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Friday 12 September 2008

About this initiative

Romani is spoken by over 4,5 million of the Roma population in Europe and the largest Romani-speaking population lives in most of the countries of CEE. Although the Romani language has different dialects, most of them can be understand and read by the Roma worldwide. However, access to Romani language materials is limited because of the lack of proper distribution of Romani books or because of the lack of access to printed materials and publications that came out decades ago, but that are kept in archives and not available to the public.

In the era of digital access, when the number of internet-based information initiatives is continually increasing, the idea that the treasures of the Romani literary heritage should be digitalized is a natural one. Along with the National Library of Serbia and the European Library consortia Next Page triggered a joint initiative for digital collection of Romani language resources. The goal of the initiative is to overcome territorial borders in distribution of content and information related to publications in Romani and bilingual, and create sustainable means for maintaining them. This includes creation of a joint electronic resource of Romani texts currently developed by members of the European Library (TEL) by digitalizitation of public domain materials and copyrighted publications that would be freely accessed and potentially published on-demand.

The Romani Collection contributes to the equal access to knowledge in the language of the biggest European minority, and promotes multilingualism and world-wide understanding of the diversity of European life and culture. It is targeting Romani users and researchers worldwide who can easily locate, access, and read material from a single source.


-  Compiling of joint Romani collection with contributions from the national TEL partners’ collections;

-  Digitalizing of materials from the public domain as well as copyright materials;

-  Securing access to digital meta-data of Romani language publications available in the TEL libraries;

-  Preserving of materials that can not be exposed to handling;

-  Opening up the initiative to other organizations and institutions that can contribute to Romani heritage digitalziation – museums, galleries, research institutes, private collections, etc.

Interim results

-  Joint Romani bibliography of over 1000 items available in 18 national libraries was digitalized;

-  100 books in Romani and bi-lingual to be available on-line in December 2008 are digitalized;

-  Long term on-line availability of Roma minority heritage and written culture is secured;

-  Cooperation among the national libraries in the field of preserving European Roma heritage is established (these libraries will collaborate with respect to the Romani collection development);

-  The Romani literature heritage is integrated in the mainstream European literatures.