Grants:Project/Rapid/UG BG/Archives Digitisation

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UG BG/Archives Digitisation
Continuation of the digitising of images from the Bulgarian State Archives
targetcommons, bgwiki, and other wikis
start date1 January
end date1 January
budget (local currency)248 EUR
budget (USD)264 USD
contact(s)• spasimir.v.pilev(_AT_)• nikola.kalchev(_AT_)
organization (if applicable)Wikimedians of Bulgaria

Project Goal[edit]

Choose one or more of the following goals. You can add or delete goals as needed. You can add details to each goal. For example, if you want to add content on a specific subject.

  1. Add or improve content – digitised copies of archive documents, which are not easily accessible for the public and are encyclopaedically valuable.

Project Plan[edit]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. Be sure to answer the following questions:
1. What content gaps will you be filling with the equipment? The pictures are used to illustrate articles about people, places and articles related to ethnography and economy of Bulgaria, the Balkan Peninsula and the world.
2. What activities will you organize in the next 6 months to create content and use it on Wikimedia projects? Currently we are holding the second edition of the Archives Challenge (from November 15 to December 15, 2016), which will be organized next year, too.

Wikimedians will continue visiting the Archives Agency 3-4 times a month and scan documents, as discussed within and requested by the community. With one of the new scanner we will be able to digitise microfilms and negatives for the first time, too. Priority will be given to pictures of people who have not been covered on Commons by now.
3. How will the equipment be shared/tracked/cared for by members of your community? The scanners will be located in a locked room in the State Archives and every member of the Wikimedian community will be able to use it to scan documents. It will not used by outsiders for other purposes.
4. How long will the equipment be used, and by whom? The scanner will be used in the next three years by Wikimedians who visit the Bulgarian State Archive with respect to the agreement of collaboration.
5. Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project? We have been working together with the Bulgarian State Archives Agency since 2012, and during these five years, we have had available two scanners: one second-hand, donated by a community member (no more functional due to discontinued software/driver compatibility), and another, bought with the joint donations from a group of members in December 2012 (also having some issues recently).

With this grant we are willing to buy a new scanner to digitise the archive documents of better quality and in bigger volume, due to the fact that the desired scanner is of the auto-feeding handheld type, rather than flatbed requiring manual processing.

We are also willing to buy a second scanner for microfilms and negatives, and thus diversify the outputs of our work. The added value here is that for technical reasons, information stored on microfilms and negatives is mostly unavailable to the general public, and by digitising such content we can potentially discover and publicize precious content unavailable elsewhere but in Wikimedia projects.


How will you know if the project is successful and you've met your goals? Please include the following targets and feel free to add more:

  1. Number of photos uploaded
    Over 2000 uploaded photos in the following year
    Over 500 uploaded images from microfilm and negatives in the following year
  2. Number of photos used on Wikimedia projects
    Over 250 images will be used to illustrate articles in the following year
    Over 100 microfilm and negatives images will be used to illustrate articles in the following year
  3. Number of articles created/improved
    Over 50 new articles created, because of the uploaded images, in the following year.


What resources do you have? Include information on who is organizing the project, what they will do, and if you will receive support from anywhere else (in-kind donations or additional funding). The project is organized by User:Спасимир (with a separate account for the project: User:BASA Spasimir). Occasionally, User:Spiritia and User:ShockD will be also able to contribute. Due to the signed collaboration with the State Archives, we are allowed to scan for free archive documents that are in the public domain, and get the privilege to order larger amounts of documents than general audience.

What resources do you need? For your funding request, list bullet points for each expense and include a total amount. We need funding to purchase two scanners costing 230 EUR + 18 EUR for the delivery in total.


Spasimir using an old scanner to digitise an image in the Bulgarian State Archives

While the State Archives have equipment and digitise documents themselves, their priorities are different from ours. Their focus is mainly on the oldest documents, which might get lost forever, and newer documents, which are copyrighted, while our focus during the four years of our existing partnership lies on photographs, which can be used on Wikipedia and its sister projects (images of notable people and places with articles on Wikipedia; documents, requested by the community). We can and do use their digitised copies whenever the images are useful for our aims. The State Archives make an in-kind donation by allowing us to order as many documents as we like in one package (for outsiders there is a limit of 10), which saves our volunteers time, and by not asking us to pay for the service (it costs ca. 2 USD per page, which means that by now we have been donated over 13.000 USD by the State Archives). Up until this point now the local community has purchased our own equipment and we have a very good track record of constantly digitising useful content and popularising our content (e.g. the Archives Challenge with ca 3000 new descriptions, 200 categories, 600 used images) and the ongoing Archives Challenge 2016) and we wish to continue our activities, which include 3-4 visits to the Archives per month. According to data from last month the successful project already has over 6,000 uploaded files with a very high percentage of usage on nearly 70 wikis and have more than 2 million views and we are looking to improving this during the next years.

More information about the cooperation can be found at Commons:Bulgarian Archives State Agency. All uploaded images during this project are in the category Category:Images from the Bulgarian Archives State Agency.


Members are encouraged to endorse your project request here!

  • As one of the organizers of the collaboration between Bulgarian Wikipedia and the State Archive Agency, I am very delighted to see that Spasimir, who has been the main driving force behind the collaboration for the last 3 years, is proposing this project. Availability of new equipment – more qualitative, more efficient and more diverse as capabilities – is very important for attracting new volunteers to the collaboration (and re-inspiring the old ones :) ). Spiritia 11:08, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
  • I am normally sceptical about Wikimedia digitisation projects on the basis that they reverse the expectation of the core-role of GLAM staff to digitise and share their own content. However, in this circumstance I support the project. This is not, as is sometimes the case, an application to purchase equipment and then approach the institution - this relationship with the State Archive already exists. The project has a clear and regular workflow, and demonstrated strong on-wiki impact beyond those who are personally involved in the project. The State Archive does not have the available funds or staff flexibility to adjust their existing digitisation schedule, and so this partnership (which has been accounted for in terms of in-kind donation cost for access to the collection, above) is not altering the organisation's expectations with regards to funding their professional digitisation activities. [note, I was consulted in the writing of the 'context' section of this grant application]. Wittylama (talk) 16:18, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Project has been running for years and will continue for years. The modest investment will be efficient and immediately effective. Dimi z (talk)
  • Digitisation is a key part in achieving Wikimedia's goal and this is a very small cost for digitising very valuable records. John Cummings (talk) 17:16, 22 November 2016 (UTC)
  • Support Support I absolutely support funding this investment and think it will be put to good use. I personally would favour hardware that has Linux drivers in case a new commercial os version drops support for the device. A more expensive device might be in wider use and have those drivers, which would make it prederable to a low cost but higher risk device. I can't comment on the devices above as I don't have any experience with them. --Tobias1984 (talk) 07:09, 30 November 2016 (UTC)