Grants:Project/Rapid/Vassia, Justine and Spasimir/Wiki LOVEch Library

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Wiki LOVEch Library
After establishing contacts with the Lovech Regional Library "Prof. Benyu Tsonev" and recognizing their resources and potential to contribute with content to Wikipedia, we are willing to purchase portable scanners, and organize a combined two-day event (scanathon and editathon) in the Library. The main topic will be the work and life of the Lovech-born professor Anastas Ishirkov, founder of the Bulgarian geography, but also the scanathon will cover the Bulgarian history of the end of 19 century, since the town was the cradle of the Bulgarian national liberation movement.
targetBulgarian Wikipedia, Bulgarian Wikisource, Wikimedia Commons
start date1 August
start year2018
end date31 December
end year2018
budget (local currency)3262 BGN
budget (USD)2000 USD
grant typeIndividual
contact(s)• * Vassia Atanassova, Spiritia

Please see the sample Equipment application before drafting your application.

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.


The project goal is deepening a recently established collaboration between three Bulgarian Wikimedians with the Regional Library "Prof. Benyu Tsonev" in the province centre Lovech in Northern Bulgaria. The initial contact was made in the end of April 2018, with respect to a training on media literacy (including a short Wikipedia training), conducted by Vassia and Justine.

The Library has rich resources in the department of local ethnography and history of Lovech and the region, many of which are under free license due to expired copyrights. The lack of adequate equipment and knowledge about OCR, however, prevents the Library to actively digitize their content. Among the most precious books there are:

  • Encyclopedic series "Lovech and Lovech Region", published in 1910-1940, related to the liberation movement of Bulgaria, since Lovech was the first centre of the Bulgarian revolution in the 1870s. It contains multiple biographies of people, presented in Bulgarian Wikipedia, and rare photos, which the articles are still missing. Only one of the volumes can illustrate more than 30 articles.
  • Books by prominent Lovech-born professors, pioneers of various scientific branches in Bulgaria. One of them, Prof. Anastas Ishirkov, is founder of the Bulgarian studies in geography, who in 2018 is celerated for two anniversaries: 150 years since his birth and 100 years since the establishment of the Bulgarian Geographic Society. The library contains a number of his books, but few of them have ever been digitized and available online.

In 2018, Spasimir initiated collaboration with the Bulgarian Geographic Society and other academic and university departments, to commemorate the 100th anniversary by an online geographic editathon. When we figured out that the founder of the Society, Prof. Ishirkov is from Lovech and the local library hosts his original publications, books with autographs and other documents, we immediately saw an opportunity to unite and boost both collaborations, by organizing an editathon and scanathon there.

Specific goals
  1. Provide wiki training and digitizing equipment (portable scanners) to the Lovech Regional Library "Prof. Benyu Tsonev"
  2. Digitize free content and add it to Wikimedia Commons, Bulgarian Wikipedia and Bulgarian Wikisource
  3. Recruit new editors from the town of Lovech, in particular among the staff people in the Lovech Regional Library
  4. Provide additional portable scanners for enabling future wiki scanathons.

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?

Lovech-born academics
Lovech Regional Library is rich in materials about several prominent Bulgarian professors, born in the town, who are local pioneers in different academic disciplines. Such are Prof. Benyu Tsonev (linguist, paleographer and librarian), Anastas Ishirkov (geographer), Stefan Petkov (botanist), Mihail Minev (pathoanatomist), Toshko Petrov (pioneer of the scientific branch of hygiene), Ivan Urumov (botanist, biographer).
Special focus on Prof. Anastas Ishirkov in 2018
With respect to the 100th year of the establishment of the Bulgarian Geographic Society and the 150th year of the birth of its founder Prof. Anastas Ishirkov, we are willing to digitize his original books and manuscripts, property of the Library. While in the web there are available (though not yet in Wikisource) few of his works, a full list has been prepared for us by the Library, and we will be able to digitize them.
Liberation movement
The Library is also the main source of information about the history of this town, which was a major centre of the Bulgarian revolutionary and liberation movement in the second half of 19th century. A precious source is the 7-volume encyclopedic series written and published from the late 1920s until mid 1930s, titled "Lovech and Lovech Region" ("Ловеч и Ловчанско"), coauthored and coedited by most of the above listed Lovech-born professors and pioneers.
Notable women from Lovech and the region
Our research showed that this encyclopedic series provides a lot of information about notable local women, too, so this will be another special focus of our collaboration. In the "Lovech and Lovech Region" books, these women are well presented with biographic articles and photos, but Wikipedia still misses these articles and photos online.

