News / Arts & Entertainment

Experts Launch Project to Digitize Neglected Bosnian Heritage

Photographer Jim Marshall, a member of the Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Heritage, photographs pages of a book in Bosnia's National Library in Sarajevo, Aug. 19, 2014.
Photographer Jim Marshall, a member of the Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Heritage, photographs pages of a book in Bosnia's National Library in Sarajevo, Aug. 19, 2014.
Reuters

A group of Balkan experts have launched a high-tech project to digitize Bosnia's historical archives which were partly destroyed during its three wars last century and are still under threat from neglect and a lack of funding.

The project promises to make available online a host of records and papers detailing Bosnia's turbulent past, most notably the events and atmosphere surrounding the 1914 Sarajevo assassination that triggered World War I.

Bosnia has been in a state of the political paralysis since its 1992-1995 war, which ended in a U.S.-brokered peace deal that silenced the guns but sowed the seeds for two decades of dysfunctional government.

Political bickering between the former warring sides has left many cultural and historical institutions without funding.

"Bosnia's national heritage had been systematically destroyed during the three wars and because of a lack of interest and neglect by political parties," James Lyon, a U.S. historian and former Balkan analyst for the International Crisis Group think tank, told a news conference on Tuesday.

Lyon and other Balkan experts created the Foundation for the Preservation of Historical Heritage in January, initially to help digitize the parts of Bosnia's National Library archives relating to the June 1914 killing of the heir to the Habsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The experts have now expanded the project after part of the national archive, housed in the state presidency in Sarajevo, was set ablaze in anti-government rioting in February, and floodwaters threatened a number of municipal and private archives in May.

No Status, Funding

Many of the National Library's records and manuscripts were destroyed in the Bosnian Serb siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 war, which razed the landmark Town Hall that housed the library.

The National Library, the National Museum and five other museums have been without official status or regular funding since the war because of clashing views of Bosnia's past among its Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosniaks.

In some cases, priceless national treasures have been left to decay in inadequate storage facilities without temperature controls or ventilation. The foundation is using equipment borrowed from FamilySearch, a genealogy organization run by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, and has begun helping to digitize the archives of the National Library, the Historical Museum and Sarajevo's oldest newspaper, Oslobodjenje.

"In a situation in which the museum, due to its unresolved legal status, has not been able to adequately secure Bosnia's cultural and historic heritage, the foundation's support is of immense importance to us," said Elma Hasimbegovic, director of the Historical Museum.

Lyon has already been involved in the digitization of other archives in Bosnia, including illuminated 14th century gospels written on leather, decrees of Ottoman sultans and records from the Hapsburg era and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

"The documents from that period will become accessible online for everyone interested," said Chris Bennett, the Foundation's executive director.

He said the Foundation was considering launching similar projects across the region.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."