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Digitization in Bulgaria : A Look from Inside and Outside. Dr. Milena Dobreva, Assoc. Prof. Institute of Mathematics and Informatics Sofia, Bulgaria Coordinator of KT-DigiCult-Bg project, FP6. Topics. The look from inside: Bulgarian experience Mediaeval manuscripts Virtual reality

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Digitization in Bulgaria : A Look from Inside and Outside

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Digitization in Bulgaria: A Look from Inside and Outside

Dr. Milena Dobreva, Assoc. Prof.Institute of Mathematics and InformaticsSofia, Bulgaria

Coordinator of KT-DigiCult-Bg project, FP6


  • The look from inside: Bulgarian experience

    • Mediaeval manuscripts

    • Virtual reality

  • The look from outside

    • EC priorities

    • DigiCult project Technology Watch Reports (www.digicult.info)

  • The KT-DigiCult-BG project

Are we similar?

What is more likely you will find if you search the web for Portugal and Bulgaria?

Not digitisation (yet!)


Some comparison…





Scope: Some Holdings in Bulgarian Repositories

  • 8500 Christian manuscripts + 4000 Islamic

  • More than 35000 early printed books

  • Third largest collection of epigraphic inscriptions in Latin and Ancient Greek in the world

  • Old Bulgarian runic inscriptions

  • … and numerous other

Why publish them in electronic form?

  • Access issues

  • Scattered collections

  • Preservation issues

  • Policy issues

    • What priorities to follow?

  • The challenges of the new media

    • How to present cultural heritage content?

Applications of IT to Mediaeval Bulgarian Manuscript Studies

  • First attempt: c. 1970, DBMS

  • Now

    (based on 90 publications)

Previous experience

  • Previous initiatives

    • Catalogues: ISIS, Repertorium, MASTER, XEditMan

    • Texts and images – isolated attempts

    • Electronic publications on CD-ROMs: Balkan manuscripts, Quran, Iconography; The Treasury of Lysimachos

    • Boyana church – 3D model

Boyana church – view from the outside

Boyana church – inner view

Manuscripts: Electronic Cataloguing

  • Example: TEI approach, MASTER project (2000)


    <p lang="ENG">Inscriptions in red or dark ink by the principal scribe Dobrejsho? On fol. 3r <q lang=" OBG ">åäå ïðîêëÿòà õàðòèà</q>; on fol. 16r <q lang="OBG">+ïðîñòè ìÿ ñòàià Áöå íåäîñòîèíà</q>;fol. 18v <q lang="OBG">äà çà÷íу ïî çäðàâîó ñòãî Èwàíà åó(ã)ëèñòà</q>;fol. 120v with red ink <q lang="OBG">ïðîñòè è ïîì(ë)îó ñòîû èwàíå iåó(ã)ëèñòå:</q>; on the same folio a later hand imitating the main scribe<q lang="CHU">Å(ä)ðåíå ïîïú Äîáðýøî</q>; by the same hand on fol. 18v<q lang="CHU">Åäðåíå</q>; fol. 5r later inscription in black ink <q lang="BUL">Ãîäèíà wò Õð. "ÀÑÊÀ" 1221</q>; another late inscription in blue ink on fol. 77v-78r<q lang="CHU">Èìåëú ñ÷àñòiå ÷èòàòü ñiþ êíèãY åó(ã)ëiå íàïðèñòîëíîå Ãðèãîðié Èâàíîâú Òóë÷àíñêîé Ç×S ãîäà Òóë÷à</q>; </p>


    Additional info: http://www.cta.dmu.ac.uk/projects/master/

Manuscripts: problems with Mediæval Text presentation

  • Approaches

    • Latin transliteration

    • WSD

    • Font and code tables problems -> UNICODE

  • Normalised texts

    • Super-, in-script and subscript letters; abbreviations, initials and other ornamentation

Manuscripts: images

  • Isolated example of digitized images (not supplied with texts): The Enina Apostle

    • 11 century (the oldest Bulgarian manuscript stored in Bulgaria)

    • 39 folios survived in a lime-pit, badly damaged

Presentation of images



  • Scattered experience

  • No mass digitization

  • Pure cultural heritage institutions’ involvement





European priorities

  • Expressed in Lund Principles:

    • making visible and accessible the digitised cultural and scientific heritage of Europe;

    • coordination of efforts;

    • development of a European view on policies and programmes, as well as of mechanisms to promote good practice in a consistent manner

  • Digitization itself is not supported

DigiCult Technology Watch Report 1 (S. Ross, M. Donnelly, M. Dobreva)

  • Customer Relationship Management

  • Digital Asset Management Systems

  • Smart Labels and Smart Tags

  • Virtual Reality and Display Technologies

  • Human Interfaces

  • Games Technologies

DigiCult Technology Watch Report 2 (S. Ross, M. Donnelly, M. Dobreva)

  • The Application Service Model

  • The XML Family of Technologies

  • Cultural Agents and Avatars

  • Mobile Access to Cultural Information Resources

  • Right Management and Payment Technologies

  • Collaborative Mechanisms and Technologies

Local specific features

  • European importance of collections……but they are not accessible in electronic form

  • Main experience in pre-digitisation work, such as cataloguing, and text encoding…… but mass digitisation never started anywhere

  • Digitisation work per se has not been done…… thus we do not match current EC priorities

  • No governmental programme (resp., funding)…… i.e. external financial support is needed

    It is not economically feasible separate cultural institutions to build their own digitisation units.

KT-DigiCult-BG project

  • Knowledge Transfer for Digitisation of Cultural and Scientific Heritage in Bulgaria

  • Starting in 2004, 4-years project, supported by FP6

  • Phase 1: acquisition of knowledge

  • Phase 2: absorption of knowledge (visits to our institute)

Basic Fields of Work - 1

  • General methodology and practical setting for digitisation of cultural and scientific heritage

  • Digitisation of mediaeval manuscripts (incl. digital imaging, cataloguing, text representation, electronic publishing)

  • Digitisation of mathematical texts and building digital mathematical library of works of Bulgarian mathematicians

Basic Fields of Work

  • Virtual reality applications for presentation of immovable cultural heritage.

  • Audio archives: methods for digitisation and restoration.

  • Application of quantitative methods for the study of data related to the cultural heritage.

  • Applications of edutainment to cultural heritage studies.


  • We hope that through the project we will raise the interest of scientific and cultural heritage institutions to start REAL work

  • Interested colleagues are welcome to contribute to our project

  • We are open for collaboration

Thank you for your attention!

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