Digitisation is increasingly becoming a more and more crucial part within the wide heritage policy. So, too, in the sector of heritage libraries, this evolution is ongoing. Standards were agreed on a national and international level and large projects were founded.
Flanders Heritage Library bundles the forces in the field of digitisation in Flemish heritage libraries, particularly of the six partners of Flanders Heritage Library, in a virtual Flemish heritage library, named Flandrica.be.
Highlights from Flemish collections
Flandrica.be is a web portal for fully digitised materials from Flemish heritage libraries. The corpus consists of ‘Flandrica’, publications produced in Flanders or dealing with Flanders, and unique materials from the Flemish heritage such as manuscripts.
The primary focus is on documents that are visually attractive or interesting for cultural history, that are presented in high quality and are broadly contextualised, for example via explanatory descriptions and guided tours. The online collection contained 425 items when it was launched. Since then, new digitised materials from the six partner libraries are regularly added to Flandrica.be
In doing so, Flandrica.be offers culture lovers and researchers both at home and abroad a look into the richness of the collections in Flanders. Everyone gets free access to digitised library heritage. To further raise the presence and visibility of Flemish typographical heritage on the internet, the contents of Flandrica.be are also incorporated in Europeana.
A network project
Flandrica.be was developed in a networked project, in which staff from the different partner libraries contributed to the realisation of five group tasks. A group task was not just realised by one library, but always by all six. The project team of Flandrica.be consisted of 4 teams for group tasks 1 to 4 and an executive team, which also took on the realisation of group task 5.
This was a deliberate decision with regard to the building and sharing of expertise, which is an important second goal of Flandrica.be. The project makes it feasible for all partner libraries to digitise and offer heritage materials online in a qualitative manner. Existing standards, guidelines, best practices, etc. were used as much as possible.
Flandrica.be is financed from the structural subsidies that Flanders Heritage Library receives from the Flemish Community alongside contributions from the partner libraries.