I had to get up extra early this morning to attend the 8:15 conference session. Our conference is divided into two main rooms, one being the room with simultaneous translation, the other being the English-speaking room. This morning I got the translation room, unfortunately. The overarching topic of this morning’s session was of the digitization and preservation of Bulgarian historical documents. Now, this would usually be a fascinating topic for me, but I had a really difficult time following the presentations. For one thing, the powerpoints tended to be in Cyrillic. The translator speaks halting English and often stumbles over the longer technical terms.
In any case the gist of the presentations was that there needs to be more widespread digitization of significant historical documents. In the case of medieval Slavic manuscripts, there is a lack of a web-based digital library in which to house them. In terms of a National strategy on preservation and digitization of important historical documents, manuscripts, and images: there is no strategy. The presenters mainly cited a need to build partnerships amongst the libraries both in Bulgaria and internationally in order to share resources as information.
The final presenter talked about the need to make these items openly accessible to everyone so that they become part of the shared Bulgarian legacy.
This afternoon, we’re taking a tour of the Bulgarian National Library and the University of Sofia Library. It’s not exactly my idea of a good time, but we’ll see. I guess there’s always something to learn from seeing someone else’s library. This evening we get to attend a banquet with Bulgarian dancing and traditional Bulgarian food. If the food is anything like what we’ve eaten so far, it’s fishheads, tomatoes, cucumbers, and fried cheese. Yum. Tomorrow we’re taking a day trip to the Rila Monastery up in the mountains. It’ll be great to get out of Sofia with its smog and noise. I’m sure there’ll be a ton of photos coming out of that trip. I haven’t been taking many photos here mainly because it’s a bunch of boring conference photos and I know that no one really wants to look at those.
I’m really getting excited to go home. I’ve said it before, but this has been a really long trip. It’ll be nice to hear English spoken again, and I won’t be so self-conscious about ordering coffee, or lunch. The language barrier is pretty massive here. I guess it’s my American mentality that expects everyone to bend to my language requirements, and I should let that go. I think that I now have a deeper understanding of people who come to the US and struggle to be understood. It’s frustrating and a little demoralizing.
More conferencing now….