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Technical Report               KOSOVO
RP/1998-1999/IV.2.2.


                               Communication, information and
                               informatics




General Assessment of the Situation of
Archives in Kosovo



                                                        by Bruce
                          Jackson and

                       Wladyslav Stepniak




                                Serial N° FMR/CII/INF/00/101/



                               United Nations Educational,
                               Scientific and Cultural
                               Organization

                               Paris, 2000
                            KOSOVO




GENERAL ASSESSMENT OF THE
SITUATION OF ARCHIVES IN
KOSOVO




                            by Bruce Jackson and Wladyslav
                            Stepniak
Technical Report
RP/1998-1999/IV.2.2
FMR/CII/INF/00/101. (Jackson, Stepniak)
4 January 2000

(c) UNESCO 2000
Printed in France
                                                                         Table of content



Abstract                                                                                                                                                                         5

I.       Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................ 7
II.      Archives of Kosovo, Pristina ................................................................................................................................. 7
III.     Film Archive of Radio Television Kosovo ............................................................................................................ 9
IV.      Intercommunal Archives of Pec/Peje ................................................................................................................... 9
V.       Historical Archive of Decane/Decan, Junik ....................................................................................................... 10
VI.      Intercommunal Archives of Dacovica/Gjakove ................................................................................................. 10
VII.     Communal Archives of Prizren .......................................................................................................................... 10
VIII. Archives of Mitrovica .......................................................................................................................................... 11
IX.      Historical Archive of Vucitern/Vuqiterne.......................................................................................................... 12
X.       Historical Archive of Gnjilane/Gjilan ................................................................................................................ 12
XI.      City Archive of Pristina ....................................................................................................................................... 13
XII.     UNMIK and other international organizations ................................................................................................. 14
XIII. National and University Library, Pristina ......................................................................................................... 15
XIV. Main Recommendations ...................................................................................................................................... 16

           A.      Immediate Action ........................................................................................................................................ 16
           B.      Longer term................................................................................................................................................. 17
           C.      Strategic proposals ..................................................................................................................................... 18

Annex 1 - Schedule of visits                                                                                                                                                   19
Annex 2 - List of persons consulted                                                                                                                                            20
                                                  Abstract

The mission attempted to investigate several distinct but related issues. How had the established archive
offices fared in the course of the events of several years, culminating in the intervention of the Kosovo
Security Force (KFOR) in Kosovo in 1999? What is needed to restore these offices to normal operation?
Had there been deliberate removal or destruction of records? How can long-term preservation of and access
to the historical records of the area be best ensured?

As might be expected, the physical problems facing many of the offices are not dissimilar to those in Bosnia
and Herzegovina following the military conflict in the early 1990s, with the majority of problems arising
from the breakdown of infrastructure. Offices appear to have been systematically stripped of virtually all
equipment, both of a general and specialist nature. Several of the smaller offices appear to have been totally
destroyed, particularly in Western Kosovo. There was no evidence that this was the result of action
specifically against archives. It was rather due to the general devastation of the area, although further
information may in future give a clearer picture on this. No Serbian staff were found to remain in post,
although in several instances archive directors said they had attempted to remedy this situation.

Evidence was found of the systematic removal of both historical material and records held by current
administrations, particularly those of Civil Registration and Cadastral Courts. The removal of historical
material does appear to have been fairly limited, and not confined to 1999, and there are some indications
that a more extensive removal may have been intended over the summer of 1999. Many of the present heads
of archive services suggest that in the years since the loss of autonomous status of Kosovo, a deliberate
policy of neglect has been followed with regard to records and printed books relating to the Albanian
community. Evidence would appear to support this in several instances.

Further work will need to be carried out to prepare a full assessment of the losses that have occurred. With
support from The United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) it should be possible
for the vast majority of this to be undertaken by archive professionals in Kosovo. Resources will be needed
to re-equip the offices, and start up microfilm and training programmes. The external archival community
has a role to play in these fields. Long-term security and stability will be best promoted by ensuring that
local archivists have the confidence, skills and resources to carry out their duties with minimal external
intervention once the most immediate problems have been tackled.

