General Assessment of the Situation of Archives in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Report by George MacKenzie
Table of contents
GENERAL REPORT ON THE ARCHIVES OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
DETAILED REPORT ON INDIVIDUAL ARCHIVES
CENSUS OF RECORD CREATING AGENCIES
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The mission had three main elements: a survey of
the condition of the national and regional archive services in
Bosnia and Herzegovina, preliminary work on a project to carry
out a census of record creating agencies, and the convening of
a meeting of the archive directors from throughout Bosnia and
Herzegovina to discuss problems and priorities for further action.
Although direct damage to archive material from the
war in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been relatively limited, indirect
damage to archive material and to archive services has been considerable:
war damaged buildings are no longer able to protect archives from
damp; staff losses are preventing archive services from functioning
properly; lack of access to spare parts or repair services has
led to a chronic shortage of even basic equipment; the breakdown
in infrastructure has left many archives without running water,
heating systems or full electricity supplies; and 4 years of communication
disruption have left archivists isolated from professional colleagues
at home and abroad.
The present report and the report prepared by UNESCO
in 1995 analyze conditions in the archive services in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. They do not, however, cover records not yet transmitted
to the archives. Anecdotal evidence suggests that archive material
of considerable national and international interest, including
records of vital events, land ownership and older historical records
from the Austro-Hungarian period, is at risk in the many thousands
of record creating agencies. There is also evidence of displacement
of such material both from the war and consequent population movements,
and from the re-drawing of political boundaries, which may have
left archives in a different jurisdiction from the communities
which created them. In order to deal with this problem, a project
for a census of record creating agencies has been planned, to
be carried out by the archive staffs themselves, both in the Federation
of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Republika Srpska. This project
will take several months of work and will require outside funding.
A meeting of the archive directors was held in Sarajevo
in order to discuss common problems and agree priorities for future
action. Although the directors from Republika Srpska (Banja Luka,
Doboj and Foca) were unable to attend, the holding of the meeting
was the first step towards rebuilding the network of professional
contacts for the archive staffs.
In addition to the census project, the report makes
recommendations on other priorities for external aid for the archive
services, taking account both of the observed conditions, and
the needs identified by the archive directors.
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1. The mission, which was carried out from 15 to
26 May 1996, was a follow-up to the UNESCO mission organized in
February 1995 to assess the situation of the archives in Sarajevo
and Mostar. The present mission visited those regional archives
that were previously inaccessible (Banja Luka, Bihac, Doboj, Foca,
Travnik and Tuzla). A detailed itinerary is given in annex 1
and a list of persons consulted in annex2.
2. The terms of reference of the mission were:
- assess the situation of the main archives in
towns to which travel is reasonably possible, including Sarajevo,
Mostar, Travnik, Bihac, Doboj, Banja Luka and Foca covering: the
application of national archival legislation, holdings, staffing
levels, the general state of preservation of the holdings, and
the condition of buildings and services (decisions on which towns
to visit will be taken in close co-operation with the UNESCO Office
- prepare, in close co-operation with the central
archival administration of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
a comprehensive list of all public record creating agencies which
existed before 1991, indicating their current status, and based
on this, plan for a comprehensive census of record holdings in
- organize a meeting of the Directors of the central
archives, to be held in presence of the expert in order to assist
in the re-establishment of professional exchanges at national
level and to plan the general census of agency record holdings.
3. The Director and the Deputy Director of the National
Archives in Sarajevo accompanied the consultant on the visits
to Tuzla, Travnik and Bihac. The UNESCO Representative in Bosnia
and Herzegovina accompanied the consultant on the visits to Doboj
4. Travel within Bosnia and Herzegovina, including
to Republika Srpska, was arranged by the UNESCO Office, Sarajevo,
without whose assistance this mission would not have been possible.
Thanks are also due to the staff of all the regional archives
visited and of the National Archives in Sarajevo, for their assistance
and co-operation with the mission.
5. A report on the project for a census of record
creating agencies is given in Chapter 4 of
6. The meeting of the archive directors was held
in Sarajevo on 25 May. A report on the meeting is given in Chapter 5
of this report.
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GENERAL REPORT ON ARCHIVES IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
7. To aid in the gathering of information,
a questionnaire was prepared in advance and sent, via UNESCO,
to the National Archives, which translated and circulated it to
all the regional archives. A copy of the questionnaire is included
as annex 3. The form was completed by the consultant during each
visit. All sections of the questionnaire proved to be valuable;
the section concerning qualifications required was amended to
distinguish different levels of qualification.
8. Two reference works were found useful: Arhivski
Fondovi i Zbirke u Sfrj : Bosna i Hercegovina (1981), and
Vladimir Jeric, Standardi i Normativi za Arhivsku Djelatnost
Bosne i Hercegovine (Sarajevo 1991). The first gives details
of archive fonds and collections in the regional and national
archives and provides a baseline, though it is out of date; the
second gives details of the quantities of record, staffing and
equipment in the archives just before the war.
9. Staff numbers have dropped sharply
since the war, with a net reduction from 159 to 93, or just under
42%. The reduction has been the same for qualified and non-qualified
staff. The worst affected service has been Foca (now known as
Srbinje), where numbers fell from 7 to 2. Least affected was Banja
Luka, where numbers fell from 23 to 18. In some cases the net
reductions conceal an even larger turnover in staff. In Mostar,
for example, 6 new staff have joined since early 1995, and now
represent over half the total. The effects of the staff reductions
has been to reduce the services carried out by the archives, and
in particular their ability to inspect records in the creating
10. A number of the archive directors pointed out
that one of the reasons staff losses have not been made up is
the difficulty of recruiting and retaining staff, especially younger
ones. This is not only because of low salaries, but because there
is little apparent future in archives and no training opportunities
exist. Following discussions with the archive directors, the consultant
believes that the provision of equipment such as PCs and of training
opportunities will not only have a direct beneficial effect on
the functioning of the archive services, but will also help to
improve staff morale and through this, the recruitment and retention
c) Physical State of Archive Collections
11. With the exception of archive collections
in the Oriental Institute in Sarajevo, which were totally destroyed,
direct damage to archive materials from the war was limited. Among
the worst affected were Mostar, where approximately 10% or around
200 linear metres were destroyed, and Sarajevo, where 50 linear
metres were destroyed and an additional 80 linear metres seriously
damaged. There were also serious losses of up to 200 linear metres
of records evacuated from Tuzla and some damage was reported at
Bihac. The estimated total of archives destroyed and seriously
damaged in the war is around 1,000 linear metres.
12. A number of archive buildings in the
country are in a poor condition, many because of the war conditions.
In the Sarajevo Regional (City) Archives and in the archives of
Travnik there are storage rooms with water standing on the floors
to 1 or 2 cms depth, and excessive humidity. Unless urgent steps
are taken to stabilize the environment, there will be serious
loss of archive material. In Sarajevo around 500 linear metres
of records are threatened. In Bihac, the storage building, which
is 5 kms from the archive offices, is reported to be structurally
unsafe. In other archives, the buildings are in a reasonable,
but far from ideal condition and most require at least minor repair
if they are to offer the protection needed by unique archive collections.
This is true even of the newly converted building in Tuzla.
13. The priorities for buildings are:
- repair of roofs, gutters and rainwater drains
- installation or repair of effective damp proofing
- repair of external window glass
- repair of internal plumbing systems and restoration
of water supplies
- repair of electrical systems first to offices
and then to storage rooms
- repair of heating systems, to avoid use of solid
14. It is essential for each archive to establish,
in conjunction with the local administration, a long-term strategy
for housing the holdings and to identify the building or buildings
to be used, the need for repairs or refurbishment, and fields
of possible international assistance. UNESCO has offered to assist
in the establishment of project profiles for building projects.
It is recommended that this offer is taken up, through the UNESCO
Office, Sarajevo, and that it concentrates initially on the worst
15. It is also recommended that the local administrations
in the other regional centres be approached to ensure that minor
maintenance is carried out.
e) Preservation Measures
16. In all archives there is a need for
more boxing of collections, and for more and better shelving.
