Greetings From Zagreb - a journey through time
We talk to the people behind 'Greetings From Zagreb', an app that uses historical postcards that are available on Europeana Collections.
Sofija Klarin Zadravec, National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) Digital Library Adviser and Dragana Koljenik, Croatian Institute for Librarianship (operating as part of NSK), tell us about the Greetings From Zagreb app...
Greetings from Zagreb is the first mobile application ever developed by a library in Croatia.
As a part of the Greetings from Zagreb project, the main goal behind the app was to promote NSK Digital Library and its Print Collection. Using digitised historical postcards as the focal point of the app we wanted to improve the Digital Library user experience by offering a new way of engaging with the digitised material - in this case the postcard, an almost forgotten communication means. The app brings these historic postcards back to life by taking the user on a virtual tour through the city's ten most beautiful landmarks that are represented with 150 historical postcards from our collection. The postcards can be sent or shared with friends and family through email, text and social media. The app also has a Now&Then feature that enables the full experience of the app and Zagreb even to those who are not there in person.
The app is aimed at tourists and locals interested in Zagreb's past, but also at the general public usually not acquainted with the digitised cultural heritage of Croatia. We consider that the postcard as a medium transcends generational, educational and national divides and as such has the ability to reach wide audiences. A colourful vintage card with a message, greeting or a funny travel testimonial on the back is close and understandable to almost everyone. We presume that is the reason our app resonates with audiences that go beyond the usual library patron.
Postcards from a bygone time
Postcard Collection is one of the biggest collections at the NSK Print Collection. It holds more than 150,000 postcards featuring places in Croatia but also all kinds of greeting cards from the end of 19th century to the contemporary ones. They represent a record of a bygone time, show everyday life on the streets, parks and squares of Zagreb, but also testify to the universal human need to communicate.
Digitised postcards from NSK Print Collection are also available on Europeana Collections as
part of its rich postcard collection (126,380 postcards and counting) from European heritage
The collection represents an indispensable resource for researchers in various fields, historians and conservators.
We hope to promote our Digital Library in a new and innovative way. We also want to open new paths for cross-sectoral collaboration and new partnerships including the cultural, IT, business and tourist sector. By launching this app, NSK has already affirmed itself as an important factor and an active participant in Croatian public life by showcasing what we are capable of and how our digital collections have the potential to create new values across various sectors.
Since the launch in December 2017 the app has promoted the Digital Library on an unprecedented level. Our Digital Library website had maximum number of hits in the whole year and we had more than 50 media coverages from national and international media outlets including print, radio, TV and Internet portals in less than 20 days after the launch. As far as the downloads go we are close to hitting our first 1,000!
Going beyond Zagreb
Greetings from Zagreb app has great potential for further development. Our plan for 2018 is to start a nationwide campaign called Greetings from Croatia. This campaign would connect libraries throughout Croatia on a mass postcards digitisation and promotion campaign. We plan to continue promoting the app through various activities and channels such as International Tourism Fair Place2go in March and on the Eight Festival of Croatia's Digitisation Projects in May.