17th January 2020

National Library of Poland: POLONA/3milion


In December 2019 the number of objects made available on POLONA, Poland’s most modern digital library, run by the National Library of Poland, reached the three million mark. One million of them are the result of the “Patrimonium” project, carried out by the National Library of Poland and the Jagiellonian Library, the largest and oldest academic library in Poland. POLONA is currently one of the biggest digital libraries in Europe, with as many as 2,000 newly scanned objects added to its collection each day.


The POLONA digital library enables free, wide-ranging access to high-quality digital objects (books, newspapers and periodicals, manuscripts, early printed books, maps, drawings, prints, photographs, postcards, musical scores and ephemera). All items may be used by the general public free of charge for all purposes, including commercial ones.

What’s in POLONA?



POLONA contains the records of two sentences that mark the very beginning of Polish history. In the year 965 a Christian Czech princess arrived in the court of the pagan Polish prince, an event recorded in the words “Dobrawa came to Mieszko”. A year later the Polish prince was baptized and Poland accepted Christianity, recorded in the words “Prince Mieszko was baptized” (https://polona.pl/item/epistolae-canonicae-cum-glossa-anselmi-laudunensis,NzcyMDQ0Mg/79/#info:metadata).


POLONA contains the libraries’ entire collection of medieval manuscripts. It also contains many texts not available today in bookshops or from dealers, covers and illustrations by famous Polish artists, unique leaflets and posters, books from royal and aristocratic collections, and drawings and engravings by leading Polish artists. Besides serious academic publications and historical works, there are also popular publications such as romances and detective stories, children’s books, handbooks and cookbooks, all of which can bring inspiration and entertainment to their readers.


POLONA also contains the following:


Press Panel – scanned press publications are presented not just as individual items but can also be browsed by date, chronologically, or issue by issue.

Institutions Panel – in cooperation with the National Library of Poland, cultural institutions can use POLONA to share their resources and create their own collections based on their holdings and other sources.

Follow this link for a list of interesting publications available on POLONA, updated daily: https://polona.pl


The most important of the three million objects on POLONA


The famous Saint Florian Psalter made for Queen Jadwiga in the fourteenth century

The only surviving manuscript of Jan Kochanowski

POLONA also contains priceless mediaeval and Renaissance manuscripts acquired by historical Polish collectors:

Le Roman de la Rose, a fourteenth-century manuscript of the French romance

Sforziada, one of the four copies made for the Sforza family, one of the most famous printed books of the Renaissance

Object No. 3,000,000 is the only extant first edition of Józef Pawlikowski’s pamphlet Czy Polacy wybić się mogą na niepodległość? (“Can Poles Win Their Independence?”), which appears on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register



Object no. 2,999,999 is the first edition of Maria Konopnicka’s O krasnoludkach i o sierotce Marysi (“The Brownie Scouts”)


Object no. 3,000,001 is the manuscript of Stefan Żeromski’s novel Przedwiośnia (“The Spring to Come”), also on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register


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