The local pattern of fascula or folder, with top, bottom and ends,
fastened at the sides with tapes, gives some protection, but not
as much as a full archive box. Even the poorer quality of archive
box gives a reasonable degree of protection. The problems were
well illustrated in the storage building at Bihac, where records
were removed from steel shelves by the army and piled on the floor.
Many of the folders buckled and split open and individual files
and papers have become mixed together. Had the collection been
in proper storage boxes, the degree of mixing would have been
far less. The value of boxes as a first line of protection for
archives cannot be underestimated. It is recommended that in each
archive, calculations are made of the numbers and sizes of boxes
required, and that plans are made to progressively box or re-box
the holdings. Efforts to obtain suitable boxes can then be more
easily directed, either within the country if this is possible,
or with external aid.
17. A pattern of large aluminium storage box was
seen in the National Archives in Sarajevo and in the archives
in Tuzla and Travnik. This has a hinged, rubber sealed lid and
holds about as much as 4 standard storage boxes. It is waterproof
and fire resistant. It has shown itself highly effective in preserving
records in damp and difficult conditions. The box not only protects,
but makes moving records much easier. It would be highly effective
to increase the usage of this pattern of box, to cover all the
most valuable archive materials, though it is recognized that
this would be expensive. It is recommended that each archive prepare
lists of its most valuable material and that these are then used
to seek external funding to obtain additional protective boxes.
18. Conservation refers to physical intervention
on archival materials to halt damage to them or to make them usable,
or both. There are no facilities for the conservation of archival
materials in Bosnia and Herzegovina at present. The 1995 mission
reported that the national archives possessed some redundant and
non-functioning equipment and that simple laminating equipment
had once been in use in Mostar and there are no staff with skills.
The 1996 visits revealed that no facilities exist elsewhere.
19. The proposal to set up conservation facilities
in Sarajevo was considered in the 1995 report and the consultant
remains sympathetic to this idea, particularly as a central facility
for the rest of the country.
20. The first phase is to train a member of staff
abroad in basic conservation principles and techniques. The location
and timing of this training remains to be established; there are
training possibilities in Vienna and Zagreb, where the directors
of the National Archives have indicated that they may be able
to help. The minimum time needed would be around 3 months.
21. The following list broadly indicates the range
of subjects to be covered by the training; a detailed syllabus
needs to be developed by conservation specialists, in the light
of the trainees' aptitudes:
- principles of conservation (minimum intervention,
reversibility, visibility or repair etc.)
- role of preventive preservation, re-formatting
and direct conservation
- effects of light, temperature and humidity and
how to control them
- handling techniques
- simple exhibition mounting
- manufacture of simple protective housings
- non-aqueous and aqueous cleaning
- acidity and deacidification
- traditional paper repairs
- simple binding repairs
22. Once the training has been completed, the staff
member should be provided with basic tools and materials for carrying
out the techniques learnt on their return to Sarajevo. One member
of staff is ready to go abroad for training now and it is recommended
that initial offers from Vienna and Zagreb are followed up as
soon as possible. This phase could be repeated with other staff
members. The cost will be ca. USD 5,000 for the training period
and USD 5,000 for basic tools and supplies on return.
23. The second phase is to organize an expert mission
to report in detail on the conservation equipment requirements
for the National Archives in Sarajevo and to produce a plan and
budget for meeting them. Ideally, this plan should be phased over
a period of 2 or more years, to allow staff to cope with the new
equipment and to give time for more extensive training abroad.
The cost of this phase will be ca. USD 5,000 for the expert mission.
24. The third phase is to install the equipment identified
in the second phase and to train a number of other staff in its
use. This will require a combination of sending local staff abroad
and bringing outside experts in. The former allows more thorough
training, the latter is more cost effective. The cost of equipment
will depend on the results of phase 2, but a budget of ca. USD
75,000 should be aimed at. The cost of training and support may
add a further USD 25,000.
25. It will be essential, before major conservation
equipment is installed, that assurances are given by the responsible
authority that the accommodation for it will remain in the archives
possession in the long term, and that the basic services, especially
water supplies and drainage, are in good working order.
26. The 1995 report recommended that microfilm
facilities be set up in Sarajevo and Mostar, and that a programme
of filming the most valuable archive material be started. The
1996 mission confirmed that this was still an important priority.
It also concluded that Tuzla should be added to the list, as the
building there has good infrastructure in the form of purpose
designed accommodation for a film laboratory. In view of this,
and the development of central conservation facilities in Sarajevo,
consideration could be given to starting with microfilm facilities
in Tuzla, and then installing them in Sarajevo and Mostar.
27. The same stipulation regarding accommodation
and basic services applies to microfilm facilities as to conservation.
It is recommended that, before any equipment is purchased, a microfilm
expert visits the existing facilities, to examine whether the
existing equipment can be repaired, and whether accommodation
and services are suitable. Such an initial visit would cost ca.USD
28. To set up a complete microfilm laboratory would
cost ca. USD 50,000 (one camera) and ca. USD 75,000 (two cameras).
The cost of a second centre would be identical. A network of laboratories
in Sarajevo, Mostar and Tuzla would therefore cost ca. USD 150,000
- USD 200,000. This would include basic training, but an additional
sum should be allocated for additional training and for servicing
and support in the first 2 years. Any building or plumbing work
necessary would require additional funds.
30. It is strongly recommended that the introduction
of microfilm laboratories be phased, so that lessons learnt in
one centre can be applied before a second or third centre is opened.
31. There are personnel with microfilm expertise
in the National Archives in Sarajevo who should form the core
of the personnel for the new centre or centres. Together with
on the spot training by the technicians installing the equipment,
this should be sufficient to start the service. However, there
would be advantages in extending staff knowledge, and consideration
should be given, after about 6 months, to sending staff abroad,
for example to Zagreb, to consult with, and learn from colleagues
there. Assistance in microfilm training has, in principle, been
offered by the National Archives of Croatia.
h) Basic Equipment
32. All archives had at least one operational
typewriter and with the exception of the archives of Bihac, all
had at least one working telephone. None had a working photocopier,
and only the National Archives had a fax machine. There were no
computers except one in the National Archives, which was the personal
property of a member of staff.
33. It is recommended that the provision of basic
equipment, including a PC and printer, a photocopier and a fax
machine for each regional archives, be included in an externally
funded project. This might be either a separate project, or linked
to the census of record creating agencies, which would be difficult
without such equipment. Training and support would require to
be provided for the equipment. In view of the erratic power supplies,
simple equipment to protect against power fluctuations should
be included. Provision of fax equipment would require a functioning
34. There are no training facilities for
archive or related staff in Bosnia and Herzegovina. An archive
school (teaching archives and records management at secondary
school level) in Banja Luka is now closed. In the short term,
the establishment of training courses for archive staff and for
staff in the registraturas or registries of record creating
agencies would be extremely valuable and could be linked into
the census of record creating agencies.
35. At the meeting of directors on 25 May 1996, the
Director of the National Archives proposed a 3 level training
programme. The consultant is sympathetic to this proposal, and
recommends the following:
- Training for staff in conservation and microfilming
should be sought abroad, as recommended above;
- General archival training for existing and new
staff at all levels should be arranged in short modules of 1 to
2 weeks. This should be largely organized and led by local staff,
with occasional participation of foreign experts; external aid
will be required to fund this.
- Training of staff in the registraturas
should be carried out by archive staff in short courses of 3 to
5 days, possibly linked to the census.
- Funding opportunities should be sought to enable
archive staff to participate in international meetings.
- Regular meetings of archive staff throughout
the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska
should be arranged, initially in the context of the census, and
using UNESCO as facilitator
36. Language skills are an important factor in any
training initiative involving foreign experts. The number of archive
staff with foreign language skills is limited and therefore training
initiatives will have to rely on colleagues from the region. In
view of this, it is also recommended that the archives promote
the development of foreign language skills among their staff.
