National Library of Poland to continue its digitisation of the archives of the "Kultura" Literary Institute at Maisons-Laffitte - News - The National Library

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National Library of Poland to continue its digitisation of the archives of the "Kultura" Literary Institute at Maisons-Laffitte

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On Friday, February 14, 2020, Dr Tomasz Makowski, Director of the National Library of Poland, met with Anna Bernhardt, President of the "Kultura" Literary Institute Association from Maisons-Laffitte, France. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the continuation of the cooperation between the two institutions. The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has made a commitment to the National Library to finance the continued digitisation in 2020.

The National Library of Poland and the "Kultura" Literary Institute Association signed an initial cooperation agreement to carry out an inventory of the Association's archives in 2008. Since 2016, following the conclusion of that project, the two bodies have been engaged in the six-year project "Digitisation of the Archives of the 'Kultura' Literary Institute", financed by a grant from the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The aim of the project is to create digital reproductions of the documents, letters and photographs in the Institute's collections, adding their bibliographic details to the catalogue of the National Library of Poland. So far approximately 2,000 files containing manuscripts have been prepared for digitisation and 400,000 scans carried out.

The Institute's collection is notable for its size, comprising over 165 metres of current files and 20 metres of other archive records, preserved almost in their entirety. These are mainly typescripts and manuscripts, machine copies and photocopies, along with computer typescripts and print-outs of emails. A huge part of the archive is made up of correspondence by Jerzy Giedroyc and his colleagues. The collection also contains press clippings, copies of press reports and leaflets, photographs and other visual materials, plus a few sound and film recordings. They document the functioning over a period of nearly 65 years of the pro-independence cultural environment, the uniqueness of which on a global scale was recognised with UNESCO's inclusion of the Institute's collections on its "Memory of the World" register. Digitising the archive will not only ensure that it is safe forever but also allow a wide range of interested researchers to access documents relevant to Polish culture.

The "Digitisation of the Archives of the Kultura Literary Institute" project currently underway is the continuation of the project "An inventory of the Archives of the 'Kultura' Literary Institute", carried out between 2009 and 2015 by the National Library of Poland in cooperation with the Head Office of State Archives in Poland. The purpose of the latter project was to organise and ensure appropriate storage of the Institute's invaluable heritage. In line with the project's objectives, the unique historical testimony of the Institute and the life of Polish political émigrés in the post-War period was organised, secured, catalogued and moved to a specially adapted building. The National Library marked this achievement with the publication of a printed guide to the collections of the "Kultura" Literary Institute Archive.

For more about the "Kultura" Literary Institute, visit