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Research and development program projects

A number of projects were undertaken in 2022 thanks to special-purpose financing from the NAKI II program of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the ÉTA (2018–2025) program of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic in support of applied social and humanities research, experimental development and innovation:

Synthetic materials in book collections
Grant recipient: the National Library of the Czech Republic
Project leader: Ing. Petra Vávrová, Ph.D.
Project period: 2018–2022
The project’s objective involved specialised research into extensive book collections focused on synthetic materials, especially those with a lower stability and lifespan (this most commonly involves materials such as PVC, nitrate or acetate cellulose and polyurethanes), research and development into non-destructive and slightly destructive diagnostic methods and procedures for evaluating the safety, durability and economic aspects of the application of modern materials and technologies. The project further focused on the development of procedures for restoring and preserving synthetic materials. The results of the development and verification of the methods and work procedures pertaining to the conservation and restoration of synthetic materials will not only be of use to book collections, but also with regard to any cultural heritage produced from plastics in general. In 2022, the cooperation between the research teams at NL CR and the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague continued and the project approached its culmination. The plan and the scheduled stages were completed in accordance with the project documentation, while the project and its results were successfully concluded and also disseminated amongst the expert community. The project overlap involves the activities of the project team’s members in relation to the activities of the Plastic Working Group under the Conservator-Restorer Committee at the Association of Museums and Galleries of the Czech Republic. The Plastic Working Group has brought together specialists from a number of museums, galleries, archives, libraries and universities from all over the Republic since 2014 and its objective is to share information and cooperation with regard to taking care of the modern synthetic materials found in collections, the numbers of which are constantly rising.
The project’s focal point in 2022 involved finalising the planned main and secondary results. The Doba plastová v knižní vazbě [Age of plastic in bookbinding] exhibition was realised with a critical catalogue. The cooperation between the research teams was excellent, the results were discussed and the each workplace’s results were mutually supplemented. The Age of plastic in bookbinding exhibition was held in the corridors of the Clementinum on 4.8.-8.10.2022 and it also took place during the 26th ICOM General Conference which was held in Prague on 20.-28.8.2022; the texts were available in English via QR codes. As such, the exhibition was visited by the majority of the delegates at the international conference.

RightLib – The provision of electronic access to protected publications
Grant recipient: the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Project leader: Ing. Martin Lhoták
Responsible individual on behalf of the NL CR: Dr Vít Richter
Project period: 2018–2022
The project is a joint venture between three libraries that have long been involved in developing and optimising the Kramerius digital library, which is mainly designated for the provision of access to digitalised modern documents: namely the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences (LCAS), the Moravian Library (ML) and the NL CR. In the project's last year, the team focussed primarily on concluding the last main output, namely the RightLib system for the provision of access to protected documents which has been tested in pilot operations. This has been achieved by means of the deployment of the Czech Digital Library (CDL) in a new instance, which has been gradually created on the ML infrastructure and is based on the latest version of the Kramerius 7 system. Within the CDL, it was necessary to optimise the indexer according to the data of the harvested libraries, to create a statistical module, to secure the connection to the List of Out-of-Commerce Works (LOOWC) and to implement the licence administration and the user log-in to the central level of the CDL.
From the point of view of licences, the unequivocal priority was to achieve the optimal method of making out-of-commerce works (OOCW) accessible, which is a global licence that enables an above-standard approach to the content of the digital libraries in the Czech Republic thanks to a contract concluded between the NL CR and the copyright owners. This agreement is also relatively unique in international terms from the point of view of the degree of access that it enables. RightLib is a significant positive element for the project that amplifies the effect of the project and its applied outputs. The Metodika pro zajištění bezpečného přístupu k datům v rámci různých režimů zpřístupnění digitálního obsahu [Methodology for securing safe data access as part of various modes of access to digital content] material was finalised in 2022. The methodology’s objective is to define the legislative and contractual conditions, organisational measures and technological procedures for securing safe access to digitised documents that are protected by copyright and are made accessible by libraries online in the OOCW mode. The methodological-legal section of the methodology focusses on the detailed characteristics of the licence conditions for the provision of access to out-of-commerce works, which arise from the provisions of the Copyright Act and from the licensing contract concluded between the NL CR and the collective of copyright administrators. Attention has been paid to the definition of the basic terms in this specific area. The overall system for the provision of access to out-of-commerce works has been characterised and the functions, rights and responsibilities of its basic elements have been described, i.e. the NL CR, the collective of copyright administrators, the NDL, the LOOWC, the libraries mediating the services and the service users. The technical sections of the methodology set out the basic parameters for the functionality of the LOOWC application, including the architecture for the connection of the LOOWC to the Kramerius digital library and the tool for identifying the users accessing the digital library remotely or via a terminal at a library. Mgr. Tomáš Foltýn and Dr Vít Richtr presented the RightLib project in a paper entitled Works unavailable on the market: Czech experience of the digital content availability via the internet in the “Covid times” at the LIBER 2022 conference in Denmark in 2022.