37. The establishment of adequate legislation
is one of the most pressing problems identified during the mission.
On the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the archive services continue to operate under legislation passed
in 1987. New legislation was drafted in conjunction with the Ministry
of Culture of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it
has not yet been enacted. In the Republika Srpska, the 1987 legislation
is also considered in force, but it has been amended by further
38. The question is made more complex by the transfer
of archives and libraries to the Ministries of Culture of the
new Cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This
means that each Canton will have to enact its own archive legislation.
This is essential, not only for the historical records already
in the possession of the archives, but also for the records that
will be passed to the archives in future, and for the Cantons'
own records. The Cantons cannot function as democratic units of
administration until they have made provision for the preservation
and eventual public right of access to their own records. The
consultant brought this matter to the attention of the Ministers
of Culture in two of the Cantons visited during the mission and
also discussed the issue with the Secretary of the Ministry of
Culture of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. However,
it may require decisions by the central government in order to
ensure the establishment of an adequate legal framework. It is
recommended that the Ministry of Culture of the Federation, in
association with the Ministry of Justice, urgently reviews the
situation and provides guidance and advice to the Cantons.
39. The role of the National Archives and its relationship
with the regional archives also need to be defined in legislation.
If required, an expert on archival legislation can be provided
by the International Council on Archives to offer advice.
40. There is a related problem of territorial jurisdiction
for the regional and the National Archive services. There were
8 regional archives in the former Yugoslavia, each serving a number
of local administrations or municipalities. Of these services,
3 are now in the Republika Srpska (Doboj, Foca and Banja Luka).
The other 5 regional archives (Bihac, Mostar, Sarajevo, Tuzla
and Travnik) are in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina .
41. This development has two consequences: First,
the historical archives are now in some cases under a different
jurisdiction from the municipal authority which created them or
which succeeded to the creating agency. Secondly, the current
records of some municipalities cannot be transferred to the archives
which formerly took them.
42. These consequences have been stated separately,
as it may be easier to tackle them separately. It is not recommended
that the historical archives should be divided up, either between
the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska,
or between the individual Cantons. This would be against the archival
principles of provenance and integrity which
require that all records of a particular organization or individual
(i.e. archival fonds) shall be preserved in their entirety to
ensure their full evidential and informational value. In addition,
the division of archives would require considerable amounts of
work and funding, it would lead inevitably to conflict over the
custody of some records, and it would subject the archives to
unnecessary risks in being moved. Instead, it is recommended that
the archives are left in their present repositories, and that
steps are taken to ensure free access to them. If there is an
administrative or legal need expressed by an authority in another
jurisdiction to consult records, it can be satisfied by providing
a copy or lending the original for a specified time.
44. As regards the future archives, that is the records
of governmental administrations in the various parts of the country,
there are again two possibilities. The first is to re-define the
territorial limits of the archives corresponding to the territories
of the Cantons. This complex and expensive solution would undoubtedly
lead to demands for the movement of archives. The second possibility
is that the existing archives services remain in place and act
as agents for more than one Canton administration. This would
mean setting up an arrangement for transfer of the documents created
by the Canton administrations to the nearest or most convenient
archives service. This solution is easier and cheaper and accords
better with internationally accepted archival principles. This
solution must ensure the right of free and equal access to all
archives for all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will also
mean that certain archives services, for example Travnik and Tuzla,
receive records from more than one administration. In these cases,
the Cantons might jointly pay for the archive services, with their
contributions based on an agreed formula.
45. It is recommended that the Cantons be encouraged
to set up an agreement with the neat or most convenient existing
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III. SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
46. The following recommendations are made:
1. Action Requiring the Participation of the
- Within the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Justice should be
encouraged to review the question of archive legislation in the
light of the new Canton structure, and to promote the enactment
of legislation to define the role of the National Archives as
well as legislation in each Canton.
- Efforts should be made to ensure that archival
legislation in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the
Republika Srpska is compatible.
- The assistance of international experts in archival
legislation (e.g. from the International Council on Archives)
should be sought.
- The Cantons should be encouraged to maintain
the existing archive structures and jurisdictions, and to promote
free access to archives for all citizens.
- Facilities for copying and for lending archives
considered to be of continuing administrative value should be
put in place.
- Cantons should make arrangements for transferring
their non-current records to the nearest or most convenient archive
service. Where the nearest or most convenient archive service
is not controlled by the Canton, they should enter into an agreement
with the archive administration to provide this service, for an
2. Action for National and Regional Archive Authorities
- Each archive should establish, in conjunction
with the local administration, a long-term strategy for housing
the archive holdings, including buildings needs, repair needs
and requirements for external aid.
- The offer made by the UNESCO Office, Sarajevo
to assist in drawing up project profiles for building projects
should be taken up and co-ordinated by the National Archives in
Sarajevo. Priority should be given to the buildings of the Regional
Archives of Sarajevo, Travnik and Bihac.
- The local administrations should be approached
to ensure that minor maintenance and repair are carried out on
- Before either conservation or microfilm facilities
are installed in the National Archives (see below), the services
in the building, especially water and drainage, must be in working
- In order to promote training and communication
with the international community, archives should encourage their
staff to extend their foreign language skills.
3. Action Requiring External Assistance
- Each archive should establish plans to progressively
box their entire holdings, with outside aid if necessary.
- Each archive should prepare lists of their most
valuable holdings and use these to seek external aid to obtain
special security boxes.
- There should be a phased introduction of new
conservation facilities in the National Archives in Sarajevo.
- At least one member of staff of the National
Archives should be sent abroad for conservation training.
- A microfilm expert should visit the National
Archives in order to examine the existing equipment, and to recommend
on the modernization of services and accommodation.
- The introduction of microfilm facilities should
- The microfilm technician of the National Archives
should be sent abroad for training about 6 months after the installation
of the new equipment.
- Basic equipment, including one or 2 PCs and printer,
a photocopier and a fax machine should be provided for the National
Archives and each regional archives, either as a separate project,
or linked to the census of record creating agencies.
- Consideration should be given to linking training
of the registratura staff with the census of record creating
The proposals for training initiatives should be
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IV DETAILED REPORTS ON INDIVIDUAL
National Archives, Sarajevo
47. A report (Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Sarajevo and Mostar, UNESCO: Paris, 1995 (FMR/CII/PGI/95/103;
Restricted Technical Report)) on the buildings and physical preservation
of the holdings of the National Archives in Sarajevo was prepared
in February 1995. Details are not, therefore, repeated here. The
1996 visit confirmed that conditions remained broadly as they
had been in 1995.
48. There are 23 staff in the archives
now, exactly half the number before the war. Reductions have been
proportional for both qualified and unqualified staff.
49. The holdings of the National Archives
extend to 12,000 linear metres and have increased by approximately
10% since 1990. The last transmission was received during 1995,
from the Presidency.
50. The National Archives have 3 buildings.
The main accommodation in the Presidency building provides reasonable
conditions for storage. The ground floor storage rooms give a
good environment, but those in the basement, as reported last
year, remain damp. The building suffered moderate damage during
the war, which has been partly repaired.
51. The storage space in the university rectorate
building in Ulica Jadranska, is poor. It suffered extensive war
damage and has not been repaired. On the other hand, a third storage
building, at Alipasina 45, is in good condition and suffered no
52. The general condition of the holdings
is reasonable. Approximately 50 metres were destroyed completely
and 82 were seriously damaged during the war. No records were
evacuated out of the archives, but the kinoteka records were taken
over to protect them.
53. There is no conservation equipment
in working order. Before the war there was a staff of 3, but this
has been reduced to one, who has very limited experience. She
has 3 months of University-level training in dental medicine,
plus excellent English, good Italian and some German. She would
benefit from training abroad. Tentative offers were received from
Slovenia and from Malaysia, but neither has been realized.
54. There is a qualified microfilm technician, but
no working equipment, as previously reported.