Several of the archive offices visited were receiving a considerable number of requests from Kosovars for
copy documentation either relating to personal identification, educational background and property
ownership, and this pattern, rather than academic or research work, appears to have been the mainstay of the
activities of the offices even in previous years. This does emphasize the importance of ensuring the
continuity of archive operations for practical rather than cultural reasons.

A separate issue is the need to ensure full documentation of the activities of the four “pillars” of the
international presence in Kosovo (Institution Building: OSCE; Civil Administration: UNMIK; Humanitarian
Affairs: UNHCR; Reconstruction: EU). Records of operations and decisions will need to be properly
preserved and be available within Kosovo not only for future historical study but also for the settlement of
disputes or queries which will undoubtedly arise in the future after the resumption of normal civil
governance.

In the short term there is no need to produce new legislation, as the existing pre-1989 legislation seems to be
both acceptable and operationally satisfactory for the moment. Naturally any future legislation will need to
reflect the political solution which emerges for the future administration of Kosovo.

At present, the offices operating are doing so in effect under pre-1989 legislation of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia (FRY), and seem to have no difficulty with this. This reflects the general legal situation.
UNMIK seeks to continue to apply legislative measures passed on by FRY. The complexity of the
administrative structures now in place, including the operation of parallel administrations such as the Interim
Government, create a risk that many less high profile issues - such as the preservation of archives - may be


                                                                                                             5
overlooked. Unlike a situation where military government is in operation, there is a need to secure the
agreement and involvement of several organizations to ensure successful outcomes.

The general disruption of society, displacement of population and damage to many buildings (particularly
those of administrations), has caused an interruption to the regular flow of records to record offices. There is
evidence of archivists seeking to restore the links with record creators, and recommence the transfer of
records. This is hampered by lack of suitable archival accommodation to house the records and transport to
move the material, rather than by a lack of will to begin the work.




6
I.        Introduction
1. The mission, which took place from 1 to 10 December 1999, was jointly funded by UNESCO, the
Council of Europe and the International Council on Archives. Within time constraints, it was not possible to
visit all the archive offices in Kosovo, and a more detailed assessment of the situation will be needed in the
near future.

2. The terms of reference of the mission were:

         Assess the present situation of archives in Kosovo
         Determine the necessary intermediate steps to be undertaken to safeguard endangered archives in
          Kosovo in concert with the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
          and the Kosovo Security Force (KFOR).
         Advise on inclusion of records and archive management components in UNMIK's programme.
         Identify several small projects for immediate improvement of the situation (e.g. immediate
          restoration campaigns, training workshops).
         Advise on medium and long-term measures for the permanent safeguarding of the Archives of
          Kosovo.
         Assess the situation in the area of record and archive management in existing administrations.
         Assess the legal situation related to records and archive management.
         Advise on short and medium-term measures to be taken to ensure adequate legal coverage of records
          and archive management issues.

II.       Archives of Kosovo, Pristina

3. The Archive of Kosovo is still located in the custom-built accommodation constructed in the late
1970s[?]. There is no damage to the building, despite it being used by Serbian military and possibly
para-military units during the conflict. The acting Director since June 1999, and his colleagues have retained
evidence of the occupation.

4. As early as March 1991, records appear to have been deliberately removed. The records involved
totalled about 300 archive boxes, comprising records of agricultural colonization, 1919 - 1941 [Group 1],
and part of the Prizren District Court records [Group 26]. A significant collection of privately deposited
papers relating to the "Process of Prizren" in 1956 was also removed. A copy of a letter signed by the
previous Director authorizing the transfer of group 1 to Belgrade was handed over to the consultants.

5. A further 47 boxes of records had been prepared for transfer prior to June 1999, but had not been
despatched. Other instances were cited as evidence of neglect of the Kosovan archival heritage, such as the
housing of the City Archive of Pristina in rather low quality, damp basement accommodation at the Archive
of Kosovo. Albanian staff were, it is claimed, forced from their jobs on ethnic grounds from December
1990, and those who remained after this were not allowed to enter storage areas unless accompanied by a
Serb.

