POLISH DIGITAL CONTENT IN THE EUROPEAN SPACE
Poland has one of the most complex history among European countries. Polish borders have changed several times. Thus, first it seems pertinent to briefly describe this complexity in order to give better understanding of how the historical events and displacements of country borders might influence on cultural heritage and (in the case of this paper’s theme) on libraries’ holdings of the country. In the 17th century a vast Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth: the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania neighboured on the South with Ottoman Empire and on the West – with the Habsburg Empire. This situation changed in 1772 when Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian Empires started the annexation of some parts of Poland. In 1772 the first partitioning treaty was sign ed; in 1793 – the second one; and in 1795 – the third one. Poland definitely lost its sovereignty. Polish state ceased to exist and disappeared from the map of Europe for 123 years (Bubczyk, 2011). In 1918 Poland regained its indepe ndence and re-eme rged onto the European map. However, only for eleven years. In 1945 Poland felt under the Soviet control and the communist government, closely allied with the Soviet Union, was formed. Also in 1945 the borders of Poland changed for the last time in this country’s history. The acquisition of some We stern (former German) territories and the loss of some Eastern ones – that to day are part of Belarus, Lithuania, and Ukraine – resulted in mass migration of people. Poland was under communist governance for over forty years. The parliamentary election on July 4th, 1989 marked the fall of communism in Poland and enabled the process of decommunisation and building the young democracy. Since 2004 Poland is a member of European Union. Today in Poland there are 38,5 million of habitants. After the new administrative division of 1999 the country is divided into 16 regions (named voivodeships). The above introduction was necessary to understand, how the complex history of Poland effected also in cultural heritage and library holdings. They were changing their owners on many occasions. In the consequence of the World War II many collections were robbed or destroyed. Also, because of borders reshaping, after 1945 some part of holdings originally coming from Russia, Germany, or Czech Republic entered into Polish libraries. On the other hand, for the same reason, several Polish collections were left on the territories of former Soviet Union’s republics and today’s Belarus, Ukraine, and Lithuania.
Zuzanna WIOROGÓRSKA, Jacek WLODARSKI