Digitalizing and preserving the written legacy of Bulgaria 2017-06-15T17:06:58+00:00


Project BG0046 “Digitalizing and preserving the written legacy of Bulgaria”
Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Financial Mechanism

The project was approved to be supported through the EEA Financial Mechanism. According to the Memorandum of Agreement of EEA about the FM Implementation, Bulgaria receives financial support at the amount of 21,5 millions of Euros to support projects in several fields of priority from 2007 to 2011. One of these fields is preserving the European cultural legacy. The BG0046 “Digitalizing and preserving the written legacy of Bulgaria” Project is in this field.  

This project is very important for the National Library and the book-publishing (The Bulgarian Book Association is a project partner) and library sector, because it will help realize two extremely important tasks of libraries and book publishers.  The first task is related to the technological renovation of the Digital Centre and to the preparation and presentation of digital copies of very valuable collections of the National Library. The second one – to the creation and development of a National register of the books, published in Bulgaria (Books in Print).


The national coordination section of the project is the Monitoring of EU Funds Directorate in the Council of Ministers. This directorate is charged with the whole responsibility for the management and coordination of the activities in Bulgaria according the EEA Financial Mechanism.
Executive agency. According to Decision on item 42 of the Statement of the Council of Ministers on the 28 May 2009 this function has to be performed by Structural funds and international educational programmes Main Directorate in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science. The Executive agency controls the preparation and holding of the tender procedures for selecting project implementers and also makes the payments to the beneficents. 
As a principal of the National Library the Ministry of Culture performs all the activities according to ensuring financial resources for the project. The Ministry ensures the financial mechanisms for the project’s realisation.  

Activities on the project

The activities on Project BG0046 “Digitalizing and preserving the written legacy of Bulgaria”  were officially presented in the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library on the 1st November – the Day of the Leaders of Bulgarian National Revival. Representatives from the Bulgarian government, diplomats, partners from the countries, which donate financial resources for the project and many other people attended this presentation. The modernly equipped Digital Centre was also officially opened. The Minister of Culture Mr. Vezhdi Rashidov, the Minister charged of EU funds management Mr. Tomislav Donchev, the Deputy Minister of the Education, Youth and Science Mrs. Petia Evtimova, Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Bulgaria Mrs. Tove Skarstein were official guests of the event. Mrs. Ingibjörg Sverrisdóttir, Director of the National Library of Iceland and Mr. Roger Jøsevold, Deputy Director of the National Library of Norway visited Sofia especially for this event.
Prof. Boryana Hristova paid attention to the project’s importance and to its significance for the National Library. Mr. Vezhdi Rashidov, Mr. Tomislav Donchev, Mrs. Pettier Evtimova and Her Excellency the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Bulgaria Mrs. Tove Skarstein made their greeting speeches. Mrs. Aneta Doncheva presented in details to the public the project and all the project’s activities, which have been performed so far. The directors of the countries, which donate financial resources for the project: Mrs. Ingibjörg Sverrisdóttir, Director of the National Library of Iceland and Mr. Roger Jøsevold, Deputy Director of the National Library of Norway also congratulated the public.

Renovation activities

The premises and corridor towards the Digital Centre have been renovated. The working premises have been equipped with the necessary furniture and also air conditions.


Scanners: An open procedure for a public procurement act was held in the National Library. The procedure subject was Scanning equipment and photo camera Supply and Rais Proprietorship company was elected as executor. A �0 i2S Digibook Suprascan A0 scanner, two colour �2-  i2S Copibook RGB HD scanners and a Nikon D3 X photographic camera have already been supplied. A Book Restore specialized software and an Adobe Photoshop CS 4 software have also been supplied. All the scanners were equipped with computer work stations. The equipment was installed and is being used at the moment. The project’s staff was also trained and at the moment is working to achieve the total size of work, planned for the project.

Computer equipment

After holding an open tender procedure, a Server-archive data bases computer equipment has been bought for the project’s requirements and implementation. This is a disc system for archiving the digital copies in the Digital Centre of the National Library. Two servers for creating and organizing a national register of the books, published in Bulgaria (Books in Print) were also supplied; three computer configurations – for the National ISBN Agency; one PC and two colour laser printers – for the project. In the Digital Centre was created a new local optic network.

Digitalisation of the documents

The digitalization of unique documents from the funds of the National Library has already started. In the Digital Library, presented in Internet, were made three new sections:

Bulgarian Fourteenth Century

These are the most valuable manuscripts from the so called “Gold Century” of the Bulgarian literature. The selected manuscripts have unique literature and historical content and also rich decorations. These manuscripts present the most important literature schools of the XIV century – Veliko Tarnovo, Vidin and the Zograf Monastery on Mounh Athos. 8 manuscripts in about 3 400 files have been scanned so far. Detailed metadata for the documents were also prepared. The addition of selected interesting texts from the originals to the metadata is still forthcoming – they will be presented in Bulgarian and English.



The Sidjills collection, stored in the National Library, is a part of the archival collections of the Oriental Department. These collections are very big, have wide chronological and territorial scope and are the third biggest archival book store for such documents in the world (first is the Ottoman Archive in Istanbul and second – the Archive in Cairo).
So, they are a really valuable source of information about the life in a specific settlement. These documents contain 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 collection includes sidjills from Sofia, Ruse, Vidin, Dobrich, Silistra. Over the last years these documents are being actively used by Bulgarian and foreign researchers. The whole collection will be digitalised – over 170 sidjills in about 25 000 files. Digital copies and their metadata for over 100 documents are already presented in Internet.   

