The Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences holds one of the earliest archives in Southern Europe. It collects hand-made registrations of unique cultural objects by description and visual documentation from across Bulgaria. Due to poor preservation, the documents risk disappearing.
The Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies, with the Ethnographic Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, has started many projects with the aim of making the collection suitable for a wider open-access use. The material considered in this project was hand-made registration of unique cultural objects by description and visual documentation. Geographically, the material covers the whole territory of Bulgaria and some of the neighbouring Balkan areas visited by the authors and collectors. Of the three collections digitised, the first, “Antiquities” is the only missing part of a huge cultural miscellany, partly already published, while the second and third contain unknown songs, proverbs, riddles, legends, and myths that will extend the empirical basis of ethnographic data throughout an extended pre-industrial period.
The collection dates from the 19th century and is slowly decaying. In the past, the collection was improperly preserved, which accelerated the ageing process.
The project digitised 1,416 documents across the three collections. The project created three surveys, describing the contents of the collections and sharing the details of the materials. The staff at the archive improved their digitisation skills and were able to research the material in great detail and learn more about the documents.