55. With the exception of conservation
and microfilming, the National Archives carry out all the functions
in the questionnaire. Access is possible to holdings, but use
has been limited during the war. An archive library containing
about 20,000 volumes is open to public and was being consulted
during the visit.
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Regional Archives, Srbinje
56. Established in 1983, this is the smallest archive
service visited during the mission, covering just 6 municipalities.
It is now considered a branch office of the Arhiv Republike Srpske
in Banja Luka and operates under its regulations. As a small service,
it has been particularly affected by loss of staff and other resources
during the war.
57. There are only 2 staff working in
the archives now, compared with 7 before the war. Both are qualified
58. The archive holds a total of 470 linear
metres, in 85 fonds, covering the Communist period and later.
This includes records of various local enterprises, including
the large mine. No material was evacuated out of or into the archives
during the war. Some of the storage boxes carried labels from
the Historical (City) Archives of Sarajevo, but these were simply
used because they were available, and the contents are all regional
59. The archives also houses some records of land
ownership from the Municipality of Foca, which is responsible
for recording and preserving such records. Access to these records
is controlled by the Municipality. No vital events records are
kept in the archives.
60. No new records have been transmitted to the archives
since the war. The last material received was trade union records
from Gorazde and records of the farming community at Cajnice.
61. The building is said to date from
the Austro-Hungarian period, but has been considerably altered.
It has historical connections, as it was the HQ for Tito's partisans
in 1942. It was at one time a hotel. It also houses the local
museum and library. The archives has 2 offices, a further room
which is not usable, and some storage space in part of a former
cinema attached to the building. The building is about 500 metres
from the river Drina and one of the bridges which was bombed in
1995. That bombing was said to have caused damage to the windows
and roof of the building, which has only been partially repaired.
62. The roof of the storage area leaks is some places
and some of the glazing (at high level) is broken, so that the
area is not wind and weather tight. On the day of the visit (warm
and sunny) the interior felt reasonably dry, as did the records,
and there was no sign of mould. However, this area is not suitable
for long-term storage unless the fabric is repaired more adequately.
63. In the main storage area is a large
heap of records, around 5 cubic metres, which are due to be disposed
of. There are also a large quantity of hospital records, which
were given emergency accommodation before the war started. These
are in brown paper envelopes of folders, stored upright on rough
wooden shelving, which probably came with the records.
64. Behind these are the archives proper, on 2 double
rows of fixed steel shelving. Much of the material is in storage
boxes, which are of an old pattern, and made of rough card, but
nonetheless give good protection. There is however a significant
amount, mainly in volume form, which is piled on the floor and
must be considered at risk. There is also material which has been
catalogued but for which there are no boxes available. This is
sitting on tables in one of the archive offices.
65. Cataloguing work continues; 79 fonds
are fully catalogued and 6 are not. There is no reading room,
but public access to the records is permitted and requests for
information, for example from local schools, are dealt with. There
are no staff to carry out inspections of records in agencies and
no space to accommodate new transmissions.
66. The records are not in immediate risk, but storage conditions
are far from ideal. Repairs to the building fabric, especially
the roof, and the provision of storage boxes, seem to be the highest
priorities. The archive service as a whole is not functioning
normally, due to lack of resources, including staff.
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Regional Archives, Doboj
67. Doboj was set up as an independent archive in
1953 and covered 9 municipalities. Following the war, it is now,
like the archives in the former Foca, considered a branch of the
archives of the Republika Srpska in Banja Luka, and operates under
68. There are currently 3 staff, against
5 in the period before the war. Two have graduate qualifications,
the other secondary school qualifications. Salaries have been
paid more or less regularly since the war.
69. The archive contains approximately
1,400 linear metres of records and around 3,000 reference books.
The records were said to be fully catalogued (but this may have
been a misinterpretation of the question). The earliest records
date from the Austro-Hungarian period. Court records from 1882
were noted, and what appeared an unbroken series to the communist
period. The archive contains the records of the communist administration
that predates the municipality, and the records of the Doboj Communist
Party, which were deposited in 1985. It also holds some records
of land ownership from the Austro-Hungarian period through to
the Communist period (cadastral records, showing the changes in
ownership of individual houses). Building records dating from
the 1950s for the Odjak region are also preserved in the archive.
There are no records of births, marriages and deaths, which were
said to be held by the Municipality.
70. The building is of substantial stone
construction on 3 floors. It dates from the Austro-Hungarian period
and is about 100 years old. It was the private residence of a
Professor and then used as a government office before being taken
over by the archives in 1967. It is in reasonable state, but glass
is missing from some windows and there are some roof tiles missing,
which allows in rain water. New replacement tiles were noticed
in the attic storey, so the roof repairs may be planned.
71. As the building was a private house, it has large
windows in the storage rooms. The windows should be provided with
blinds or curtains to shield against heat from the sun, and should
also be opened regularly to allow ventilation and cooling. The
windows are double glazed, which will help to avoid the storage
rooms becoming too cold in winter. There appeared to be no means
of heating storage rooms; the original central heating system
of the house has not functioned for several decades, since well
before the archives took over. Heating in offices is by wood burning
stoves. Allowing the store rooms to be cold in winter will not
damage the contents, provided that swift changes in temperature
72. Floor coverings in all storage rooms appeared
to be of wooden tiles.
73. Records are stored on the ground,
first and second floors. Storage rooms on the ground floor were
equipped with fixed non-adjustable steel shelving, those on the
first floor had steel and wooden and two rooms on the second floor
had no shelving at all. Providing additional shelving, preferably
steel and of the adjustable type, is a priority. Some records
were in good quality storage boxes, others in poorer boxes and
several were unboxed. A batch of unused boxes was noted in one
of the corridors. While these were of the poorer pattern, they
would give a good measure of protection and should be used. Further
boxes will also be needed, and obtaining these should be a priority.
74. In one of the first floor storage rooms there
was a wooden box, intended for evacuating archives in an emergency.
It was said to contain some material of particular importance.
In view of the experience at Tuzla, where evacuated records in
wooden boxes suffered damp damage, it is not recommended that
this type of box is used for records that have to be evacuated.
75. One of the archival staff who left
since the war began was responsible for inspecting records in
the creating agencies and advising on their disposal. No work
of this kind has been done since. The last transmission was in
1992, from a local school, but no further transmissions have been
received, mainly due to the lack of storage space.
76. There is no search room, but the archive is fully
open to the public and there are regular requests from schools
and other bodies for information from the records. The archive
has no facilities for conservation or microfilming.
77. The records are all in a reasonable state, some in a good
state. Repairs to the roof are a priority. The archive is partly
functioning, but needs to re-establish links with the creating
agencies. Boxes and shelving are needed, especially if the archive
is to start to take transmissions of records again.
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Regional Archive, Tuzla
78. Set up in 1954 as the City Archives, the Historical
Archive at Tuzla is the largest regional archive in Bosnia and
holds records from 19 municipalities. In the new Canton structure,
some of these municipalities form part of the Republika Srpska.
The archive has 8 staff, against 12 before
the war. The loss has been entirely among the professionally qualified
staff (from 9 to 5). Salaries are being paid regularly.
80. The archive holds 1,380 linear metres
of records, of which approximately 380 linear metres was added
during the war. The most recent transmission was in January 1995,
when 100 linear metres from the town of Graenica was received.
Archive staff mentioned considerable additional records which
were ready to be transmitted, but for which there was currently
not enough shelving. The holdings include cadastral (land ownership)
81. The building dates in part from early
in the century and was formerly a printing works. It has been
extensively altered and adapted for the archives and work was
completed in 1990. The layout is to a good professional standard,
with a records reception area at the back on the ground floor
and records processing areas above, an exhibition space in the
front hall, and storage rooms on ground and first floors. Internal
finishes are also good. Floors are solid, with either a sealed
concrete surface (storage rooms) or rubberized tiles (work areas).
A fire detection system is installed in the storage rooms. Heating
is by low pressure water radiators. Windows, which are present
in storage areas, have modern double glazed units with hinge opening.
