Croatian historic newspapers available on The European Library portal and Europeana

Objavljeno 29.9.2014.

As an associated partner in the Europeana Newspapers project, the National and University Library in Zagreb delivered to The European Library and Europeana bibliographic records for 34 digitised Croatian historic newspapers. The Library provided the metadata for 17,990 newspaper issues, i.e. 117,813 pages, which have been digitised as part of the NUL’s regular newspaper digitisation programme and through several digitisation projects carried out with the support of the Croatian Ministry of Culture. The provided records include metadata for the oldest newspaper in the Croatian language Kraljski Dalmatin (Zadar, 1806-1810), Narodne novine and its literary supplement Danica, published by the prominent leader of the Croatian National Revival Ljudevit Gaj, and many local newspapers. The inclusion of these metadata in the databases of The European Library and Europeana will enable a wider availability of data about Croatian cultural heritage, increase the number of resources in the Croatian language on Europeana and provide better insight into Croatian historic newspapers as a significant source of historical data and source for genealogic and linguistic research.

Europeana Newpapers was set up in February 2012 by 18 European institutions with the objective of making accessible on Europeana 18 million newspaper pages during the period of three years. The project was launched as part of the European Commission’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP, 2007-2103) with the purpose of assembling and making available on The European Library portal as many historic European newspaper titles as possible and increasing possibilities for their use.

Libraries included in this project will continue to provide digitised and digital newspapers and full-text newspaper pages for the largest European digital collection Europeana. The National and University Library in Zagreb has been selected along with other ten European libraries as an associated partner in this project and as such receives professional support and training. Financial resources required for the digitisation, processing and publication of the Library’s resources as well as for the creation of metadata have been provided by Croatia’s Ministry of Culture, which allocated to the Library HRK 30.000,00 (almost EUR 4.000,00) for the realisation of this project.

The National and University Library in Zagreb has been running its newspaper digitisation programme since 2004 as part of the programme aimed at protecting Croatian historical newspapers and enabling their greater availability. Microfilm copies of newspapers are scanned at the NUL Preservation Department and the obtained digital material is additionally processed for publication in several other departments of the Library. Students from the Department of Information and Communication Sciences at the University of Zagreb also take part in the preparation of this extensive material and various volunteers assist with the processing of digital copies.

Digital copies of historic newspapers and journals are available on the Croatian Historic Newspapers and Old Croatian Journals Portal, which was set up in 2009 as part of the development of the system for the management of serial publications that the Library designed in cooperation with the Zagreb-based company Conscius. This system is shared by several Croatian libraries and other institutions that use it to make available the results of projects aimed at the digitisation of historic serial publications. These portals are visited by more than 20,000 users each year, and they currently provide access to 149 serial titles with 198,352 pages. Although modest in scope in comparison to other national projects, the Croatian national project for the digitisation of historic newspapers and journals is as comprehensive as the current financial resources in this sector allow. The digitisation of newspapers and journals as well as the development of the abovementioned system and portals have been financially supported by the Croatian Ministry of Culture, which has so far provided HRK 490.000,00 (nearly EUR 65.000,00) for a number of projects in this field.

The delivery of the Library’s metadata to Europeana represents a further incentive for continuing the digitisation programme focusing on historic newspapers at the National and University Library in Zagreb as well as for new cooperation projects with other heritage institutions aimed at the presentation of digitised resources to the public and increase in their use.