The Balkaneana project aims at introducing novel digital library and data warehouse technologies for developing a usable and efficient representation of the content of the public Library of Konitsa, the municipal library of Gjirokastra that will be fully compliant to the Europeana standards.
Both libraries have a significant repository of books and artifacts (nearly 150.000 items) related to the cultural and natural heritage of the cross border area. This content covers popular arts, architecture, tradition, folklore, isopolyphony music, amongst others. All items (not just books) will be digitized, enhanced with cross-references and multimedia material. Besides allowing advanced access to this content, it is also crucial to preserve it in a sustainable manner for the next generations.
Furthermore, Balkaneana aims at modernizing the services offered by the two libraries by introducing in their operation innovative information technologies (use of international standards, online index of books, remote access to services, participation to networks of libraries) through specific actions.
In addition, Balkaneana will provide a significant added value to the regional cultural heritage preservation, promotion and exploitation, by directly connecting the thesaurus of the local libraries to Europeana and its aggregators. Through the visibility thus offered by Europeana, Balkaneana will create added value for the economic growth in the cross border region both directly (cultural tourism, promotion of traditional artifacts) and indirectly (supporting innovation and sustainability in both regions, reviving of fading craftsmanship, encouraging investment for local commerce). Balkaneana can be the start of a new era for the Western Balkans regions as a future library concept.