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General Assessment of the Situation of Archives in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Report by George MacKenzie

Table of contents



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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 in Sarajevo);
  • 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 these agencies;
  • 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 and Foca.

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 this report.

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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a) Methodology
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.

b) Staffing
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 agencies.

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 of staff.

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.

d) Buildings
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 fuel stoves

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 affected buildings.

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.

f) Conservation
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
  • encapsulation
  • manufacture of simple protective housings
  • non-aqueous and aqueous cleaning
  • acidity and deacidification
  • traditional paper repairs
  • simple binding repairs
  • safety

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.

g) Microfilming
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 1,500.

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 telephone system.

I) Training
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.

j) Legislation
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 legislation.

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 archives service.

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46. The following recommendations are made:

1. Action Requiring the Participation of the Government

  • 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 agreed fee.

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 archive buildings.
  • 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 order.
  • 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 be phased.
  • 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 agencies.

The proposals for training initiatives should be implemented.

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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 damage.

Physical Preservation
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.

Technical Services
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.

Service Levels
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 (formerly Foca)

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 archivists.

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 archive material.

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.

Preservation Conditions
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.

Service Levels
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 its regulations.

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 are avoided.

72. Floor coverings in all storage rooms appeared to be of wooden tiles.

Preservation Conditions
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.

Service Levels
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) records.

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.

Preservation Conditions
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 in Tuzla.

Technical Equipment
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 facilities.

Service Levels
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 cupboards.

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.

Preservation Conditions
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 some cases.

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 boxes.

Service Levels
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 paid regularly.

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.

Preservation Conditions
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 as possible.

Service Levels
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 Luka

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 education.

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 regularly.

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 to.

Preservation Conditions
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.

Service Levels
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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Other Archives

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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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:

National Archives 10,141
Regional Archives
Banja Luka1,690
Overall Total 19,756

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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Annex 1

List of Persons Consulted

In Sarajevo

National Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Arhiv Bosne i Hercegovine)

Prof Matko Kovacevic, Director

Slobodan Krjstjc, Deputy Director

Regional Historical Archives (Istorijski Arhiv Sarajevo)

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

In Doboj

Regional Archives (Regionalni Arhiv)

Jovan Presic, Director,

Cedomir Aladzic

Prof Mirko Bevanda

In Tuzla

Regional Archives (Regionalni Istorijski Arhiv)

Azem Kozar, Director,

Ministry of Culture, Canton of Tuzla (Tuzlansko-Podrinjski )

Prof Enver Halilovic, Minister

In Travnik

Regional Archives of Central Bosnia (Arhiv Srednje Bosne)

Ms Spomenka Pelic, Director,

In Bihac

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 Srpske)

Dusan Vrzina, Deputy Director,

Joran Mackic, Secretary of archives

Verica Stosic, Branch Head

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Annex 2

Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14-27 May 1996


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 Foca)

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 Sarajevo

24 May National Archives, Sarajevo

25 May Meeting of archive Directors, National Archives, Sarajevo

27 May Travel, Sarajevo - Paris

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Annex 3

Census of Record Creating Agencies

Draft Project Plan

1. Project Outcome

The products from the survey are:

  1. an agreed questionnaire for carrying out the survey, translated and piloted in a number of agencies;
  2. lists of record creating agencies likely to hold records of public administration or dealing with individual and community rights;
  3. reports of inspection visits by local archive staff to all these agencies
  4. completed questionnaires from the visits
  5. statistical summaries of the results
  6. 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 figures are:

Preparatory local costs and form design USD 1,000
Local staff costs and project manager USD 10,000
Outside consultant work and visits USD 10,000
Publication/follow up of results USD 5,000

5. Project Timetable

Products 1 and 2 above 2 months from start
Products 3 and 43 to 12 months from start
Product 512 to 15 months from start
Product 615 months from start

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Annex 4


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 Arhiv), Bihac

Ms Enisa Maric, Deputy Director, Regional Archives of Herzegovina, Mostar

Mr Colin Kaiser, UNESCO Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mr George MacKenzie, UNESCO Consultant

1. Introduction

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 proposals.

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

5.1. Training

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.

5.2. Legislation

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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Editorial Note

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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