82. There has been some damage to the external fabric.
A mortar shell exploded on an adjacent building, and fragments
penetrated a first floor office and meeting room opposite. The
window glass has been replaced, but the frames are damaged, and
there is water penetration from around roof lights in the ceiling.
Further damage from indirect hits was reported and there was evidence
of water penetration from the ceilings in some of the storage
rooms. Unrelated damp penetration from below was also seen in
a storage room on the ground floor, probably due to faulty damp-proofing
in the walls.
83. The storage rooms are partly equipped
with adjustable steel shelving and a further batch of shelving
manufactured in Slovenia remains to be erected. This will take
some of the records that are currently stored on the floor, but
it is likely that more shelving will be needed. The archive director
mentioned mobile shelving. This should be investigated, but checks
on the floor loading and on the possible configurations that could
be accommodated in the storage rooms need to be made, to see if
such a system is feasible and economic.
84. Adjustable steel shelving should always be set
so that the lowest shelf is 150 mm above the ground, to allow
cleaning underneath and to raise the stored archives above possible
flooding of the floor. It is recommended that all units are set
in this way.
85. Around 500 linear metres of the most valuable
material was evacuated during the war and stored in a mine. The
material packed in aluminium storage containers was completely
unharmed, but other material, around 200 linear metres, packed
in wooden boxes, was badly affected by dampness. The aluminium
box, which is a type also used by the archives in Sarajevo and
in Travnik, is an excellent means of protection and one that could
be copied elsewhere. There are about 50 such boxes in the archive
86. The building has been provided with
an area for a microfilm laboratory, with plumbing and dark room,
but war intervened before any equipment could be installed. The
lab is therefore currently empty. Similarly, an area was provided
for a computer, but no equipment installed. There are no conservation
87. The archive service is operating relatively
normally, despite its reduced staff. Inspections of records outside
the archives are continuing at an impressive rate of 400 per year.
Public use of the archives continues, with around 100 users and
200 requests for certificates per year. The archive also has a
library which is used by staff and students. During the visit,
an exhibition of photographs and documents on the war was being
staged in the entrance hall.
88. This archive was housed in the newest and best building
of those visited. Preservation conditions are generally good,
though some minor building repairs are needed. The building has
the necessary space for installing microfilm and conservation
facilities. Provision of equipment is the priority.
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Regional Archive, Travnik
89. The archive of Central Bosnia was founded in
1954 as the State Archive of Travnik. At one time it was nearly
taken over by Banja Luka, but in 1978 it was re-established to
serve as the archive of 14 municipalities in Central Bosnia. In
1992 the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport took responsibility
for all archives, and it continues to be the principal financier.
90. The archive has suffered badly from
staff loss, dropping from a pre-war total of 14 to a current level
of just 5. Of these, 2 have university qualifications and 3 have
secondary school level, as against 5 and 6 respectively pre-war.
The 3 support staff before the war have all been lost.
91. The holdings are high, 8.900 linear
metres. They include records from the municipalities and both
vital event and land ownership records. The latter are scheduled
to come to the archives after 30 years (though later examples
were noted, e.g. 1981). The archives also hold the records of
the Communist Party from Central Bosnia, though these are in bundles
and have not been sorted or listed. The earliest record is a school
register from 1872.
92. The archives also hold a small but important
collection of oriental manuscript books, some dating from the
18th century. In view of its importance and relative compactness,
this is stored in 3 aluminium cases, of the same pattern as those
used in Sarajevo and Tuzla for protecting documents. The boxes
are mounted on a frame that enables them to act as front-opening
93. There are 2 buildings used, one for
storage, staff offices and reading room, the other mainly for
storage. The first building was constructed in 1892 as a Jesuit
college, and became a Gymnasium (secondary school) after the second
world war. The archives moved into this building in 1984, occupying
some ground and basement rooms. The building is of substantial
stone construction, and therefore provides a good storage environment,
evening out fluctuations in temperature and humidity through its
high mass. However, the basement rooms are now badly damp damaged
and in some cases there is standing water on the floors. This
is thought to be the result of wartime detonations near the building,
which may have fractured the damp proof course and allowed water
penetration from below. The basement is about the same level as
the nearby river. The building is the property of the Catholic
Church and it is understood that the Church wishes to reclaim
it. In view of the state of the basement, the consultant would
support the archives moving out of this building altogether, provided
that some alternative accommodation can be found. If for any reason
the archives stay in the building, they must either move out of
the basement completely, or extensive repairs must be carried
out on the basement damp proofing. This is the highest priority
question and one that must be solved locally.
94. The archives also uses an adjacent building for
storage and some staff space. This was specially built for the
archives in 1952, but reflects the period it was built and is
basic and utilitarian. It is constructed of concrete and brick,
with a corrugated metal roof. It has been extended along one side
at some later date; extension on the other side is not possible
because of a steeply rising slope. Floors are solid concrete,
with no sealing and appear generally dry.
95. This building is not ideal, as it does not offer
the same thermal insulation as the main building, and there is
little or no ventilation; the windows do not open and an electric
ventilator has been out of action for some time. The roof leaks
in places and there is evidence of rising damp penetration on
the rear wall. The result has been mould growth on the surfaces
of some volumes. It is important to rectify these problems: repairs
to the roof are certainly needed and the rising damp should be
investigated. The second priority is to improve ventilation. The
electric ventilator needs to be repaired. Other ventilators should
be installed in the windows, or the windows should be replaced
with units that open.
96. The basement store rooms in the gymnasium
building are, in their present state, quite unsuitable for archive
storage. Staff have moved records off the lowest shelves and placed
these on the ground floor to dry, but all the records in the basement,
some 1,000 linear metres, must also be moved out as soon as possible,
if they are to avoid becoming seriously damaged and, in time,
completely destroyed. In the 1952 building, the records are stored
on wooden shelving reaching to the roof, up to 4 metres high in
97. The ground floor storage rooms in the gymnasium
building provides a good storage environment. They have fixed
steel frames with wood or chipboard shelves. They are high, up
to 4 metres in places, which means that extra care must be taken
when removing or replacing material on high shelves.
98. Many of the records, in both buildings, are stored
in original box files; others are in the local pattern of bundles.
Over time, these should be replaced with proper archive storage
99. The archive continues to carry out
outside inspections or records, at a rate of about 2 per week.
A search room is provided, but usage is limited, no more than
2 to 3 researchers per year. On the other hand, there is a high
demand for certificates from the records, which are running at
4 to 500 per year.
100. It is essential that a decision is taken on the long-term
location of the archives. The gymnasium building could be a good
home for the archives, but not in the basement unless structural
repairs are carried out. The 1952 building is adequate for the
moment, but not large enough. If an entirely new location is considered,
it should be large enough to take the existing records, plus the
records that will be transmitted over the next 20 years, otherwise
there will be another accommodation crisis in a few years time.
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Regional Archives, Bihac
101. The archive is the newest in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
and was established in 1988. Because of its newness, it was not
fully established when war interrupted the process. It therefore
continues to occupy temporary accommodation.
102. There are currently 6 staff, compared
to 10 before the war. Reductions have been propor- tionally the
same among qualified and unqualified staff. Salaries are now being
103. The total holdings are about 2,000
linear metres. The last transmission of records was in 1993, when
material from local Bihac schools, 1868 to 1959 was received.
The archive holds municipality records from the area. Records
of building permits from the 1970s, and records of the municipal
court were noticed during the visit. There are also some records
of vital events from the Austro-Hungarian period and records of
land ownership before the 1945 nationalization. The records of
the local Communist Party were also been partly deposited in 1988
when the archive opened. Individual members have also deposited
items, but the present successor to the CP, the SPD, has retained
some of the records of its predecessor.
104. The archive occupies 2 buildings.
The first, in the grounds of a kindergarten near the town centre,
is the former private residence of the Bosnian painter Dzevad
Hozo, and was constructed in 1960. It is a detached concrete structure
on 2 floors plus basement and has a pitched, asbestos cement roof.
