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The “Croatian Glagolitic Heritage” project

The Croatian Glagolitic Heritage project was initiated by the National and University Library in Zagreb, through its cooperation with other Croatian academic and heritage institutions. It is conducted by the Library’s Manuscripts and Old Books Collection and the ArhivPro company, with the Library’s Croatian Digital Library Development Division, operating as part of the Croatian Institute for Librarianship, acting as the body coordinating the project.


In the project’s second phase, headed by Dr Irena Galić Bešker, who is also the Head of the Library’s Manuscripts and Old Books Collection, the Library continued cooperating with several institutions on the digitisation of works belonging to Croatian Glagolitic heritage and academic resources in the field of Glagolitic studies, the inclusion of digital images of institutions outside Croatia or links to the digital reproductions of works in their collections on the portal, and on further developing the portal’s functionalities. Also, papers and other academic works on Glagolitic and its heritage by contemporary authors continued to be published on the portal, following the obtainment of copyright permissions.


The Croatian Glagolitic Heritage project, headed by Dr Ivan Kosić and Dr Irena Galić Bešker, was launched with the aim of encouraging a wider digitisation of Glagolitic manuscripts and books, located in institutions both in Croatia and abroad, and enabling direct insight into this valuable heritage to researchers, university and secondary school students, and to the general public as well, through the online portal. Furthermore, the project’s realisation directly contributes to the protection of original works from frequent use and its related exposure to detrimental microclimatic conditions. Plans for the portal’s development include enabling the simultaneous viewing of the original works, their transliterations, commentaries and/or translations.

The 2017 programme was realised as part of the Library’s regular activities and the archives and libraries digitisation programme of the Croatian Ministry of Culture (Program digitalizacije arhivske i knjižnične građe). The Library’s imaging equipment was used to digitise heritage material from the Library’s collections, Library of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, St. Francis Friary in Cres and the Library of the Franciscan Monastery at Ksaver in Zagreb, totalling 10,462 pages. Also, the digital copies of scientific and research papers on Glagolitic and its related tradition and heritage were identified and assembled as part of the project activities, in which context earlier papers were digitised. The Library obtained permission to publish the papers of twelve Croatian scholars and researchers, thus adding to the digital collection 342 contemporary Glagolitic-related treatises. Visual artist Vjera Reiser gave the Library permission to digitise and include on the portal her portfolio containing seven miniatures inspired by the 1496 Glagolitic incunabulum Spovid općena (Zagreb, 1994), and another similar portfolio with miniatures inspired by the famous 1494 Senj Glagolitic Missal (Oče naš za Domovinu i naš mali Planet : Senjski glagoljski Misal 1494-1994, Zagreb, 1994) which includes a foreword by Anica Nazor and Stanko Špoljarić. Scholar and writer Jasna Horvat granted her permission for including on the portal the introductory part of her award-winning novel AZ (Zagreb, 2009).

The online portal set up as part of the project is available through the domain, which is provided and managed by the National and University Library in Zagreb and makes available all metadata along with the most varied digital content related to Glagolitic heritage.

Altogether 9,918 colour pages of the original works were scanned at the Library and included on the portal based on using the Indigo repository platform. The implemented browser enables a parallel viewing of the original work, its transliteration, commentary and/or translation. Through the inclusion of the portal’s metadata in the Europeana portal, the collection will be promoted at international level. The staff of several departments, divisions and sections of the Library were involved in the project, whose realisation in cooperation with the ArhivPro company was coordinated by the Library’s Croatian Digital Library Development Division, operating as part of the Croatian Institute for Librarianship.

2005 – 2017

The Croatian Glagolitic Heritage project is a sort of a sequel to the 2005-2017 Library’s project aimed at the digitisation of Croatian manuscript heritage held by institutions outside Croatia (Digitalizacija hrvatske rukopisne građe u inozemnim ustanovama) and led by the then Head of the Library’s Manuscripts and Books Collection Dr Ivan Kosić. Aimed at acquiring the digital copies of valuable works belonging to Croatian cultural heritage held by foreign institutions, the project’s realisation resulted in the acquisition of the digital reproductions of 17 manuscripts, 14 of which were in the Glagolitic alphabet.