The virtual reconstruction of dispersed book collections of Czech provenance in local and international libraries
Grant recipient: The National Museum
Project leader: Dr Richard Šípek, Ph.D.
Responsible individual on behalf of the NL CR: Mgr. Anna Vandasová
Project period: 2018–2022
This joint project between the National Museum, the National Heritage Institute and the NL CR is based on the previous experience of the individual parties with regard to research into the issue of book provenance. The project’s objective is to virtually reconstruct dispersed collections of Czech provenance in local and international libraries and to perform other activities associated with the popularisation of our book culture.
The main joint work realised by the researchers in 2022 was the Metodika průzkumu, revize a pasportizace historického knižního fondu [Methodology for the research, review and inventory of a historical book collection]. The researchers also contributed to the Krása šlechtických exlibris a supralibros [Beauty of aristocratic ex libris and supralibros] exhibition which was held at the State Château in Konopiště. The exhibition and critical catalogue summarised the results of the provenance research in a series of book collection. Work also continued on the collection research and the mapping of the provenance symbols in the collections of the Manuscript and Early Printed Books Department - the Bibliotheca nationalis collection. Approximately 1,800 volumes from shelfmark series 50 (Historia profana nationalis), 51 (Historia sacra nationalis) and 52 (Rhetorica et poesis nationalis) were processed. The conclusions of the research to date were presented by means of the Srdce knihovny: Bibliotheca nationalis [Heart of the Library: Bibliotheca nationalis] virtual exhibition, which was released on 6.2.2022 and is available online at The exhibition’s content is divided into three parts: part one focusses on the circumstances surrounding the establishment of today’s National Library in 1777, the establishment of the Bibliotheca nationalis collection and the figure of its founder, Karel Rafael Ungar. The second chapter, which is introduced with an animation, focusses on the individual elements in early printed books and manuscripts and is accompanied by extensive authentic pictorial material. The concluding third chapter presents significant book owners. Another segment of the work involves the creation of authority records for the national authority database, from whence they are subsequently imported into the Provenio database. They are created as both personal and corporate records. The systematic supplementation of the authority records with photographic documentation continued in 2022. 68 new records of personal authorities were implemented in the Provenio database. The consultation with supervisors continued. A summary of the existing research into the movements of book collections as a consequence of the Second World War was presented at the 30th Bibliotheca Antiqua librarian conference held in Olomouc on 8–9 November 2022. Marcela Sulženko’s paper on Ohlédnutí za výzkumem transferu knižních celků [A look at the research into book collection transfers] focussed on the specific features of this research in the environment of post-war Czechoslovakia, the records of the book units at the NL CR and the option of other research and inter-institutional cooperation. The paper entitled Ohlédnutí za výzkumem transferu knižních celků v důsledku 2. světové války v Národní knihovně České republiky a jeho další možnosti [A look at the research into book collection transfers as a consequence of the 2nd World War at the National Library of the Czech Republic and its further options] was published in the conference anthology.