The floors are solid, with tile or wooden parquet finishes. The
ground floor windows are barred. It is an attractive building,
but not particularly well suited as an archive: access to the
first floor is by a narrow staircase, there are no facilities
for reception of records in bulk, there are no large spaces for
sorting records, and the rooms are generally too small for efficient
record storage, though they provide reasonable staff offices.
The building is in reasonable condition, but there is considerable
dampness in the basement. During the visit this was largely due
to a leaking pipe or drain in the ground floor bathroom/toilet,
but it was said to have a long history of dampness. The basement
was used as a shelter during the war.
105. The second building is a former school, about
5 kms from the town centre. It is of stone construction, with
a pitched, terracotta tile roof. It dates from the early 20 century.
It provides storage space only, but contains the majority of the
archive holdings. Staff visit approximately 3 times per week to
collect and return records. The archive uses only the first floor,
but through a common entrance on the ground floor. The organization
using the ground floor is said to no longer exist. The building
was used by the army during the war and shows some signs of wear:
several windows are broken, the external guttering is damaged,
the electricity system does not work and there is no running water.
More serious, the building shows signs of structural cracks and
a recent inspection by the municipality suggested it may not be
safe. Overall, the condition of this building is poor and it is
unlikely to be suitable as a long-term archive building without
significant structural work.
106. In the town centre building there
is some adjustable steel shelving in the office/meeting room on
the first floor. Material evacuated from the damp basement is
on the floor in this room. In the ground floor room formerly the
library and search room, files are piled up on tables. A priority
is to get these boxed and to provide proper shelving, preferably
adjustable steel pattern, to accommodate them. It is also essential
to remove the rest of the records in the basement and to investigate
the damp conditions there.
107. In the out-of-town depot, the municipality recently
provided new wooden shelving in one room. In another room, a huge
mass of records previously accommodated on steel shelves, has
been piled on the floor, to allow the shelving to be re-used by
the army and to allow them to use some of the floor space for
beds. Now that the army has left the building, there is a considerable
sorting job to get the displaced records back in order on the
wooden shelves. The material that is in good boxes or box folders
will be relatively easy to deal with, but the bundles are in some
disarray and the archive staff estimate that approximately one
year will be needed to correct the disruption caused. In the meantime,
it is desirable to get the broken windows repaired or patched
and to get the records off the floor by a few millimetres as soon
108. Some outside inspections are carried
out, but much less than before the war. A search room is available,
and is used by up to 10 people per month. About 50 certificates
per year are issued from the records.
109. The first priority is to establish a long-term policy
for accommodation, linked to the present and likely future requirements
for record storage and access. Neither of the present buildings
is ideal and operating on 2 separate sites increases the problems
of management. It would be highly desirable to secure a new home
for the archives on a single site, with sufficient room for expansion
for approximately 20 years. If this is not done, the problem will
recur. It is unlikely in the difficult financial conditions following
the war that a new building could be financed, but it may be possible
to identify an existing building in government ownership that
could be adapted.
110. In addition, all records in the damp basement
should be removed. In the depot, disordered records need to be
sorted and should be boxed and shelved. It is also important to
acquire additional shelving for records that are currently piled
on the floors and on tables.
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Regional Archives, Banja
111. The archive in Banja Luka was founded in 1953
as the city archive, then in 1963 it became the regional archives.
Before the war it was the Arhiv Bosanske Krajina, covering 23
municipalities and the largest regional archive in Bosnia and
Herzegovina. It is now the archive of the Republika Srpska, and
forms part of a network which consists of Srbinje (formerly Foca),
Doboj, Trebinje, Bjejlina and Pale. The last 3 are in the process
of being set up. The Banja Luka archive was responsible for setting
up the Bihac archive.
112. Banja Luka also had a special secondary school
course in archives, which operated for 100 years until it closed
during the war. The course reflected the German tradition in archive
113. The Republika Srpska enacted archive
legislation in 1993, which covers the setting up of the network
of archives, definitions of archives, protection of future archive
material in agencies, conditions of access and the transmission
of records to the archives. This augments the 1987 legislation,
which is also still in force in the RS territory.
114. The archive currently has 18 staff,
a reduction of 5 from the pre-war figure. A total of 6 staff left,
including 2 with higher qualifications, 3 with post secondary
school qualifications and 1 with secondary school level. One of
the higher qualified staff was replaced. Salaries are not paid
115. Banja Luka holds one of the largest
and richest archive collections outside Sarajevo, extending to
2,500 linear metres and 560 fonds. It includes around 15,000 photographs,
many from the Austro-Hungarian period. It is rich in material
on the second world war period, particularly on the short-lived
Croatian republic of 1941-45 and on the German occupation. There
is also a reference library of 12,000 works. The archives hold
birth, death and marriage records from pre-1945. There was considerable
damage of these during the second world war, so the series is
deficient. After that date, municipalities took responsibility
for recording vital events and for preserving the records of them.
There are regulations determining the conditions for pre- serving
these records, drawn up by archive staff. Some stray records from
the post 1945 period turn up periodically and are in the archives,
but in general these are the responsibility of the municipalities.
116. Land ownership records from the Austro-Hungarian
and kingdom of Yugoslavia period are also in the archives; after
that, they are in the municipality. Examples of the Grundbesitz
Bogen and of the later Serbo-Croat version from the 1930s
were seen on the visit. Communist Party records were transmitted
to the archive both before and after the fall of the communist
regime. The earliest material in the archives is an oriental collection
from the late 17 century.
117. The last transmission was received in 1995,
and consisted of records of the Bosanska Gradiska Communist Party.
118. The archives are housed in 2 separate
buildings of a former military barracks of the Austro-Hungarian
period, built in 1879. The main building is stone built but unusually
has no basement. The first floor rooms have a cool environment,
which whilst difficult to heat in winter is probably good for
the stored records, but the ground floor rooms appear to suffer
from rising damp. The second building is the adjacent former stables,
which is on one floor, with a pitched, asbestos cement roof. The
roof leaks in several places, and there is evidence of water penetration
through the ceilings of several of the storage rooms. Not surprisingly,
the atmosphere in these rooms is damp, and the records are also
damp, both externally and within bundles, though no evidence of
mould was seen. No equipment for measuring temperature and humidity
is in use. On the exterior, amateur radio aerials and even tubular
chairs were noted on the roof panels, which may have caused cracking
and water penetration. A drainpipe was also noted which discharges
straight into a hole in the surface concrete and may allow water
to penetrate into the foundations. It is strongly recommended
that these matters of minor building maintenance are attended
119. Apart from the damp, the general
condition of the records is good. They are very well looked after,
and were amongst the best shelved in the archives visited. Approximately
50% are boxed, and much of the rest are in the local pattern of
fascula or folder. There is a shortage of steel shelving,
and some wooden shelving has been used in the former stables block.
Some recent acquisitions have no shelf space and are piled on
the floors and on tables.
120. Banja Luka has operated as normally
as possible during the war, and staged 2 exhibitions in association
with the local museum, and providing continuous services to students
and other researchers. In the past year 53 researchers used the
archives, together with 250 requests for certificates. The archive
has also, historically been strong in training and guiding others
in the registratura or registry system, implementing regulations
for good record keeping in administrations and ensuring the correct
preservation of future archive material and its eventual transfer
to the archive. Continuing this tradition, staff carried out an
impressive 250 inspections of records outside the archives last
year. There are no conservation or microfilming facilities.
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Archives of Herzegovina, Mostar
121. The archives at Mostar were visited in January
1995 and a comprehensive report prepared They were not re-visited
in May 1996, but information was supplied to the consultant by
the Deputy Director, during the meeting in Sarajevo on 25 May.
The building at Mostar was repaired and renovated by the European
Union Administration (EUAM) at a cost of DEM400,000. The refurbished
building was re-opened on 9 February 1996. Some new steel shelving
has been supplied by the EUAM, but there is a need for more. Staff
levels have increased, from 7 to 11, but remain below the pre-war
level of 15.