6. Other actions included removal of equipment in whole or part, including parts from microfilm
equipment, and office transport. Financial records of the archive 1990-99 have been taken. Many books in
Albanian were destroyed, including up to almost 20,000 volumes from the Record Office Library, from the
Institute of History (housed in the Record Office) and from the Academy of Science of Kosovo (whose
library had been moved to the Record Office for safekeeping).

7. Present holdings are claimed to total between 8 and 10 Kilometres, which seems on the high side
compared to figures in the earlier ICA Directory of Archives. Although new records have been received
since 1986 - such as the Communist Party Archives, this does seem a very high growth rate. Staff of City
Archive of Pristina were surprised at this assessment, as they regarded their holdings as the largest in



                                                                                                            7
Kosovo. As stated, the building had not been damaged, but was deteriorating through both lack of
maintenance over several years, and also the failure of routine buildings services. Work was taking place to
restore the heating, which is on the City system, and electricity is available intermittently. The air handling
system is not running at present.

8. The service was well equipped until 1990. None of the staff are paid, and have received only one lump
sum of 200 DM. Virtually all equipment had been removed by June 1999, and there is immediate need for
two computers, two telephone lines, as well as conservation, binding, lamination and microfilm equipment.
Also needed are transport facilities.

9. At present there are 31 staff, which is satisfactory. Some former Serbian employees have been
approached to return, but none have done so. Staff is organized in four units:

       Director, Deputy Director and Directors of sections
       Regulation and Systematization - 5 archivists and 7 assistants
       Protection - laboratory/microfilming/conservation (1), binding (1) and library (1)
       Inspection - (1) The Registratura files seem to have survived. Interestingly the Trepca mines
        records seem to have always been outwith the collecting remit of the Kosovan Archives
       Administration - 1 secretary, 2 cleaners, 3 guards, 1 maintenance man, 1 person who searches for
        and locates documents

10. In legislative terms, the archives are operating under the pre-1989 legislation of the former Yugoslavia.
This legal framework for the moment seems to suffice. Special legislation in 1989/90 named the new
Director, and if this was normal, then a future change would probably be to move this from being a
"political" appointment. The Director and his colleagues seem to see standards as being more important for
the future than laws. At present there are links with the Interim Government Ministry of Culture, although
the archivists feel it might more appropriately be a part of the administration. Links with UNMIK and
KFOR are not developed to a sufficient degree to enable archivists to secure access to buildings and to
secure records.

11. In terms of links, the Archive of Kosovo sees itself as having a supervisory role over all other archives.
Some international contacts have been made since the end of the conflict, particularly with Albania and
Turkey. In the past, the archivists have co-operated with several countries on microfilming of records.
Co-operation has been established with the University and National Library, with discussions taking place at
Director level about conservation, the working links with the Museum of Kosovo, Cultural Monuments and
the Gallery of Art have also been established.

12. At present, most sections of the office are operating fairly fully, with the exception of the microfilming
department, which cannot recommence until parts can be obtained for the camera and laboratory. A
search-room is open, although in temporary accommodation, as the usual search-room has been used to
house Academy of Sciences material. A figure of 15 enquiries a day was mentioned. Hours are curtailed,
with no one (including staff) admitted after 3.00pm, due to lack of electricity. Sorting of records is
progressing, with one large fond recently completed. Many records are coming in unregulated at present,
especially from former registraturas which have now ceased operating.

Priorities
 Provision of basic equipment for offices and microfilming and conservation;
 Provision of transport to collect records;
 Agreement with UNMIK to provide accreditation and support to allow access to buildings to
    secure records
 Restoration of basic services (heat, light, and communications)
 Refresher training for staff and attendance at conferences to raise professional skills.