The development of a centralised interface for mining large amounts of data from web archives
Grant recipient: the National Library of the Czech Republic
Project leader: Mgr. Marie Haškovcová
Project period: 2018–2022
The final year of the five-year research project was mainly focussed on finalising the planned outputs. In 2022, the research team consisting of employees from the NL CR, the Sociological Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen dedicated itself to completing the implementation of the software tools – the user interface and export application – and also the presentation of their use in applied science outputs presented in peer reviewed articles. The project’s most significant output is the user interface called WACloud: Centralizované rozhraní pro vytěžování velkých dat z webového archivu [WACloud: A centralised interface for data mining from a web archive], which was developed as verified (Ztech) technology and is accessible in the NL CR Reference Centre. It uses advanced machine processing procedures and approaches based on deep neural networks and as such enables researchers to work with the data that is archived in the Webarchive. The use of full text and faceted browsing enables datasets to be defined for further research, which provides new options for their analysis. Given the fact that it has been developed as open-source software, other institutions archive web data can also use it. The export application has also been created as open-source software. The developed tools were presented to the expert public by means of presentations at several conferences (Bibliothekskongress Leipzig 2022 in Leipzig, ILIDE – Innovative Library In Digital Era 2022 in Jasná, Slovakia and Archives, Libraries, Museums in the Digital World in Prague). Researchers were able to work with the tool and try it out under practical circumstances at the Data webových archivů a možnosti jejich využití [Web archive data and the options for its use] thematic workshop organised by the NL CR. In addition, the members of the research teams dedicated themselves to publishing expert articles about the issue of web data and the developed tool in magazines with an impact factor. The texts Percepce souvislostí pandemie covid-19 a klimatické změny v české blogosféře [The Perception of the connections between the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change in the Czech blogosphere] (D. Čermák, J. Stachová, M. Pilnáček) and Fenomén #scicomm: využití big data a jejich analýzy při sledování komunikace vědy na internetových stránkách českých výzkumných organizací [The #scicomm phenomenon: the use of big data and the analysis thereof during the monitoring of science communication on the websites of Czech research organisations](P. Raudenská, R. Topinková) were published in the Czech Sociological Review. M. Šimon’s study Fantomové hranice jako zdroje dat pro porozumění volbám [The phantom border as a data source for understanding choices] was published in Geografické rozhledy and the text Internet jako pramen výzkumu: přístup k archivovaným webovým zdrojům a možnosti jejich zpracování [The internet as a research source: access to archived web sources and the options for processing them](Z. Vozár, M. Haškovcová, A. Prokopová) was published in the Theory of Science magazine. In 2022, a legal expert also compiled a final analysis evaluating the development and the current state of the legal environment with regard to the provision of data which has an impact on the option of using datasets.

The use of display methods to study hidden information in books
Grant recipient: the National Library of the Czech Republic
Project leader: Ing. Petra Vávrová, Ph.D.
Project period: 2018–2022
The project’s objective involves specialised research undertaken in the extensive book collections focused on the hidden information contained in books and bindings, the reading of invisible texts, rendering usually invisible details visible and so on. The project’s focal point in 2022 involved the finalisation of its main results - mainly the exhibition entitled Tajemství knih [The Secrets of Books] with a critical catalogue, which was held in the corridors of the Clementinum on 2.6.-3.9.2022. The exhibition, which presented the results of expert research into manuscripts and printed books using special recording equipment, light sources and x-rays, focussed on examples of hidden elements in books and the visualisation of invisible information for the naked eye. It described the individual methods, including a critical evaluation of their options and limitations. The exhibition was also viewed by the delegates to the international ICOM general conference and the English texts in the QR codes on the panels enabled the foreign visitors to become acquainted with the project and its results. An expert workshop entitled Využití zobrazovacích metod pro studium skrytých informací v knihách [The use of depiction methods to study hidden information in books] was held at the depository in Hostivař on 13.10.2022. Books that were expected to include secondarily used materials or fragments of vanished or removed texts were sought out in the SL, but also newly in the NL CR music collections. The research focusses on the oldest copies in the collection and on documents where there is an increased need to search for signs of provenance or information about the owner or user of the given copy. The efficiency of the individual depiction techniques (a video spectral comparator, radiography) was tested on samples, as well as on real specimens of book bindings. The selected methods were tested for the purpose of verifying their safety for the book collection materials and whether they would cause them any damage. Further tests were undertaken on examples of watermarks and the knowledge gained on the properties of paper and forms were summarised. The specific results acquired by using the depiction methods, specifically radiography for the depiction of any hidden information in the book bindings, were presented at a number of events. The pictorial output of the depiction methods and their graphic processing were also evaluated throughout the course of the year. Graphic modifications are used to perform the most detailed research into the images acquired from the devices designated for the research and for testing the materials in the NL CR book collection, which are important from the point of view of scientific research, material analysis and restoration research. An expert article was published about these graphic modifications as a project result.