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122. A brief visit was made to the Franciscan Monastery
at Sarajevo, where a limited amount of archive material is preserved.
It was in steel cabinets in a basement room, along with the monastery's
precious objects, and appeared in good condition. It includes
some vital event registers.
123. There are further Franciscan monasteries with
library and archive collections, especially at Kraljeva Sutjeska,
Fojnica and Kresevo. It is recommended that visits be made to
these to inspect the archive collections at a later date, perhaps
during future phases of the census project. All are likely to
contain vital event material, of the pre-communist period.
124. During the visit the consultant learned of further
archives which have been set up in Republika Srpska, at Pale,
Trebinje and Bijeljina. It is understood that there is very little
material yet preserved, and that staff have not all been appointed.
Once these archives are fully operational, it is recommended that
visits are made to them also.
125. An archive has also been set up in Mostar West,
which was visited by a previous UNESCO mission in January 1996,
which revealed that the material preserved was so far very limited.
It is recommended that a further visit be made to this archive
in due course.
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V CENSUS OF RECORD CREATING
126. At the outset, it was believed that the links
between the archives and the record creating agencies in Bosnia
and Herzegovina would have been severely damaged during the war
and that it would be necessary to re-build them slowly. In fact,
the national and regional archives are in most cases aware of
the record creating agencies in their jurisdiction and have continued
to keep links with them during the war.
127. The system is rather centralised and formal.
All organizations, whether public or private, that own property,
are obliged to register with the local court. As a result, the
archives are automatically informed of their existence and can
take steps to visit them and establish links. Contact is with
the registratura or registry in the record creating agency.
There were just under 20,000 registraturas in 1991, which
broke down as follows:
128. Archive staff believe that the only organizations
to have been set up in the past years about which they do not
know will be a very small number of insignificant private companies.
129. On the other hand, their knowledge of the conditions
of records in the registraturas is far from complete. Inspections
have continued in all regional archives except Doboj, but at reduced
levels due to staff shortages and war disruption. In the best
case, Tuzla, which managed to make 400 inspections of registraturas
during 1995, this represents only about 25% of the organizations
with which they had links before the war.
130. In addition, the waves of fighting and population
movement, followed by re-drawing of political boundaries, mean
that some archives have become separated from the municipalities
whose records they previously inspected and received. The municipality
of Brcko, which was formerly linked to Tuzla regional archives,
but is now in the Republika Srpska territory, was mentioned as
only one example. This makes it vital that the census of record
creating agencies is carried out throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina,
and that information about the results is exchanged between the
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska archives.
131. In view of the large number of agencies, a full
survey of them would take a considerable time to complete. It
is therefore proposed to classify them and to concentrate on those
believed to hold records of particular significance. These include
records of public administration, and those dealing with community
and individual rights such as vital events and land ownership
and school and hospital records. Records of public and private
commercial undertakings will be excluded at this stage.
132. At the meeting of archive directors it was agreed
to classify the registraturas and to compile the names
and addresses of all those falling into the category described
above. Estimates are also being made of the number of person hours
required to visit the registraturas and report on the condition
of the records. This will form the basis of the project plan and
will be used to seek external funding.
133. A similar agreement must be sought from the
archive directors in the Republika Srpska. The assistance of the
UNESCO office in Sarajevo will be required for this. In the informal
discussions held between the consultant and the staff in these
archives during the visits, no methodological objections were
raised to carrying out the survey.
134. A form for collecting the information from the
agencies was drawn up and discussed with the archive directors,
including those in the Republika Srpska. A copy is given as annex
4. The directors all agreed that the form seemed feasible. However,
a new translation will require to be made and to be discussed
again once the information on the registraturas has been
compiled. It will also be essential to pilot it with a few registraturas
and to make adjustments in the light of experience.
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List of Persons Consulted
National Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Arhiv
Bosne i Hercegovine)
Prof Matko Kovacevic, Director
Slobodan Krjstjc, Deputy Director
Regional Historical Archives (Istorijski Arhiv
Tonci Grbelja, Director,
Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports,
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Prof Srebren Dizdar, Secretary,
Franciscan Monastery of Sarajevo
Fra Luka Markesic
In Srbinje (formerly Foca)
Liliana Stankovic, Director
Regional Archives (Regionalni Arhiv)
Jovan Presic, Director,
Prof Mirko Bevanda
Regional Archives (Regionalni Istorijski Arhiv)
Azem Kozar, Director,
Ministry of Culture, Canton of Tuzla (Tuzlansko-Podrinjski
Prof Enver Halilovic, Minister
Regional Archives of Central Bosnia (Arhiv Srednje
Ms Spomenka Pelic, Director,
Regional Archive (Istorijski Arhiv)
Osman Altic, Director,
Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, Canton
of Unsko Sanski
Prof. Ismet Botonic, Minister
In Banja Luka
Archives of Republika Srpska (Arhiv Republike
Dusan Vrzina, Deputy Director,
Joran Mackic, Secretary of archives
Verica Stosic, Branch Head
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Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14-27
14 May Travel, Paris - Vienna (meeting with archive
director) - Zagreb
15 May Travel, Zagreb - Sarajevo
Briefing meeting at UNESCO office, Sarajevo
16 May Visit to National Archives, Sarajevo
Visit to Regional Archives, Sarajevo
17 May Visit to Franciscan Monastery, Sarajevo
Visit to Archives of Gazi Husrevbegova Library, Sarajevo
Visit to Bosniak Institute, Sarajevo
18 May Visit to Regional Archives, Srbinje (formerly
19 May Visit to Regional Archives, Doboj
20 May Visit to Regional Archives, Tuzla
21 May Visit to Regional Archives, Travnik
Travel to Bihac
22 May Visit to Regional Archives, Bihac
23 May Visit to Archives at Banja Luka, return to
24 May National Archives, Sarajevo
25 May Meeting of archive Directors, National Archives,
27 May Travel, Sarajevo - Paris
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Census of Record Creating Agencies
Draft Project Plan
1. Project Outcome
The products from the survey are:
- an agreed questionnaire for carrying out the
survey, translated and piloted in a number of agencies;
- lists of record creating agencies likely to hold
records of public administration or dealing with individual and
- reports of inspection visits by local archive
staff to all these agencies
- completed questionnaires from the visits
- statistical summaries of the results
- action plans for ensuring the preservation of
archive material in the registraturas deemed important and for
ensuring access to it
2. Project Method
The initial classification will be agreed by the
UNESCO consultant and then carried out by the local archive staff.
Estimates will be prepared of the time required to
carry out the survey of the agreed registraturas.
Funding will be sought based on these estimates.
The questionnaire will be translated again and piloted
by the local archive staff in at least 2 different areas and adjustments
agreed with the consultant.
The archive staff will then carry out the inspections
of the agreed registraturas using the form.
Reports on the visits will be completed and statistical
analyses made of the results.
Proposals will be made for ensuring the preservation
of valuable material and its transfer to an archive.
Agreements will be concluded for sharing of information
on the extent, condition and nature of records deemed important,
and for ensuring access to them.
3. Project Resources
The main work will be done by local archive staff.
The extent cannot yet be measured.
A local project manager will require to be appointed,
possibly from within the national archives staff.
An outside consultant will be required to agree the
stages above and to review the quality of the products.
At least two visits to Sarajevo will be required
by the outside consultant, once at the completion of products
1 and 2 and at the beginning of 3, and once again between products
5 and 6.
