Grants:Project/Rapid/UG BG/Archives Digitisation/Report/Interim

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Project status[edit]

We completed the first quarter of the project (1 January - 1 April). We completely met that part of our goals, which was related to making expenditures and delivery of the requested technology: a portable scanner and a scanner for microfilms and negatives.

No more expenditures are to be made by the end of the period (1 January 2018) and we consider the financial part of our report complete, and not pending further changes.

The actual digitization work done in this period, which started in February, is described below in details. We will continue with digitization until the end of the year and beyond.


Answers to questions by Delphine (WMF):

  1. Number of files digitized to date (maybe add one or tow pics)
    • Up to now, the portable scanner has been used for digitizing 140 images, and the one for negatives and microfilms has been used for 115 images, as can be tracked from the Commons category: [1]
  2. Explanation of how the scanner is being used: by whom, when, etc.
    • The utilization of the scanner for negatives and microfilms started in February, and the portable one - in March. The reason is that in January BASA's is performing its regular annual inventorization and the reading room is closed. Due to problems with the supplier of the portable scanner, it came later and its usage started in March. So far, both scanners have been only used by me (my contributions uploaded via my custom account User:BASA Спасимир). The scanners are used 1-2 times weekly, and my last visit in the Archive was on March 21, 2017.
  3. Next steps in terms of what will be digitized in the frame of that report
    • The digitization work is ongoing. Currently, a new order was made for new documents to be retrieved from the repositories. A list of inventories and archive units, pending digitization, was prepared, which includes more than 70 large albums with photographs from the personal archive of the Bulgarian kings Ferdinand and Boris III. They comprise photographies of highest quality, related to the culture and economics of Bulgaria, Eastern, Central and Western Europe. Also, I have researched and discovered many other archive materials that contain valuable historical documents from the first half of 20th century.
  4. Mini report about how the first digitizations have gone (a bit about the technical process, a bit about how the cooperation with the archives have been going)
    • The images, digitized with the two purchased scanners, are already in use in articles in several languages. The procedure of digitization is the following: First, a research is made in the digital metadata repository of the Archive, and the order for their delivery from their respective physical repository (BASA has three document repositories in different parts of Sofia). We usually obtain them within 1-2 days, and they are delivered to the reading room. The particular use of scanner and/or digitization settings depends on the physical dimensions and specifics of the document - medium, qualities of the paper, single- or multipage document, etc. Then, the unnecessary parts of the scan have to be cropped, like external frames, passepartouts, table (for the portable scanner), etc., so that only the scanned document remains. For some documents, both sides of the documents have to be scanned (as the backside often contains handwritten descriptions, metadata, etc. Then, it follows the file description and upload to Commons. From the total number of more than 8000 archive documents, images are used in 2550 articles in 74 different language versions of Wikipedia and its sister projects. [2]
  5. Maybe write more about the learnings by talking about the partnership and how the purchase of this/these scanners has changed it / made it better or worse :)
    • The scanner for negatives and microfilms allowed us to digitize content, which we had never before been able to digitize. The portable scanner allows the digitization of images, which before this was rather difficult or even impossible to scan, with high resolution, and especially ones contained in multipage photo albums, thus helping us to scan without the need to unstitch or deform them.
  6. Confirm whether you received two or one scanner (the request is not super clear in that regard) or what still needs to be received.
    • Both ordered scanners were delivered - one portable scanner and one scanner for negatives and microfilms, and they are already put in good use


Projects do not always go according to plan. Sharing what you learned can help you and others plan similar projects in the future. Help the movement learn from your experience by answering the following questions:

  • What worked well?
    • We bought a scanner for negatives swiftly from Amazon Germany.
  • What did not work so well?
    • Our first order of a handheld scanner was not delivered by, therefore we had to change it for another one, which arrived just in time for the writing of this report.
    • The Bulgarian Archives State Agency is closed, because of inventory adjustments every January, and was therefore not open for Wikimedians during the period. From January 30, 2017 they opened again and we already managed to make the first order for the year.
  • What would you do differently next time?
    • We would order the scanners from Bulgarian or European shops instead of shipping them from the United States in order to minimize the probability of them not arriving.


Grant funds spent[edit]

Please describe how much grant money you spent for approved expenses, and tell us what you spent it on. We do not yet know the exact amount because we have not received the second scanner.

Somikon 2in1-Scanner: mobile handheld scanner with a Dockingstation 900 dpi 133.45 144
Digitnow! 22MP All-In-1 Film & Slide Scanner with Speed-Load-Adapter 99.99 108
Total 233.44 252

Remaining funds[edit]

Remaining funds from this grant have been returned to WMF in the amount of 14.56 EUR.

Do you have any remaining grant funds? Yes, we have a remainder of 14.56 EUR (15.72 USD), that we would like to return back to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Anything else[edit]

Anything else you want to share about your project?

Since this is a long-term project, we expect high volatility in the amount of scanned pictures per month. We would like to have our next interim report on 1 August. Also, we are planning to use the scanners for three years in total.