 Undivided Bulgaria

The serials, which were selected, were published in Bulgaria and abroad from 1879 to 1940. All of them are related to the historical, ethnical, religious and cultural right for the political unification of Trace, Macedonia, Moesia and Dobrudzha. This subject was one of the leading in press during the decades from the decisions of the Congress of Berlin and signing of the Agreement of Craiova. The following newspapers and journal are presented in Internet with their metadata: Tselokupna Bulgaria of P. R. Slaveykov; Dennitsa of Ivan Vazov; Biblioteka Sveti Kliment, edited by Petko Karavelov; Novini/Vesti – published in Tsargrad in Bulgarian and Turkish for the Bulgarians in Turkey, Macedonia and Odrin; Debar – newspaper of the Macedonian emigrants; Makedonia; Makedono-Odrinski Kurier; Rodna Dobrudzha and journal Svobodna duma, among which collaborators are Ivan Vazov, Stoyan Mihaylovski, Tsvetan Minkov, Petko Rosen; journal Letopisi, directed by Konstantin Velichkov and authors Ivan Vazov, Elin Pelin, Nikola Nachov, Kiril Hristov, Mihalaki Georgiev etc. About 20 000 pages will be digitalised. 15 periodicals with their metadata (total volume over 16 000 files) have already been fully scanned and presented in Internet.       


 About the metadata in the Digital Library

•  They present the characteristics of the document’s kind;
• The search in the different fields could be done by name, word etc., which have to be enclosed in asterisks, if this word is not exactly formulated;
• All the fields (except this one for content/annotation) provide search also through drop down. This is an alphabetical list of the data from the field;
• After having selected from the list, the user will receive access to the digital document, its metadata and other text documents, related to this document.

Creation of a national register of the books, published in Bulgaria (Books in Print)

The aim of this register is to ameliorate the organisation of the Bulgarian book market and to provide electronic services to users, libraries, book-publishing and book marketing associations. It will create an unified big database that could enable quick search of information and could also be an unified base for executing an information exchange. Abbaty IT Consulting has been elected as a project implementer after having held an open procedure.  The activities for identification of the requirements of the participants in the Bulgarian book market (publishing houses, book sellers, libraries etc.) in connection with the register’s creation have already been successfully accomplished. We have selected the standard for presentation and exchange of book information ONIX for Books Release 3.0, which will be maintained by the Register. In cooperation with experts from the National Library Abbaty IT Consulting has created an unified classification scheme of the Bulgarian book’s circulation that is relevant to the business’ requirements. The scheme is based on the Universal Decimal Classification. As a result of all these activities, related to the analysis of the requirements, Abbaty IT Consulting has created a detailed functional and technical specification. It has been approved by the National Library and the Bulgarian Book Association. The project’s implementation passed through 6 work phases, which includes reviewing and examing the task; projecting the information system; developing, installing and making work and final tests of the information system; planing the operating documentation; implementing and filling for the first time the data and training. Abbaty IT Consulting presented a final report, which reveals how the activities have been realised, the achieved results, arised problems, the measures taken for their solution and the current state of the project’s progress. The maintenance and actualisation of the database is still forthcoming. 




The project is being presented in details on the webpage of the National Library – The project’s realisation is reported in the Public report of the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library for 2009. There were made billboards and the Digital Centre was provided with indication boards. Two brochures have already been published. Detailed information about the project’s content was given in several reports and presentations from different conferences (1, 2, 3) and other scientific forums. Information about the project was also presented in two radio emissions on radio “Hristo Botev” and radio “Bulgaria”; reportages on the Bulgarian National Television and TV7 etc.



From the countries, which donate financial resources for the project

National Library of Iceland (Landsbókasafn Íslands – Háskólabókasafn)     

National Library of Liechtenstein (Liechtensteinische Landesbibliothek)  

National Library of Norway (Nasjonalbiblioteket)

The representatives of the national libraries, which donate financial resources for the project – Mrs. Ingibjörg Sverrisdóttir, Director of the National Library of Iceland and Mr. Roger Jøsevold, Deputy Director of the National Library of Norway visited the National Library from the 1st to 4th November 2010. We are expecting also the visit of the Director of the National Library of Liechtenstein in January 2011.


Companies, which participate in the project’s implementation 




Intelinet Bulgaria Ltd

ABBATY IT Consulting
Idolo Art Ltd
Royal Electronics Ltd



1. Hristova, Boryana, Tsvetanka Pancheva, Andrey Chakalov. The experience of the St. St. Cyril and Methodius National Library in digitalising the book collections.// Bulgariandigital university. VIII national seminar on electronical training “Good practices, inovations and trends”
2. Doncheva, Aneta, Tsvetanka Pancheva. The participation of the National Library in international projects for digitalisation.// International conference “European Digital Library – contemporary approaches and policies for preserving and distributing the cultural heritage” 23-24 March 2010 – Varna (also as a report – in the press)
2. Pancheva, Tsvetanka. Digital collections in the National Library – possibilities for wide access to the Bulgarian heritage and useful partnerships”. // Jubilee conference “The library – a desired partner”, Dobrich, 28 October 2010. (multimedia presentation)