The new phonograph: let us listen to the sound of history. The creation of procedures and tools for records, digitisation, the provision of access and the long-term protection of audio records on historical media held at memory institutions
Grant recipient: The National Museum
Project leader: Filip Šír, DiS, the National Museum
Responsible individual on behalf of the NL CR: Mgr. Zuzana Petrášková
Project period: 2018–2022 (for the NL CR 2018–2020)
Four institutions participated in the project: the National Museum, NL CR, LCAS and the Faculty of Arts at Masaryk University. The participation of the NL CR in this project was no longer financially supported in 2022 based on the contract. However, contact with the researchers continued. The study on the collection of historical audio documents stored at the NL CR has been completed. It will be published in the Fontes Artis Musicae magazine.

The research and development of advanced book and manuscript cleaning technologies
Grant recipient: the Czech Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals
Project leader: Ing. Jiří Smolík, CSc., the CAS Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals
Responsible individual on behalf of the NL CR: Ing. Petra Vávrová, Ph.D.
Project period: 2018–2022

The project was part of a cooperation agreement with the laboratory at the Department of Chemistry and the Physics of Aerosols and the Department of Laser Chemistry at the CAS Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals. The project’s objective was to create new procedures that can be used when restoring book and archive collections, specifically laser cleaning and the pneumatic cleaning of document surfaces using a dual-phase spray. These newly developed methods have the potential to become a suitable alternative to traditionally used procedures. The objective of the culminating project was research into new methods for cleaning the surfaces of archive objects that have become soiled with fine particles, nanoparticles and other types of soiling. This is especially important, because the fine dust particles and nanoparticles present in the depositories make the biggest contribution to the degradation of the book and archive collections. The development of a methodology for cleaning using both procedures was undertaken using various types of book and archive materials which had already been used in previous studies. This involves materials based on cellulose (Whatman 1 filtration paper, handmade paper from Velké Losiny and industrially produced lignin-containing paper dating from 1960) and collagen materials (binding parchment and tannin-treated binding leather), which will be soiled with real dust either through long-term exposure in selective archives or mechanically. Both techniques will also be used to clean book materials that have become soiled by means of an increase in micro-organisms and the effects of natural disasters (floods, fires), where difficult to remove traces, such as mould or coloured stains, have remained on the surface of the materials. The work in 2022 mainly resulted in the approval of the two methodologies and the organisation of a conference and the project workshop. In the previous years, two utility models were completed, one of which exceeded the framework of the planned results, and three articles were published in specialist periodicals. At present, the last of the planned results is undergoing the assessment process, namely the Linka pro čištění knihovních a archivních fondů pomocí pulzního infračerveného TEA CO2 laseru [Line for cleaning book and archive collections using a pulsed infra-red TEA CO2 laser]. A project website providing access to all the results has been created at and on the NL CR website

