The Digital Media Institute “Digitarium” (IMC) was established in November 2018 as a development of the long-term activities of the Silesian Library in the field of digitisation of literature. It dates back to 1998, when the first concept for a digital library was created under the name Silesian Virtual Library. It initiated a systemic approach to the digitisation of library collections, which resulted in 2006 in creation of the Silesian Digital Library (SDL), currently the largest regional digital library in Poland.
The digitisation of the library collections on a larger scale began after obtaining national and European funds. The “Social Digitisation Workshop” (Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Patronage 2007) and the Silesian Internet Library of Historical Collections (Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, I&E OP 2007-2013) projects have resulted – apart from the development of server infrastructure, digitisation workshop and creation of a team of specialists – in a gradual formalisation of activities. The Social Digitisation Workshop (SPD) was established in 2008 and the Digital Media Department “Digitarium” – in 2013. At that time a strategic concept of a regional information cluster, i.e. the connection and target integration of the information services of the Silesian Library, and potentially later on – other institutions of the region, was developed.
Projects funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage from 2014-2017 – digitisation of journals, official publications and regional literature – expanded publicly available digital resources, upgraded the digital library platform and made the WB regional bibliography database available online. The full publishing output of statistical offices – both the Silesian and neighbouring ones – was also digitised, along with the digitisation for the Silesian Geographical and Historical Dictionary GEOHIST project, coordinated by the Institute of Regional Research of the Silesian Library.
The establishment of the IMC “Digitarium” has underlined the importance of digitisation as one of the key competences of the Silesian Library. It has also increased the possibilities for digital preservation and presentation of regional heritage.
The activities of IMC “Digitarium” are carried out in the following areas:
- cooperation with the region’s cultural, scientific and educational institutions in locating and digitising the region’s heritage for long-term preservation and presentation on the Internet;
- coordination and technical and organisational development of the SDL, currently being created by 63 institutions of the Silesian and Opole Voivodeships;
- competence and technical support for institutions cooperating within the SDL;
- involving volunteers (especially seniors) in digitising literature (within the SPD);
- preparation and implementation of projects;
- implementation of the concept of a regional information cluster as part of the Silesian Digitarium project activity. Digitisation and access to the resources of the cultural institutions of the Silesian Voivodeship (ERDF, 2018-2021) in partnership with the Regional Institute of Culture, the Film Institution “Silesia Film” and the Silesian Opera in Bytom;
- development of specialised scientific bibliographies.