgarian Historical Archive contains nearly 1 million different types of documents, related to the life and work of prominent persons from the Bulgarian Revival; cultural, social and state figures from XVIII to XXI century. Digitalized documents from this collection are: documents of the Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee, Georgi S. Rakovski. Provisional law for the national gangs (1867), Vasil Levski. Instruction of the Workers for the Liberation of the Bulgarian People (1871), the personal ordinances of Vasil Levski (1871-1872), Hristo Botev (1875-1876), P. K. Yavorov (1889-1914), as well as of the founder of the White Brotherhood Society Petar Deunov (1899). The whole volumes of the archive of the renowned Bulgarian poet Geo Milev were digitalised, including the preserved originals of his compositions and letters.
Correspondence takes a big part of every personal archival fund. From nearly 1 thousand letters in the funds of the Bulgarian National Archive were digitalized: letters from Hristo Botev, Botyo Petkov, Dr. Petar Beron, Zahari Stoyanov, Boyan Penev, Vladimir Vasilev, Todor Aleksandrov, Peyo Yavorov, Dora Gabe, Lora Karavelova, Konstantin Konstantinov, Nikolay Liliev, Geo Milev, Lyudmil Stoyanov etc.
Chronicles are books, organized by church and school communities, artisan’s associations and individual rich merchants, containing valuable information about the economic history, struggle for an Independent church and development of the Bulgarian society during the Bulgarian Revival. The Bulgarian Historical Archive stores more than 300 chronicles, mainly from XIX century. The following ones of them are already digitalized: Chronicle of the orthodox community in the town of Eski Cuma (Targovishte) (1818-1882), Chronicle of the Bulgarian community in the town of Samokov (1875-1877), Chronicle of the tailoring and homespun tailoring association in the town of Dobrich (1857-1878).
At the moment the Digital Library presents a part of the Portraits and Photos Fund and of the Portraits Collection of the Special Collections Department. Among the digitalized documents are: portraits of Bulgarian and foreign political, economic and church figures, including photographs of their families, relatives and companions; photos, related to the Bulgarian Revival, modern and most modern history; photo views from Bulgarian towns, villages, historical and memorable places, related to specific persons and events, main institutions; photo views from towns and villages in Europe and USA.
This collection contains nearly 3 200 manuscripts. The digitalization of these documents will be a long-term activity, because of the big size of the collection. At the beginning have been selected earlier manuscripts and rarely seen works in different subjects: Kitab al-Yamini (OR K1) from al-Utbi (XI century) and Shakaik al-Numaniya – copy from the beginning of XI century (OR 801) – hadiths, Sharh al-Luma according to a grammar (OR 1863), Diwan of al-Mutanabbi (OR 2491) and Diwan Ibn Sabit (OR 2488) – poetry, Audah al-masalik (OR 2643) – geography, Miscellany of religious works (OR 492).
This collection includes nearly 490 manuscripts. Among them are digitalized several interesting titles: a Bulgarian-Turkish dictionary composed in Skopije – Lugat-it Bulgarî (OR 900), biographies of saints Bahr el-velye, composed in Kyustendil (OR 893) and Gyulshen-i insha from al-Kastalani (XV century) in the field of epistolography.
This collection includes nearly 120 manuscripts. The copies, selected for digitalization, are in the field of fiction: Timur-nama (OR 994), Ibtida-nama (OR 188), Baharistan (OR 1127) and Sunbulistan (OR 1868) and a work on astronomy – Zidj-i Yamini (OR 1750).
This collection includes nearly 720 defters (registers) in Ottoman Turkish. These defters are registers of timars and about jizyas, lists for payment of the maintenance of different subdivisions of the army, detailed and shortened tax registers, account books, general inventories of the different categories of people with special statute in the Ottoman Empire (djelepkeshans, falconers, voinugans) etc. A part of these registers was translated and published in the series Turkish Sources for the Bulgarian History (TIBI) of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, as well as in Archives Are Speaking of Archives State Agency.
This collection in the Oriental Department of the National Library contains 185 documents. A little part of these documents have only several sheets, but other – over 300 sheets. The biggest group of them are the sidjills from Vidin – 73; the second one are those from Sofia – 55, Ruse – 42, Dobrich – 9, Silistra – 5 and Targovishte – 1.
A sijill is an incoming-outcoming register, organized by the cadi or his deputy in a specific settlement. In this register were copied all the orders, received by any higher institutions (including by the office of the sultan). A sijill also includes copies of documents, written by the cadi for the higher institutions. So, it is a really valuable and interesting historical source of information. The documents in a sijill are related to the political relations with other countries and different issues of the Ottoman Empire. The information about specific settlements that could be found in this document is also very valuable: inventories of heritages that could provide more information about the property status of the people; lists of the prices of the stocks and products in the settlement; disputable cases in connection with property; buildings and renovations; waqf properties etc. The metadata for the digitalised sijills are indicated in Bulgarian and English and through them the collection is available also in Europeana.
A considerable part of the single documents in Ottoman Turkish is related mainly to the political and economical relations between the Ottoman Empire and the European countries. These documents are stored in the following funds, named on the specific country: Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia etc. The documents about the European countries were classified in the OAK collection and in the fund № 1 (Istanbul).
