A feast on digital heritage on 16-17 June in Rousse, Bulgaria

A two-day round table Application of ICT for digitisation, visualisation and popularisation of cultural heritage will take place in Rousse on 16-17 June 2021. The event is co-organised by Rousse University and the Rousse Regional museum of history and is generously supported by several other institutions and the Interreg project  ROBG-499 “Live, interactive and virtual environments for the museums of the lower Danube cross-border area between Romania and Bulgaria” (LIVE).

Assoc. Prof. Plamen Zahariev from the Department of Telecommunications of Rousse University is gradually building a team which works alongside museums on the application of 3D digitisation and modelling technologies. His team is also transferring these skills and competences within the eInfrastructure UNITe, Universities for Science, Informatics and Technologies in eSociety coordinated by Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski.

The programme of the event is a great combination of talks by academics and practitioners from multiple relevant stakeholders from Bulgaria and Romania. While this event marks the completion of the LIVE project, I hope that it will indeed open a new page of building large-scale collaborations between the institutions which already developed capacity in the domains of digitalisation, visualisation and popularisation and will also bring on board more institutions.

I am personally looking forward to present my work on disruptive technologies in the GLAM sectors (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) and the DISTILL project.

And while these days we can not expect a group of attendees in such elaborate costumes (and will wear our masks so a group photo needs to be quickly tagged while we remember who is who:), all of the participants will come to share stories about the tools we use to capture and share cultural heritage. Stay tuned for updates in real time from the event next week!


Digital transformation… unnoticed…

There are numerous movies which feature galleries, libraries, archives and museums and the people working in these institutions. There were also documentaries and studies exploring what are the images captured and delivered in movies. A popular one about the libraries is ‘The Hollywood Librarian’ released back in 2007. Those who have seen the documentary probably would remember one of the impressive summaries on the spread of library services:

“They have more cardholders than VISA, more customers than Amazon, and more outlets than McDonald’s. Meet America’s librarians.”

(from ‘The Hollywood Librarian’, 2007).

‘The Hollywood Librarian’ brings together fragments from movies looking at the stereotypes of the profession, but also personal stories of professionals. It is one of the professions which is frequently featured in movies, and unfortunately it is really capture for what it is. The last example I have seen recently is from the Disney’s animation Soul. When Soul 22 is trying to find out what could be exciting in his/her future life, s/he is prompted it may like libraries. And this unborn soul is quick to answer “Who wouldn’t like working at a thankless job you are always in danger to use due to budget cuts?

Who wouldn’t like working at a thankless job you are always in danger to use due to budget cuts?

In the last years the libraries were extremely busy with implementing an immense range of educational programmes. They are instrumental in introducing skills and providing access to innovative technologies. They are defining and implementing digital transformation. And they were extremely entrepreneurial in adapting their services to the pandemics conditions.

It is sad to be so deeply immersed in the cliche of a thankless and repetitive job. But let’s hope that more of the future souls would be seeing libraries as places of inspiration, creativity and innovation.


Innovating Digital Cultural Heritage in Bulgaria

Предстоящо събитие на английски и български език, България и иновациите в областта на дигиталното културно и научно наследство

Forthcoming event: Innovating the digital heritage of Bulgaria

Национална e-инфраструктура за ресурси и технологии за българското езиково и културно наследство, интегрирана в рамките на CLARIN и DARIAHУниверситети за наука, информатика и технологии в е-обществотоПроект Пробивни технологии в иновационните лаборатории за дигитално културно наследство

България и иновациите в областта на
дигиталното културно и научно наследство

Представяне на книгата “Да отворим GLAM лаборатория”

11 май 2021, 11.00-13.00, онлайн

          E-инфраструктурите КЛаДА-БГ и УНИТЕ и проектът DISTILL имат удоволствието да ви поканят на представянето на книгата „Да отворим GLAM лаборатория“. Книгата е издадена от Издателството на БАН “Проф. Марин Дринов” с подкрепата на КЛаДА-БГ. 
          Акронимът GLAM обобщава институции от сектора на културното и научно наследство – галерии (galleries), библиотеки (libraries), архиви (archives) и музеи (museums). Лабораториите за иновации в културните институции отговарят на нарастващата нужда от прилагане на интелигентни методи за анализ на големи сбирки от културни обекти и данни. 
          В България има няколко инфраструктури, които подпомагат работата в тази област, вкл. КЛаДА-БГ и УНИТЕ. Книгата има 16 автори от цял свят, двама от които – Армин Щраубе и Милена Добрева – ще участват във уебинара. Тя е написана за кратко време и представлява синтезиран наръчник за процеса на създаване на иновативна лаборатория в галерии, библиотеки, архиви и музеи.
          Уебинарът ще представи и гледните точки на професионалисти от различни сектори, свързани с дигиталното културно наследство. Той е насочен към изследователи, студенти и музейни, библиотечни и архивни специалисти, които се интересуват от дигитализация на културно и научно наследство.

Запазете датата!
Информация за регистрацията ще се предостави допълнително.