8
III.     Film Archive of Radio Television Kosovo

13. At the request of OSCE, a visit was made to the archives of the Radio Television Kosovo (RTK) kept in
a former TV company building in the centre of Pristina, Although conditions were not ideal, they did not
give immediate cause for concern, although it would be advisable to improve the security of the store-rooms.
The films and magnetic tapes seemed to be in a fairly consistent order, and the indexes were located in an
adjoining office. Although these were in some state of disarray, it was possible to identify indexes by subject
and place, as well as cards detailing programmes. Restoring the cards to proper order appeared to be a
relatively small sized task. It was suggested that the best step would be to find someone who had formerly
worked in the film library, and it was thought that it might be possible to do so.

14. The intention was to use the material in broadcasts, particularly the locally generated content. There
were problems associated with this, as the output technically belongs to the Workers' Co-operative of RTK.
It is as yet unclear whether there is equipment available locally for viewing some of the formats, particularly
of magnetic tapes.

IV.      Intercommunal Archives of Pec/Peje

15. Since 1990, the International archives of Pec/Peje appears to have operated as the City Archive of Pec,
rather that on a regional basis. The present Director says he was the first archivist appointed when the office
was established (in 1972?). Although some Albanians remained in post, he states that he lost his job in 1990.

16. No records from the archive were destroyed or damaged in the war, and holdings now total about 580
metres. Condition of the records are generally good, although some need conservation (which would
normally be done in Pristina). The building had been used by Serb officials in early - mid 1999, and some
material found from this period had been made available to war crimes investigators. Five new fonds had
been added since the Guide1 compiled in 1986, including two schools, the University of Workers, a sugar
beet factory and the reconstruction company IZGRADNJA. Communist Party records have not yet been
received, but these are believed to still be located in a building under KFOR control, from which it is hoped
they can be collected. There is no evidence of damage to the records held by record creators, and three of
these have already been inspected. However it is claimed that civil registration, cadastral court and land
measurement records were removed from the City Hall prior to the arrival of KFOR.

17. The office is housed in a former dairy, converted in 1972. Construction is pretty substantial, although the
roof may well need to be replaced in the near future. The Director requests additional storage space which
could be provided in an adjacent building owned by the Archive, although a considerable amount of work
would be required. At present there is no electricity or heating.

18. All office equipment was removed. There have never been either conservation or microfilming facilities
at Pec. There are at present seven workers, of whom five are qualified, three as archivists. This is the same
number of staff as when the office was established. Salaries have not been paid, but UNMIK has promised
that this will be resolved. The office operated under the standard local Yugoslav archive legislation.

19. Previously the Archive was monitored by and co-operated with the Archive of Kosovo. At present it has
links with the Archive of Kosovo, Dakovica/Gjakove and Prizren. At present neither the Museum nor the
Library (which is still occupied by KFOR) are operating in Pec.

20. The Office is open, and giving advice. Although no new records have been received since June, work is
in hand weeding and cataloguing backlog. Weeding work in progress, on records of the Economic School,
suggests many records from this collection are missing.


1
    Guide to Archives in the Yugoslav Federation . - Belgrade: Yugoslav Association of Archivists, 1986



                                                                                                             9
Priorities:
 Provision of a small generator to provide electricity (about 10KW)
 Provision of basic office equipment
 Access to microfilm facilities
 Access to transport and restoration of heating
 Refurbishment storage areas

V.      Historical Archive of Decane/Decan, Junik

21. The consultants were informed that the archive in Junik had been totally destroyed in March 1999, along
with many other properties in the area. It was not suggested that the archive had been singled out as a target.
It was claimed that the archive had been closed since 1990 when the Albanian staff had been dismissed,
although such a situation was not suggested in connection with any other archive offices.

VI.     Intercommunal Archives of Dacovica/Gjakove

22. The Archive is located in the ground floor of a mixed office/accommodation block, built possibly 30
years ago. As the archive opened in 1971, the building may have been (at least partially) custom built. It was
occupied by military forces during the conflict, and parts of the roof were opened up as a firing point. This
resulted in severe water damage to records stored below, many of which were destroyed.