2. What activities will you organize in the next 6 months to create content and use it on Wikimedia projects?

This image of Victoria Pishurkova inspired the creation of a new article in BG WP.
So far, we have negotiated with the library staff to start providing us with photos (digitized with the only one A4 flatbed scanner which they have). These photos illustrate existing articles, which were before this missing any image whatsoever, or can inspire the creation of new articles (e.g. about the notable local teacher Viktoria Pishurkova).
In the end of October, would like to organize a 2-day event in Lovech Regional Library, which will engage about 25 people in scanning books (within the public domain due to expired copyrights) and creating and editing articles. We will use all the 8 purchased scanners in the frames of the scanathon and editathon event. After its end, we will leave in the Library 2 of the purchased 8 scanners, and will engage the Library staff to continue the digitization of books about local history, and related to the life and work of the the mentioned Lovech-born professors.
With the remaining 6 scanners we can organize a scanathon event in the State Archives in Sofia, where we have collaboration since 2013. So far we have never organized there a more massive digitization event, but given the larger community in the capital, such an event is going to be well attended and very productive.

3. How will the equipment be shared/tracked/cared for by members of your community?

Community members will be informed about the availability of these six portable scanners and given the opportunity to use them individually, or propose / organize larger scanathon events. When a larger event is to be organized, the scanners should be used together for greated impact. In the meanwhile, they can be used individually.
Importantly, once having the equipment available, we will be more comfortable and confident approaching libraries, museums and archives, who usually in Bulgaria have good sources and content for digitization but missing or scarce digitization equipment and knowledge of optimally using it. Hence, the sharing is not only with respect to sharing the equipment, but also sharing the knowledge about using it, and about organization of events involving more people.
Users cannot be limited to Wikimedia-related use of the equipment, but will be encouraged to produce essentially such content, and will be requested to provide links to the uploaded digitized content on Wikimedia Commons, Wikisource, Wikipedia, etc., with the scanners they used.
We will create a Meta page with a table giving detailed information about where is each of the scanners, since/until when, and for what purpose. Previous and current host will be asked to personally leave their wiki signatures on this page in the moment of transfer, for the sake of better accountability.
Since portable scanners are usually run on AA batteries, it will be the current host's task and responsibility to ensure the batteries. If unused for awhile, the batteries should be removed from the scanners, and the scanners should be stored away of sunlight. Every scanner will be provided by the team with a proper list of instructions for use.

4. How long will the equipment be used, and by whom?

Based on our experience, portable scanners can be use at least 4 years.

5. Is there anything else you want to tell us about this project?

The idea about purchasing portable scanners is motivated by both their price and ease of use and community sharing. Also, portable scanners are better option for documents bigger than A4 size in one of their dimensions, for instance newspapers, larger diplomas, albums of reproductions, cartographic maps. With the same width, they can ensure unlimited length. This equipment can be a good alternative for libraries and archives, which usually possess only A4 flatbet scanners (if any), which are not always good for use with older or more fragile books.
The reason why this rapid grant project is proposed in our individual capacity is that the Wikimedians of Bulgaria User Group has closed its shared bank account in April 2017.


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.