За информация: m.dobreva@fmi.uni-sofia.bg 1

Предварителна програма

Част 1  (на английски език)

11:00WelcomeProf. Krasen Stefanov
UNITe, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics
Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski

Prof. Maria Stoycheva
Functional Vice-rector of International Relations 
Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski

Dimitar Iliev, PhD
National Coordinator of DARIAH-EU ERIC 
Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski
11:10Horizon Europe and the European PolicyKarina Angelieva
Deputy Minister of Education and Science
11:20Innovations and Bulgarian Cultural HeritageMira Yosifova 
Head of department European programmes and projects, Ministry of Culture
11.30Europeana, Innovation, Digital TransformationSusan Hazan
CEO, Digital Heritage Israel
Chair, Europeana Network Association Management Board
11.40Research Data Management (RDM) skills – current needs and provisionArmin Straube
Research Data Manager
Glucksman Library, University of Limerick
11.50The role of CLaDA-BG in Innovating in the Digital and Cultural HeritageProf. Kiril Simov
CLaDA-BG, Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
12.00Digitisation of natural-history collections: DiSSCo-BGProf. Boyko B. Georgiev, Borislav Gueorguiev, Silvia Tosheva Consortium DiSSCo-BG (IBER-BAS and NMNHS-BAS
12.10Break / Пауза

Предварителна програма

Част 2 (на български език)

12.15Фонд ИновацииПредставител на фонда
12.25Дигитализация и иновации в сектора на нематериалното наследствод-р Мирена Станева
Регионален център за опазване на нематериалното културно наследство в Югоизточна Европа под егидата на ЮНЕСКО
12.35Опитът на Народна библиотека “Иван Вазов”, ПловдивИван Крачанов
Ръководител на Дигиталния център на НБИВ
12.45Знания, умения и въвеждане на иновации в практиката – преводът на книгатад-р Никола Икономов
12.55-13.00А сега накъде? 
Следващи стъпки


Three main influences on the GLAM institutional strategies in 2021

Effective contemporary strategic development requires to integrate digital transformation with efficient inclusivity and diversion components on all strategic levels – and adapting to the new conditions of the pandemic times.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation is one of the major change agents across all sectors of human activity. For this consultancy, we adhere to the recent definition suggested by Europeana: “Digital transformation is both the process and the result of using digital technology to transform how an organisation operates and delivers value. It helps an organisation to thrive, fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its stakeholders.” Our recent contacts with various libraries show that there is a real need to provide guidance and support in digital transformation. In some cases, digital transformation is seen more narrowly as the deployment of a specific new technological development in the institutional processes and services, e.g. introducing artificial intelligence or digital twins. We do not underestimate the importance of these processes, but they are more on the technological watch and advice side.

Diversity, inclusion, anti-racism and intersectionality

Likewise, diversity and inclusion is being advocated by staff and users worldwide. This is manifested through calls to action in the form of Anti-Racism Training and an understanding of  Intersectionality to eradicate structural racism and other oppressive practices and transform institutions into inclusive and fair opportunity entities. Researchers using digitised resources and datasets have a privileged and influential position to advocate equal representation through daily practices. Digital representations of artefacts inevitably include a description, captured in different metadata elements and referred in thesauri, vocabularies, ontologies and other knowledge organisation tools. These descriptions hold an authority and influence language used within the sector and beyond. As the descriptions and knowledge structures are based on assessment and also interpretation, they must be Anti-Racist and Intersectional in their approach. To support research adequately, the library sector will need to provide resources such as training and devising policies to ensure that individuals capture various views on digitised content in a balanced way.

The influence of the pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic caused significant changes in the way institutions are operating. The analysis of 77 reopening plans from libraries worldwide curated by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) identified measures deployed in the libraries across four main areas – Safety, Sanitisation, Space remodelling, and Services.

Safety measures are considerably more popular than the introduction of new library services, in most cases digital ones. The time has come to look into the adaptations of services influenced by the pandemic systematically and rigorously.

Digital transformation is a major driver for change in the institutional strategies of today. But in 2021 we also need to look into the influence and demand of the continuing pandemic and into putting all matters related to inclusivity and diversity right. We will look into more practical advice around these topics in our future blogs. Stay tuned!


ORKG Curation Grant Competition

Back in 2005, Franco Moretti argued that the accumulation of literary works requires new methods for studying and exploring its contents because it was totally impossible for one scholar to read all texts published and analyse the trends over time. In the domain of the Humanities scholarships, this is one of the visionaries on what big Humanities data mean and how they can be tackled.

Vector illustration of ukrainian folk seamless pattern ornament. ethnic ornament. border element. traditional ukrainian, belarusian folk art knitted embroidery pattern - vyshyvanka Free Vector
Traditional embroidery pattern from Ukraine (free resource).
Not only their shape but also the effort to create them remind the work on creating knowledge graphs.

This same process is true also for the academic publications which numbers grow at unprecedented speed. An interesting current project explores how to organise the research literature in a way which clearly demonstrates the current level of knowledge and the answers to specific research questions.

ORKG offers an interesting approach introducing human curators who put together sets of publications in an environment which allows various useful visualisations.

Currently the project has a competition for curators who will contribute to gow the number of curated sets of papers seeking to answer research questions from different domains of knowledge. A good place to watch in the future!


Milena Dobreva featured in the report on digital transformation agenda and GLAMs by Culture24

“It is not organisations that struggle to change, it is people.” 

(p. 21)

In 2020, Europeana Foundation commissioned a report on the topic of digital transformation which was prepared by Culture24. The report is available  here

Milena Dobreva was one of the international experts interviewed during the report preparation by Jane Finnis from Culture24. The last book Milena contributed to,  ‘Open a GLAM Lab’, is also featured in the report.

Digital transformation is a complex concept – and Europeana defined it as follows:

Digital transformation is both the process and the result of using digital technology to transform how an organisation operates and delivers value. It helps an organisation to thrive, fulfil its mission and meet the needs of its stakeholders. It enables cultural heritage institutions to contribute to the transformation of a sector powered by digital and a Europe powered by culture.

Do you need help to identify what digital transformation means for your institution? Get in touch with NovaMed.