The largest part of the documents kept at the Oriental collections department concerns the history of the Bulgarian lands and the Balkans during the Ottoman period. They are organized in funds, according to the geographical place that the given document refers to – e.g. fund 3 and 3A Athens, 6 and 6A – Belgrade, 112 and 112A – Rousse, 146 and 146A – Thessaloniki, 156 and 156 A – Sofia and so forth. Two of the other major collections – the so-called newly achieved Turkish archive and the Oriental archive collection, feature documents about the Balkans. Related information is also to be found in the sijill and defter collection.
Together with documents about Bulgaria and the other Balkan and European countries, in the Oriental Collections Department are also stored hundreds of thousands archival units, which contain valuable information about the Arabic countries during the Ottoman period of their history. The political, military and economic relations of the Ottoman Empire with Iran explain the possession of archives about this country. The documents are mainly in Ottoman Turkish, nearly 3 000 – in Arabic and nearly 35 – in Persian. They are differentiated in collections, named after different Arabic and Iranian towns, regions and countries (Damascus, Aleppo, Beirut, Saïda Province, Hejaz, Cairo, Iran, Tabriz, Mosul, Baghdad etc.). People could also find information about these countries in the Oriental Archival Collection, fund 1 (Istanbul) and other funds and collections.
The collection of old printed books in Arabic contains nearly 2 000 volumes. It includes almost all the publications of the first printing house in Ottoman Turkish that was opened nearly 250 years after the Gutenberg’s invention. In this collection are stored many books, edited by Bulak (Egypt); books and newspapers, printed in Bulgaria to nearly 1940; publications from XVIII and XIX centuries, related to the East and published in Europe.
This collection contains nearly 12 000 original paintings, prints, engravings, litographies and bookplates. The majority of them are extremely valuable, some of them – hand-made colored.
The digitalized ones are: the prints of Atanas and Vladimir Karastoyanov, several prints from the Rila Monastery and the Art School of Samokov, originals from Rayko Aleksiev and Aleksander Bojinov.
The collection contains almost all the contemporary Bulgarian printed graphic publications, as well as many foreign reproductions, published in limited total print. We have planned to digitalize reproductions from works of prominent painters, like Anton Mitov, Yaroslav Veshin, Haralampi Tachev, Henrih Dembicki.
The collection of albums and catalogues of museums and exhibitions contains more than 12 700 Bulgarian and foreign richly illustrated publications. Some of them have big antiquarian value. From this collection digitalized are albums from Aleksander Bojinov, Ivan Mrkvička, Nikola Mihaylov, Petar Morozov.
The cartographic collection is the best supplied in the country and contains more than 10 500 editions. It includes old reproductions and originals of maps, made by world-famous figures in this field, like Sebastian Münster, Gerhardus Mercator, Abraham Ortelius. For digitalization were planned the most valuable Bulgarian and foreign cartographic editions. Among the digitalized ones are: Bulgaria under the Regime of Tsar Simeon and now. 927-1927; Turcicum Imperum XVIII century; Walachia, Servia, Bulgaria et Romania. 1634.
The collection Bulgarian Periodicals from the Revival (1844-1878) includes 77 titles of periodicals, printed from 1844 to 1878. Their content is various and reflects different trends in the Bulgarian social and political life during the second half of XIX century. Nearly all of them could be seen in the Digital Library and some of them are the newspapers Tsarigradski Vestnik, Balgaria, Svoboda, Nezavisimost, Narodnost, Dunav, Savetnik etc. and the journals Lyuboslovie, Smesna kitka, Periodichesko spisanie na Balgarskoto knizhovno druzhestvo, Uchilishte etc. Among the lasting editions in bigger volume, are not presented only the newspapers Makedonia, Turtsia and the journal Balgarski knizhitsi. They have already been digitalised by other libraries.
The collection of Bulgarian serials from the main funds and collections of the National Library contains newspapers and journals, published in Bulgaria from 1878 to 1944. The materials, published in these editions, are an important source for researching the history of our country, because they are related to the different situations and activities in the social, political and cultural development of Bulgaria. Through the selected and digitalised editions we aim to present how the periodicals represent the different points of view about the historical events and figures, running political processes and fights between the parties in the background of the European and world achievements and catalysms. Beside this their pages present the modern trends in literature and art. The digitalisation of the periodicals will allow us to preserve the originals, which are the most endangered by multiple use. This will also allow us to satisfy the continued interests of scholars and users in the collections of Bulgarian periodicals.
The documents in this sector are presented in the frames of the Digitalizing and preserving the written legacy of Bulgaria Project
In this collection are gathered the serials, published from 1879 to 1940 in Bulgaria and abroad. These serials present several generations of Bulgarians in connection with the historical, ethnical, religious and cultural rights of political union of Trakia, Macedonia, Moesia and Dobruja. This subject was from the leading ones in the periodicals, published during the decades between the decisions from the Congress of Berlin and the sign of the Treaty of Craiova.
SERDIKA MAGAZINE is edition of the Sofia municipality as a sequel of “Stolichen obsthinski vestnik”. This magazine was digitalised in 2006 in the frames of a joint project between the Sofia City Library and NEMETSCHEK – Bulgaria. All 99 issues of the magazine (1937-1952) were digitalised. There are also metadata for 1 167 articles. For every article were defined the criteria for searching (for example “Author”, “Title”, “Subject” etc.). The relevant information is extracted from the previously prepared bibliographic descriptions. The Digital Archive allows the readers to “turn over the pages” of the magazine in Internet and to examine closely the development of Sofia, the life of its citizens, the cultural sights and events, which have focused all the history of the city during the first half of the past century.
As providing access to the magazine, the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library cooperate on the broader popularisation of its digital archive.