Since early 2000s, digitalisation has been a policy priority for the national Ministry after the realisation that Serbia didn’t keep up with the pace of the rest of Europe during the nineties. A national centre for digitalisation has been founded together with many national and international projects. These efforts increased further in recent years. In 2014, the Ministry opened a special department for the coordination of digitalisation efforts of many cultural institutions and joined an international platform for digitalization under the support of the Council of Europe in order to create conditions for the dispersed digitalisation efforts in Serbia to be more coherent and effective. In 2016, an expert commission has been set up within the Ministry devoted to foster digitalisation efforts. The Minister has also appointed his deputy for the “development of digital research infrastructure in the field of arts and culture”, who has the task of coordinating the myriad of efforts across institutions and departments who deal with digitalisation.
In September 2017, the Ministry published a guidebook for the digitalisation of arts and heritage including the terminology and the description of main processes, technologies and procedures. In the same year, the Ministry has signed a Memorandum of cooperation with the national mobile operator Telekom and the Mathematical institute of the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts which foresees the creation of a central database with mobile application access to it, as well as a central space devoted to recording and the digitising of movable cultural heritage objects. The Ministry also supported numerous conferences, workshops and gatherings for cultural workers, including the Regional Symposium on Digitalisation of Film and Television Archives (in 2017 and 2018) and an International workshop on digitalisation of cultural heritage in 2018.
Special calls for projects on the digitalization of cultural heritage are now published yearly. In 2018, 61 projects were supported by various holders including individual artists, civil society organisations, public cultural and educational institutions and churches. In total, 41million RSD (app. 350.000 EUR) was awarded with individual projects receiving 4 to 10 thousand EUR. Compared to other calls for projects, this shows a serious commitment of the Ministry to foster digitalisation efforts.
Some municipalities have joined this trend: the city of Svilajnac helped the Natural centre of Serbia that was founded there ten years ago to digitalise its fund and prepare multimedia presentation (data base, interface and web presentation for public use).
Many other actors have also played an important role in the digitalisation process, with many museums, Institutes for protection and University departments taking part. In Novi Sad, a devoted platform has been created (bbns.rs) to present local cultural heritage. However, there is a campaign to unite various projects into a single centralised platform.