DL4DH – The development of tools for the more effective use and mining of data from digital libraries in order to reinforce research in the digital humanities
Grant recipient: the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Project period: 2020–2022
Project leader: Ing. Magdaléna Vecková, LCAS
Responsible individual on behalf of the NL CR: Mgr. Zdenko Vozár
2022 was the last year of the DL4DH research project, in which the members of the research team mainly focussed on completing the Kramerius+, TEI Convertor and DL4DH Feeder software, which had been developed throughout the three years of the project. The Kramerius+ database has mainly been designed for the curators and administrators of digital libraries and it is used for storing the enhanced text data and metadata found in the Kramerius system. The TEI Convertor is a tool that can be used to convert enhanced data into the TEI format, which is one of the formats that is frequently used by scientists from the digital humanities. The last tool known as the DL4DH Feeder is a web client that provides users with access to enhanced data.
All of these tools were tuned and tested at regular research team meetings with the supplier company in 2022 in order to ensure that they function correctly. The testing environment for Kramerius+ and the DL4DH Feeder was created on the NL servers. The certified Metodika přípravy dat z digitálních knihoven pro využití v digitálních humanitních vědách [Methodology for preparing data from digital libraries for use in the digital humanities] was also prepared in direct association with these steps with contributions from the members of all the participating organisations. The methodology not only contains a general summary of the issues surrounding the use of digital data in the humanities, but also presents the aforementioned tools and their potential implementation in other digital libraries. This document also included the creation of use cases, i.e. research questions from the individual fields of the humanities representing practical options for working with the developed tools. One of the use cases, which was compiled by the members of the research team from the NL CR involved a literary map of the links between meanings relevant to religious studies, which was published on the website under the name Religionistická mapa literárních významů: Citace Bible v prvorepublikovém tisku [A religious studies map of literary meanings: Bible quotes in the First Republic press]. This extensive use case represents the conclusions of a case study focussed on the detection of biblical quotes in the First Republic period press between 1925 and 1939. The results have been presented using interactive network graphs that serve as an explorative virtual religious studies map of literary meanings that presents the presence of biblical quotations in the public Czech language environment using descriptive statistics and network analysis. Curator’s collections were also created at the NL CR, the contents of which were defined in the first year of the project. These collections were completed this year and contain both the digitisation itself and the final inspection of the contents of individual selected titles. As such, new collections entitled Český místopis [Czech toponymy], Spiritistická literatura v Čechách v letech 1870–1945 [Spiritualist literature in Bohemia in 1870-1945], Česká esoterická literatura v letech 1870–1950 [Czech esoteric literature in 1870-1950] and Zednářská literatura v Čechách v letech 1870–1950 [Masonic literature in Bohemia in 1870-1950] were created at the NL CR and can now serve the needs of users in any further research. At the end of 2022, a conference was also held with the name Vytěžování obsahu digitálních knihoven pro výzkum v humanitních vědách [Mining the contents of digital libraries for research in the humanities], which also presented the practical uses of the tools developed under the DL4DH project, amongst other things.

Czech book illustrations in the early Modern Age
Grant recipient: The National Library of the Czech Republic
Provider: the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic
Project leader: Mgr. Vojtěch Šícha, the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Researcher on behalf of the NL CR: Mgr. Lucie Heilandová, Ph.D.
Project period: 2021–2023
The project has been realised by a team of specialists from the LCAS, NL CR and the inQool technology company. The objective ( is to provide access to pictorial material located in old printed works published in the Czech lands up to the second half of the 16th century and in doing so to create a virtual research environment for the study of book illustrations with the help of new digital tools that provide a new view of the visual and material culture of the early Modern Age in the Czech lands. The prepared online database will enable a comparison of the pictorial material and offer a pleasant research environment, thanks to which researchers will be able to monitor, for example, woodcut block production, its use, copying and circulation, the sources of inspiration for its production or the occurrence of any iconographic motifs and the transformation of any artistic styles within the framework of the entire Czech printed output up until the mid-16th century. In 2022, the work on processing the pictorial material located in thousands of Czech printed works from up to the mid-16th century located in both the NL CR collections and those of other memory institutions (for example the Olomouc Research Library, the National Museum, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek and the Universitätsbibliothek der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) continued. During cataloguing, emphasis has not only been placed on recording all the information about the origins (information about the author, the printer, the creator of the woodcut, the illustrator or the designer or about the source of inspiration), but especially on the actual description (the description using the nominal and material national authorities has been expanded with an index of keywords), which is regularly supplemented by means of a description according to the ICONCASS international classification system. The catalogue record also includes a pictorial annex (a picture of the entire page and a segment with the described illustration), which is essential when working with pictures and will be further used to create a virtual environment. The data has been presented within the framework of the Knihově portal, which unites the Czech Knihopis and Bibliografii cizojazyčných tisků national retrospective bibliographies. International cooperation was established from the very beginning; the online database will use the digital tools developed by the external project partner, the Visual Geometry Group from the University of Oxford, while the provision of access to the pictorial material has been consulted with members of Digital Humanities Oxford, who have long been involved in dealing with this issue. The fact that the data has been expanded to include a description using the ICONCLASS classification system has opened up the option of connecting our data with the Arkyves system.

Jul 10, 2023
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