Digitalising historical documents in the Czech Republic
The preservation of historical manuscripts from the collection of the Municipal Library of Prague gets under way with support from Norway.
In a new centre for digitalisation in the centre of Prague, Czech documents threatened by erosion are microfilmed and converted to digital format with Norwegian support. The centre was officially opened in January this year, fully installed with modern technological equipment.
The Municipal Library of Prague was awarded a €403,500 million grant in 2006 for its Historical Pragensia project (HISPRA), aimed at saving historical manuscripts and other rare documents from the 19th century. The process of digitalising the library collection got under way in end 2007, and according to Eva Merínská with the Municipal Library of Prague, around 350,000 pages will be converted to digital format and made publicly available on the internet within the next three years. The original documents will be safely archived.
The digitalisation of the Municipal Library of Prague’s collections forms part of a systematic effort in the Czech Republic to ensure the availability of important Czech documents for generations to come. The planning of the Historical Pragensia project had already been initiated when several Czech libraries were damaged due to flooding in 2002, urging the libraries to transfer their historical documentation to digital format. While the project initially suffered from lack of sufficient economic support, Norway Grants and its priority sector for cultural heritage offered new, crucial funding opportunities for the library. The library plans to use the Norwegian support to convert around 10,000 of their total 100,000 documents to digital format.
The Czech Republic is the third largest beneficiary of the financial mechanisms, receiving a total €110.9 million over the five year period 2004-2009. To date, 43 Czech projects, programmes and funds have been approved. Information on all supported activities in the Czech Republic are available in the EEA and Norway Grants’ project database
Preservation digitizing and retrieval of the most valued historical archiving documents of Prague
Conservation of European cultural heritage
Type & project assistance:
Prague City Archives
Type of institution:
Grant agreement date:
01 March 2007
The purpose of the Project is to preserve the most valued historical archived documents of the city of Prague and making their digital copies accessible to the public, with the overall objective of preserving the movable cultural heritage of the city of Prague. The Project encompasses the digitalisation of pieces of collections, including scroll documents (1158-1947), manuscripts (1310-1994), registers (1584-1915), heraldic collection (1510-1989), department IV (1830-1945), minutes of municipal administrative bodies (1784-1945), association of artists Mánes (1884-1960), Jewish Religious Community Prague (late 17th century - 1942), and German Academy of Science and Arts in Prague (1891-1945). Reference is made to the application, dated 15 August 2005, and email correspondence with the Focal Point dated 12 July 2006, 03 November 2006, and 16 November 2006.
The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:
- establishing and equipping a digitalisation workplace;
- training of system operators;
- producing digital copies;
- making digital copies publicly accessible; and
- planning and hosting of a conference to exchange project results and experiences.
The Project Promoter is Prague City Archives.
The Capital of Prague shall provide at least 37.91 percent of the estimated eligible project cost.