The Rediscover project.

REDISCOVER will contribute to the coordination and integration of dispersed content of cultural heritage by enhancing the cooperation between national libraries in Europe. The project will develop four exhibitions of already digitized compound documents dispersed from the period of the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Era. The method of integration is based on creating complex presentations of various types of digitized representation of original manuscripts, old printed books, photographs, etc. available online to any interested person in Europe. All collected documents will represent contribution to the European Digital Library thanks to the existing Manuscriptorium digital library interface, which provide a new innovative element to particular exhibitions of cultural heritage.

One of the main outputs of the project will be a single seamless access point for the European cultural heritage in the area of historical book collections and archival papers. The integrated resource created in the REDISCOVER project can be used for research purposes by launching the search and collection of other dispersed content of cultural heritage just as well as for educational purposes within the formal or non-formal training of students and adults in the professional field.

Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Era (2nd half of the 14th century to 1st half of the 17th century) were also times of multifarious conflicts, social stress and so-called religious wars. The biggest of these conflicts was the Thirty Years’ War. Central Europe (Czech Lands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary etc.) was the central field of these events. At that time a big part of the cultural heritage of countries and nations was dispersed into repositories other than its original ones. In some cases we can talk about whole collections or major parts of them, in other cases a few items were lost. The dispersion of former collections is one of the biggest problems when working of work with cultural heritage of Central European nations and trying to represent them to the wider public.

There is a need to integrate this specific historical cultural heritage consisting of manuscripts, printed books, historical archival materials, etc. from the period of the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Era. The project objective is the integration of existing digitised compound documents and their presentation within the exhibitions in four European countries: Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Czech Republic. All these digitised compound documents (through the own local digitalizing tool) from particular exhibitions will contribute to the existing Manuscriptorium digital library. The main innovation of REDISCOVER project is joining the exhibition of cultural heritage with modern interactive elements of the Manuscriptorium platform. The platform is already in use and it is a common easy-to-use interface, which enables concentration of dispersed resources into a unique research environment and retrieval of data from distant servers. Manuscriptorium is an environment with many kinds of added value; it directly presents research material, while the existing portal solutions only provide links to collections without a possibility of navigation through the virtual representation of their items.

The Manuscriptorium platform is based on the M-Edit Application, which is designed for easy creation of bibliographic descriptions of precious documents – manuscripts and old printed books. The program enables routine and quick creation of a vast number of simple records (short titles), to facilitate quick primary access of the fund. Besides saving the actual document description, the application allows input of information about the document’s so-called "electronic link". Outputs can therefore be used directly to create complete digital copies of documents. These results records can be imported into Manuscriptorium and thereby make quickly accessible information about the existence of a document and its basic properties. The Manuscriptorium platform enables sharing of data repositories (distributed storage) and detailed metadata and search from a single access point without a need to switch to other websites with different interfaces made in different languages. Manuscriptorium will enable creation of new digital documents through combination of existing parts of data and metadata for example for study purposes and education.