The Department of New Information Technologies in Chisinau (recently re-organised and re-named the Ministry of Information Development) is responsible for state strategies on the “Information Society”.
Modernisation of cultural institutions and digitisation in the arts and culture field is one of the objectives of the National Strategy for the Development of Culture of the Republic of Moldova / Culture 2020 which aims to ensure real and virtual circulation of the cultural product. The specific objective of the Strategy is the creation of virtual networks of cultural institutions and products, so that by 2020 all categories of cultural heritage, including collections of museums and libraries will be digitised, while the information system of the cultural field becomes operational.
The priority actions of the Strategy are:
- technical rehabilitation and modernisation of cultural institutions;
- digitisation of the cultural heritage;
- formation of a single information system in the cultural field;
- formation of the National Virtual Museum;
- digitisation of library resources and ensuring a network for digital inter-library loans;
- forming a Virtual Library;
- creation of e-services in the field of culture; and
- training of employees of cultural institutions in information technologies.
In 2012 the National Programme for the informatisation of the sphere of culture for 2012-2020 was approved; the Programme objective being 75% digitisation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the Republic of Moldova by 2020. Another document containing provisions on culture is the National Strategy on Information Society E-Moldova. The National Programme for the informatisation of the sphere of culture for 2012-2020 foresees “creating infrastructure and cultural information spaces necessary for the provision of electronic services in cultural field” by (i) implementation of e-government in the central office of the Ministry of Culture and subordinated institutions (ii) digitisation of cultural heritage at 75%, (iii) ensuring book digitisation in public libraries, (iv) creation of online public cultural services, and (v) creating web pages for the cultural institutions. Both documents were not implemented due to lack of financial resources, lack of equipment and specialists, etc. Digitisation of cultural heritage and the information system “E-Heritage” registered modest results and basically remained only on paper. In 2012, no resources were allocated to achieve the objectives of the Informatisation Programme. In these circumstances, the digitisation of museum pieces and books is funded from the resources of the subordinated institutions, which have started implementing programmes of electronic evidence of the museum heritage and forming databases on movable cultural property owned by the national museums. In 2012, 1 000 books were digitised at the National Library (collection of “Old and Rare Books” and the collection of “Old national periodicals”); 100 000 pieces included in the electronic database of the National Museum of History and Archaeology of the Republic of Moldova; while in the electronic database of the National Museum of Art 2518 works were included; the electronic database of the National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History introduced 417 analytical cards, 5 440 photo images, 52 videos, 270 recorded carols and 14 sheets of photographic negatives. The digitisation occurs in the absence of common software for all institutions, which will make it difficult to compile the materials in a single platform. 80% of the museums in the regions are not equipped with computers and technical equipment, which hinders the process of digitisation of their heritage. Currently there is no electronic archive and a unique modern programme for computerised evidence of museum heritage. Currently only 11% of museum heritage objects is digitised, while the number of online objects from the national material / immaterial, mobile / immovable heritage is very low.
As for digitizing library collections and their inclusion in the international database, 53 000 MDL were planned (159 000 MDL for 2012-2014) for the digitisation of tens of thousands of documents annually. Because libraries in the regions do not have computers or access to the Internet, the targets are unachievable. In 9 months of 2012 the National Library digitised 1 000 books, and in 2011 – 2 600 books, which were included in the database Moldavica and into the European Library, which is an integrated system of 41 European libraries.
Museums subordinated to the Ministry of Culture have their own web pages. A positive example of propagation in the field of intangible cultural heritage is the Intangible Cultural Heritage site, made by National Museum of Ethnography and Natural History. The website includes intangible cultural heritage included in UNESCO List, in the National Register of Intangible Heritage, with explanatory texts, photos and video files. In total there are over 5 000 images and photographs of different elements of intangible heritage.
An example of promoting immovable cultural heritage through information technologies is the application “E-Heritage” created by the Agency of Inspection and Restoration of Monuments on the platform http://www.geoportal.md, which offers online data of over 1 000 monuments from the immovable heritage of the Republic of Moldova. In the same context an invaluable contribution to research and promotion of the architectural heritage of Chisinau municipality represents the online platform http://www.monument.sit.md, launched by the Association “SIT”.
Improving of informatics began earlier due to the initiative of the Soros Foundation in Moldova. Specific support schemes in the cultural sector are also due to the work of this foundation. Thus, the National Library, the National Children’s Library, the university and scientific libraries were equipped with hardware and software (Integrated Library System TINLIB). More recently, SFM has supported special databases at the Academy of Theatre, Music and Fine Arts.
The Novateca Programme funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a successful programme that facilitates transformation of libraries in the Republic of Moldova into the vibrant community institutions. To achieve the objectives, the Programme focuses on four main areas of activity: equipping libraries with modern technologies, training librarians, collaboration with local and central public authorities to support public libraries as community development centres, cooperation with civil society and the private sector to raise awareness of the public and institutions regarding modernisation of libraries. All activities of the Novateca Programme support the development of librarians – leaders in innovation of library services and modernisation of libraries at the local, regional and national levels. Novateca will equip libraries with computers, selecting libraries on a competitive basis, will purchase equipment for libraries and will develop a sustainable system of IT support for the libraries.
In 2009 the activity of the state company Moldova-Film was re-animated, after many years of stagnation. The re-animation of the activity of Moldova-film became possible after the digitalisation of the cinematographic equipment in 2008, which also allowed the restoration of cinematographic material from the archives.
Currently, the archives of Moldova-film are used in the production of a series of documentaries about the 23 years period since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a co-production with Germany. Another project in work is the documentary about the deportations that took place in Bessarabia in mid XX, a co-production with Romania.
In June 2011 the Government of Moldova approved a draft law on bringing back to the country 30 Moldovan films, the original of which had been transferred during soviet times to Ukraine for copying. These films are Moldovan productions which, for various reasons, from the early 1990s, were sent to the Cinematographic Centre “A. Dovjenco”, and so far, could not be restored to the country. Thus, that is an act of returning the national cultural heritage.