Exploring the cultural heritage of the cross border region through a digital library and oral sources

Priority axis

2 - Boosting the local economy

Specific objective

2.1 Preserve cultural and natural resources as a prerequisite for tourism development of the cross border area




24 months

The project EXPLORAL builds on the successful project Balkaneana funded under the IPA Cross-Border PROGRAMME “Greece – Albania 2007-2013” that delivered a multimodal digital library with content from the Central Public Library of Konitsa and the Municipal Library of Gjirokastra.

The overall objective is twofold:

  • to transform libraries into a reference point for all tourists visiting the cross-border area and
  • identify and promote the common heritage of the cross-border region through the study and analysis of the oral history and tradition and their interconnection to the written sources.

Thus, EXPLORAL addresses the programme’s overall objective and the Specific Objective 2.1.

The content of those oral sources have an inherent additional social value by contributing to the social cohesion, dynamic evolution, and durability of the cultural heritage. There is a significant interest, from an ethnographic, cultural and historical perspective, to record testimonies from oral sources in the cross-border area of interest.

In the regions of Permet, Gjirokastra and Konitsa we can discover different sides of history and traditions and identify and promote common cultural characteristics that are associated with the areas of interest. To this end, testimonies will be recorded and connected to the digital content that is already stored in the Balkaneana digital library and the new Exploral digital repository will be an enriched version of Balkaneana in terms of content and functionality.

Finally, EXPLORAL includes the development of an application for mobile devices (mobile app) that includes interactive information on a map of the wider border area. The interactive map will be interconnected connected with the content from oral sources and the digitized material of Balkaneana. Thus, this connection of the touristic information with valuable information acquired from oral and written sources, would result to transforming the Library, in its physical or digital form, to a reference point for all tourists in the area.

The project also entails the digitization of a large portion of the Premet municipal library books and the extension of the digitized collection of books, documents and archives for the other two libraries.

Last but not least Exlporal will implement three additional infrastructure activities: the reconstruction of the Premet and Gjirokastra municipal libraries and the creation of a tourist helpdesk at the public library of Konitsa.

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