4. Project Budget
This is largely dependent on item 1 in 3 above. Provisional
|Preparatory local costs and form design
|Local staff costs and project manager
|Outside consultant work and visits
|Publication/follow up of results
5. Project Timetable
|Products 1 and 2 above
||2 months from start|
|Products 3 and 4||3 to 12 months from start
|Product 5||12 to 15 months from start
|Product 6||15 months from start
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REPORT OF THE MEETING OF ARCHIVE DIRECTORS
Sarajevo, 25 May 1996
Prof Matko Kovacevic, Director National Archives
of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Arhiv Bosne i Hercegovine),
Mr Slobodan Krjstjc, Deputy Director
Mr Tonci Grbelja, Director, Regional Historical Archives
(Istorijski Arhiv), Sarajevo
Mr Azem Kozar, Director, Regional Archives (Regionalni
Istorijski Arhiv), Tuzla
Ms Spomenka Pelic, Director, Regional Archives of
Central Bosnia (Arhiv Srednje Bosne), Travnik
Mr Osman Altic, Director, Regional Archive (Istorijski
Ms Enisa Maric, Deputy Director, Regional Archives
of Herzegovina, Mostar
Mr Colin Kaiser, UNESCO Representative in Bosnia
Mr George MacKenzie, UNESCO Consultant
Mr Kaiser reported that UNESCO had invited the Archive
Directors from Banja Luka, Doboj and Foca to participate but they
had been unable to do so. He was, however, pleased that as a result
of this UNESCO initiative, the directors from the Federation had
managed to meet for the first time since the war. He hoped this
would be the first of many such meetings. He also promised to
use his influence to persuade donors to support archive projects,
but emphasized that in order to do this he needed good project
2. Report by UNESCO Consultant
Mr MacKenzie reported on the initial conclusions
of his visits to the regional archives.
Accommodation was a widespread
problem, partly as a result of unsuitable buildings, partly as
a result of damage caused during the war which had not been repaired.
The archives at Travnik and Sarajevo were particularly badly affected,
with emergency conditions in their basement store rooms, from
which archive material had to be moved urgently. In Bihac there
was concern that the storage building was structurally unsound.
The conditions of preservation
of the archives varied, but in every case there was a need for
more boxes and for more and better shelving. Beyond this, as had
been revealed in the 1995 mission, there was a need for conservation
and microfilm facilities. Those in Sarajevo had originally operated
as a central service, but now there was neither equipment nor
trained staff to carry out the service.
Training was a further
need, both to bring existing staff up to date with the latest
thinking in the profession, and to offer some incentive to new
staff. There was a need for some training externally, but he recognised
that the most economic way of delivering training was to provide
it on the spot. Language would be a consideration in this too,
as there was relatively little knowledge of foreign languages
among archive staff.
Legislation was also a
major concern in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The archive services
in the Federation territory were all operating on the old 1987
legislation. New legislation had been drafted, but not enacted,
pending the result of transferring the archive services to the
new Canton administrations. In the Republika Srpska, new legislation
had been enacted, though the 1987 law was also partly still in
force. The problems were, firstly, that the territorial jurisdiction
of some archive services had been overtaken by political changes.
This meant that some of the preserved archives were now in different
jurisdictions to the municipal authority which had created them
or which had succeeded to the creating agency; and new records
of the municipal authorities could not be passed to the archive
service which had formerly taken them. The second problem was
that the Cantons did not appear to have made any provisions for
the preservation of their records. If they were to function as
democratic institutions, it was essential that they made such
provisions so that the citizens could, in due course, see the
records of their actions.
3. Reports and Comments by Archive Directors
3.1 National Archives
Mr Kovacevic stated that the main problems facing
the archive services were sub-standard accommodation, lack of
equipment for preservation, such as boxes and shelves, the need
for conservation and microfilming facilities, the need for education
and training, and the need for basic office equipment. For conservation
and microfilming, it would be best to concentrate facilities in
Sarajevo, with smaller ones in regional centres later, once personnel
had been trained.
3.2 Regional Archives, Tuzla
Mr Kozar said that the existing international rules
for protecting cultural heritage had been shown to be inflexible
and ineffective in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He drew particular
attention to the problems of archival material that was not yet
in the archives. It was clear from estimates made before 1990
that much more should have been received. He mentioned around
100 linear metres of Austro Hungarian period court records that
had been in Brcko. He also mentioned the advanced protection work
done on archives in Tuzla, which had helped save them during the
war. The priority needs in Tuzla were for equipment.
3.3 Archives of Herzegovina, Mostar
Mrs Maric reported that the renovation work funded
by the European Union on the archive building had been completed,
without damage to the records. Certain problems had been caused
by the contractors and would require more work to solve. Some
shelving had been provided, but more was needed. There were no
staff available to do outside inspections of records in administrations.
The future relations of the archives to the new administration
in Mostar were of concern.
3.4 Regional Archives, Bihac
Mr Altic hoped that the visit made by the UNESCO
consultant to the Minister of Culture of the Canton would help
in influencing attitudes on archives. The regional archive in
Bihac faced a problem of accommodation. The Medical School building
might be suitable, but would require considerable repair. Basic
office equipment was also badly needed in the archive.
3.5 Regional Archives, Travnik
Ms Pelic reported that their first priority was accommodation,
and that external aid would be needed to secure it. She also drew
attention to the particular problem of the Travnik regional archives,
which covered parts of 3 of the new Cantons, including the mixed
Canton of Central Bosnia. It would be better for the archive to
remain a State institution. The external work they had been able
to do was limited.
3.6 Regional Archives, Sarajevo
Mr Grbelja reported that 500 linear metres of records
were in danger from sub-standard accommodation.
4. Census of Record Creating Agencies
Mr MacKenzie said that one of the major projects
which ICA was interested in developing in Bosnia and Herzegovina
was a census of record-creating agencies. The aim was to re-establish
the links between the archives and the record creators. This was
particularly important for those public administrations and agencies
that generated records relating to individual and community rights.
The initial results of the visits made to the regional archives
indicated that most already knew the names of the record creating
agencies, as a result of the centralized system inherited from
the former Yugoslavia. However, in many cases, the regional archives
had been unable, due to the war conditions, to carry out the level
of inspections of the record-creating agencies that they had previously
achieved. Consequently, there was limited knowledge of the records
that existed, of the conditions in which they were held, or of
damage which might have been suffered. This would form the focus
of the project. It would require to be carried out throughout
the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska
territories. Priority would be given to identifying records relating
to individual and community rights, and to public administration.
It was likely that outside assistance to fund such a project could
be found, but the work would need to be done by the archive staff.
The meeting agreed that it was essential to gather
information on record material outside the archives. As a first
step in this project, it was agreed that each Regional Archive
would give the total number of registraturas it had information
on, and classify these by type (public administration, public
service organization, public commercial undertaking, private commercial
organization, private non-commercial organization, others). They
would specify by name, all those registraturas containing
records with information on individual rights, including births,
deaths and marriages, land and other ownership, school and hospital
records. These would be co-ordinated by the National Archives.
A model would be sent to Mr MacKenzie in Paris to approve before
the returns were completed. Each regional archive would also estimate
the time (in person days) required to visit and inspect the records
in each of the registraturas named. This information will
be used to seek external funding for the project.
5. Future Actions
Mr Kovacevic proposed a 3 part approach to training.
First, the provision of professional archival training
to new and existing staff. It would be most efficient to do this
in Sarajevo. Most of it could be done by Bosnian experts, but
the participation of foreign experts would also be welcome. Some
technical training, for example in conservation, could be done
abroad for very limited numbers of people.
Second, the provision of training to staff working
in the registraturas or registries of administrations.
As many as 90% of such people were new to the jobs and had not
had any previous training. This training could be done in the
regions, by the regional archive staffs. Courses of 3 to 5 days,
once or twice a year would be needed.
Third, another aspect of professional training was
participation in outside archival meetings, re-establishing the
regular contacts before the war with colleagues in Austria and
elsewhere. International support would be essential for this.
This approach was accepted by the other archive directors.
The need for a legislative structure for archives
in Bosnia and Herzegovina, covering both national and regional
services, and clarifying the relations with the Cantonal administrations
was agreed. It was further agreed that it should be based on archival
principles. A preference was expressed for a unified archival
system for the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. If that was not
possible, an integrated system for the Federation territory should
be introduced. The minimum requirement is that all the archives
should be legally recognized and have equal status
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This report was prepared for the Government of the
Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
It is available in paper form under the following
call number :
31 December 1996
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