Lithuanian Cultural Heritage Digitisation Policy

The policy for the digitisation of Lithuanian cultural heritage is implemented in accordance with the Concept for the Digitisation of Lithuanian Cultural Heritage, the Strategy for the Digitisation of Lithuanian Cultural Heritage and Digital Content Preservation and Access, and the 2015-2020 Programme for Digital Cultural Heritage Actualisation and Preservation. The implementation of this policy is coordinated by the Ministry of Culture together with the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania. The Council for Digitisation of Lithuanian Cultural Heritage acts as an expert and consultant in resolving issues related to digitisation policy-making, implementation and supervision.

The objective of the digitisation of Lithuanian cultural heritage is to transfer unique and valuable pieces of cultural heritage into digital form. National memory institutions collect and safeguard valuable cultural heritage that is important to the preservation of Lithuania’s identity and cultural uniqueness, the development of science, education and art, and the increase of social creativity and cohesion. Digitisation makes it possible to open protected cultural valuables to the public and utilise them remotely.

The general principles for the development of virtual cultural heritage are established in the 2015-2020 Programme for Digital Cultural Heritage Actualisation and Preservation: consolidation of resources and capacities; cooperation and coordination of the digitalisation, digital content dissemination and access processes; the assurance of integrated access to Lithuanian digital cultural heritage according to the one stop-shop principle; orientation to the needs of society; and the reuse of digital cultural heritage.

Digitisation activities at national memory institutions are coordinated by national (the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Art Museum, the Office of the Chief Archivist of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Central State Archives), regional (the M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum, the Lithuanian Sea Museum, the Šiauliai Aušros Museum, county public libraries) and sectoral (Vilnius University Library, the Wroblewski Library, the National Radio and Television of Lithuania) competence centres in digitisation.

Digitised heritage with cultural and scientific significance is represented in the epaveldas virtual information system for digital cultural heritage. The main tasks for the system are: to integrate the digitised cultural heritage at all of the country’s memory institutions, to create opportunities for seamless digital content search and access via a national portal, and to ensure effective dissemination of Lithuanian cultural heritage. The foundation of the system is a database of digitised items which currently contains three million pages of digitised objects (archive files, manuscripts, books, posters, paintings, prints, photographs and digitised images of other items).

In order to ensure targeted dissemination and promotion of the country’s cultural heritage within the European digital platform for cultural heritage, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania was entrusted by the 13 November 2008 Order No. ĮV-560 of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania with representation of the country in Europeana, the European digital library. It was recommended that Lithuania contribute at least 129,000 digital cultural heritage objects to Europeana by 2015 (over 159,000 had been contributed at the end of 2015). Lithuania is also actively involved in initiatives organised by Europeana to publicise digital heritage, such as Europeana 1989, Europeana Space and Europeana Photography.

Financing. On 10 November 2015, the Ministry of Culture approved the 2016-2018 Plan for Implementation Measures for the 2015-2020 Programme for Digital Cultural Heritage Actualisation and Preservation, which includes nine priority projects in the field of digitisation of cultural heritage that are planned to be implemented with EU structural funds (with the preliminary amount of funds provided for them at EUR 32 million).

Each year, the Lithuanian Council for Culture also provides partial financing for projects from the funds of the Culture Support Foundation according to the Dissemination of Digital Cultural Heritage programme. According to the 14 April 2015 decision of the Lithuanian Council for Culture ‘On partial financing of projects in 2015 according to the Dissemination of Digital Cultural Heritage programme funded by the Culture Support Foundation’, EUR 86,886 were allocated for the implementation of 15 projects.

The European Commission also provides support for digitisation, digital content preservation and dissemination projects. Investment priority 2.3 of the Operational Programme for EU Structural Funds Investments for 2014-2020, ‘Strengthening ICT applications for e-government, e-learning, e-inclusion, e-culture and e-health’, provides for the development of e-services on the basis of digitised objects of Lithuanian linguistic and cultural heritage, research, education and art resources in order to make valuable digital content open for as broad and versatile public use as possible during the 2014-2020 EU Structural Funds investment period. More detailed information about the programmes and their themes, terms and rules of participation are provided by national representatives, the Information Society Development Committee and the Agency for International Science and Technology.


Last updated: 17-02-2021