National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Workshop on the Preservation, Protection and Presentation of Documents from the Archives of the Republic of Pouica Written in Bosancica


On October 22nd, National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina (NULB&H) held a promotion of the publication ”Poljica document I: from the Collection of Aleksandar Poljanic”. The second part of activities was realized through a workshop “Preservation, protection, presentation of archival documents”. The workshop brought together regional experts in the field of digitisation, conservation and restoration of archival documents.

The Special Collections of the NULB&H holds the collection of documents of the Republic of Poljica, which represent material of exceptional cultural­historical, artistic, social, legislative and state-legal significance. This archive is an important segment of historical documentation and consists of over 250 documents. They are written in Bosancica, so they are, among other things, interesting from the point of view of language and script, but also from the historical-legal and intercultural aspect. This collection was declared by of The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina has declared this collection a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The workshop was held in collaboration with NULB&H and National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK). NSK already has the same or similar material, and employees have already worked on the protection and presentation of that material. The project involved connecting these two institutions. However, this project lays the foundation for cooperation with other national libraries in the region (Ex-Yugoslavia) that have similar material, whose representatives took a part in workshop as well. This project lays the foundations for cooperation with libraries in region but also Europe and this is how we made it:

The results of the project were presented in November and December 2021, to all interested members or individuals within the CENL community, via online video presentation of workshop. The aim was to bring educational content related to the processes of digitisation, conservation and restoration of these documents to CENL community. At the same time, it provided an overview of cooperation between the above-mentioned libraries, with the aim of transferring such cooperation to the international level. The presentation was made in English, for wide availability, and was posted on the official website of the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina and official social media pages of NULB&H. Members of the CENL community were provided with a link with access to the presentation via official e-mail addresses and a discussion on the issue was provided in the comments section of the presentation or by e-mail.

Aims and Objectives

a) Identification and processing of the document of the Republic of Poljica as material of exceptional importance for cultural heritage and history of the world.

b) Protection and preservation of documents through the digitisation process, which will allow users easier, faster, and safer access.

c) The transliteration of content regulates the adaptation to today’s spelling by opening the door to future research that creates a precondition for regional cooperation and new research that leads to new knowledge and insights.

d) A workshop on how to protect and present this material, based on the experiences of CENL members from the region.

e) The construction of digital collections, i.e. inclusion in existing ones, increases the visibility and accessibility, which is now invisible to both the social and research community.

Specific objectives were:

a) Encouraging similar projects with the aim of recognising the importance of cultural heritage as an important witness to cultural, artistic, social and political processes in the region.

b) Active participation of social communities in the principles and models of preserving cultural heritage and nurturing cultural values with other CENL members.

c) Connecting the distribution of socially significant content through facilitated access and through constant availability through digital collections – online platform.

d) Collaboration and cooperation of experts of different profiles in order to work on a joint project.

e) Initiating a discussion on the problematization and study of Bosancica as an authentic, special Bosnian alphabet that is also used in the region.

f) Use and implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) in the process of organisation and presentation of cultural heritage as an active monitoring of trends and postulates of lifelong learning.

Above all, aim was to strengthen and emphasise the role of national libraries across Europe, with special regard to their role played in preserving and keeping national cultural heritage and in providing access to these treasures.

Outcomes and further information

The outcomes of the project

  • successful digitalization of archive documents;
  • successful conservation;
  • education;
  • exchanging experiences
  • creating an online presentation is still an interactive educational platform on which ideas and experiences will be exchanged from Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and whole Europe (CENL community)

Quotes from participants:

“lt was my pleasure to present our digitization, restauration and conservation and to educate others. Thank you for this opportunity!”

Dragica Lompar, mr., Director of National Library of Montenegro Durde Crnojevic Cetinje, Montenegro

“This project, we hope, fulfilled that role by connecting different library institutions, staff libraries and researchers from whole world, giving NULB&H, as a CENL member, a central role.”

Dr. Ismet Ovcina, NULB&H