Digitized content
For the event in the Lovech Regional Library in the end of October we have the goal to digitize as much as possible from the manuscripts and books of Prof. Anastas Ishirkov. The list of books is, as follows:
  1. Западните краища на българската земя (с 11 карти), 1915, 103 pages.
  2. Характерни черти на градовете в Царство България, 1925, 26 pages.
  3. Чалъкавакски проход в Стара планина, 1913, 25 pages.
  4. Брой и разпределение на българите в Добруджа в 1918, 1930 г., 54 pages.
  5. Впечатления от Македония, 1910, 15 pages.
  6. Скопската област останала българска и под духовното владичество на сръбската Ипекска патриаршия (1557 – 1766 год.), 70 pages.
  7. Охридското езеро и град Охрид, 1915, 32 pages.
  8. Град Копривщица, 1926, 32 pages.
  9. La Bulgarie et la Dobroudja, 1918, 32 pages.
  10. Цвиичовите възгледи върху етнографията на Македония, // Периодично списание LXVIII. 1906. pages 469 – 521.
  11. България. Географически бележки, 1910, 172 pages. (Book with autograph of Prof. Ishirkov, signed in 1934)
  12. Град София през ХХVІІ век, 1912, 93 pages.
  13. Град София, 1928, 14 pages.
  14. София по време на Освобождението. Население на София (етнография и статистика; физиономия на града), 1928, 78 pages.
  15. Сборник в чест на Анастас Т. Иширков по случай 35-годишната му преподавателска дейност. // Известия на Българското географско дружество кн. I. 1933, 390 pages.
  16. В Западна Стара планина. // Известия за командировките на Министерство на народната просвета кн. I. 1904. pages 106 – 118.
While the whole list of books cannot be digitized in one go (the total number of pages is about 1200), we aim for digitization and upload of at least 150-200 pages. We will select books with more illustrative content that can be used in more Wikipedia articles. Use of at least 20% of the uploaded images in Wikipedia articles is considered a good achievement in this case. Probably about 15-20 new articles can be written during the event based on materials from the Library.
Whatever remains for digitization from the list will be the Library's committment with the two scanners that we will leave them for future use.
In addition, with the six scanners that will remain in our possession, we plan to organize scanathons in the State Archives in Sofia and potentially in other regional libraries around the country (we are in the process of identifying them). During a scanathon in the Archives in Sofia, for instance, we can reasonably aim at about 100 images per day per scanner, but there we are also subject to limitation in terms of the number of retrieved documents per person per day. With a good preliminary preparation, we will probably be able to retrieve, digitize and upload about 500 images in the frames of such a one-day scanathon.
Training librarians in 21st century skills
The figures above are approximate, and probably not very high, because during the event we need to allocate time for trainings on Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and free licenses, as well as on principles of digitization and optical character recognition. We consider that the training part, preceding the scanathon, is of equal, and maybe even reater importance, as we will not only teach librarians some basic 21st century skills for them - like digitization, OCR and contributing to Wikipedia, but will also help raising their awareness of the possibilities to promote their resources and use and reuse their precious content at a practically zero marginal cost.
Visibility of the results
Another aspect of the impact of the project is related with the communication and visibility of the results of the projects. We plan to organize the scanathon in the Lovech Regional Library to be in October 2018, and in November there will be a national conference of Bulgarian Geographic Society, where we will be able to present the results of the collaboration and have again a tribune to speak about Wikipedia, about free content, about the benefits from GLAM/Wiki collaborations, and we will be able to reach out to the audience of researchers, university and school teachers in geography, which is generally a very prospective target.


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 organizers are Vassia, Justine and Spasimir. They will organize the trip of a total of 10 volunteers from Sofia and/or other towns, and other 15 people from Lovech Library and volunteers from Lovech. They will be responsible for the smooth organization of the two-day event (editathon+scanathon) in Lovech, will provide the wiki and digitization training in the beginning, and will secure the upload of all digitized content at the end. The three will be responsible for the portable scanners that will remain available for future scanathons in other libraries or archives in Sofia or in the country.

What resources do you need? For your funding request, list bullet points for each expense and include a total amount.

Type of costs Number of items / people Cost in BGN Cost in USD
1. Portable scanners 8 1600 970
2. Transportation costs Sofia - Lovech - Sofia 10 250 151
3. Accommodation costs in Lovech (1 night) 10 350 212
4. Lunch (2 days) 25 400 242
5. Supper (1 day) 25 300 182
6. Banner of Wikipedia (vynil print + stand) 1 250 152
7. Wikipedia stickers 1000 100 61
8. Unexpected costs, bank fees - 50 30
Total - 3300 2000


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