23. Holdings total around 465 metres, but it is not clear if this includes material destroyed following the roof
damage. It is stated that some material was removed, including material from World War II (possibly fonds
1 and 2 on p 61 of the Guide) and the League of Prizren (according to the Guide possibly from fond 31,
which appears to be a collection of copy material). Many other records were destroyed locally, as part of the
widespread general destruction, including material at the TEQE, in local factories and when City Hall was
burnt down.

24. The building suffered a fair amount of damage during the war, with doors and windows broken, and
many metal cupboards rendered unusable. All office equipment has been removed. There have never been
microfilm or conservation facilities. At present there are only two workers (seven staff in 1992).

25. The office operates under the local Yugoslav archive legislation. At present it is in irregular contact with
UNMIK, but also in contact with the Interim Government. The office co-operates with the Archive of
Kosovo, Prizren and Pec, but has no contacts outside Kosovo. There were formerly links with the Archive of
Voyvodine and the National Archive in Tirana. Both the local library and museum are still closed as the
buildings are still in use by KFOR and UNMIK.

26. The service is open to the public for access and advice. Although no new records have been received
since June 1999, the consultants were told that a total of 96 fonds are now held. This is a major increase over
the 31 recorded in the Guide of 1986. Some cadastral court material was stacked up near a damaged window
prior to weeding.

Priorities:
 Repairs to the building to render it wind and watertight
 Restore permanent heating and lighting
 Provision of office equipment, transport, telephones etc.
 Increase staffing particularly to allow basic conservation work to clean and repack records
 Replace the storeroom under the damaged roof

VII.    Communal Archives of Prizren

27. When arriving at Prizren, the consultants were unable to locate the Archive. Apparently, following the
denationalization of property in August 1999, the Catholic Church reclaimed the building. Although the



10
consultants could not locate the Archive, or contact the Director, the Director of the Institute for Protecting
Monuments2 was able to provide the following information. The records from the archive are now stored in
the basement of the museum, although the staff are operating from a private house. The consultants were
unable to see the records as it was now late afternoon, and there was no electricity in the museum. Although
in 1987 there were 13 staff, there are now only six, including the Director, and they have great need of an
orientalist. Three of the staff are professionally qualified. All equipment was removed in early 1999. It is
believed that the archive offices at Orahovac/Rahovec and Suva Reka/Suhareke have been destroyed, and
also that records of industries and other material from City Hall has been taken to Novi Pazar.

Priorities:
 Full assessment of the situation
 Provision of suitable accommodation, even if on an interim basis
 Handing back the original building or provision of funds for construction
 Further investigation of the condition of the holdings and the needs of the service

VIII. Archives of Mitrovica

28. The Archive office of Mitrovica is located in the Cultural Centre, which is now under the direct
protection of KFOR troops. Although the building is part open to the public, the archive area is not. The
consultants were able to gain limited access. However, the storage areas were padlocked, apparently by the
Director who left in June 1999, and KFOR were not able/willing to force entry. Through the glass doors and
security grill, it was possible to see a short distance into the storage area, and from what was visible the
records appeared to be in good order and undisturbed3.

29. The consultants were able to look through the office areas, which again showed traces of military use,
including empty ammunition boxes and items of uniform. All office equipment had been removed, but
Registratura documentation was located and appeared to be in reasonable order. Some folders appeared to be
incomplete, but this may well have been where inspection had not been completed. Lists of records located
in schools were found, but many records in schools had been reported to be destroyed. An accession register
with the front pages torn out was found. The consultants were told that this was the original accession
register, which had been entered up in Albanian, but which later had been translated into Serbo-Croat and
the pages torn out. No other Accession Register was found.

30. In 1990 there were 11 staff, but Serbs gradually replaced Albanian staff, only two of whom remained.

31. The building is owned by the state, and does not appear to be in bad condition. The consultants were told
that the records were generally in reasonable condition, but that the storage areas would need to be ventilated
- which implies that the only ventilation is by means of the windows. Assuming no records have been
removed - and there is no indication of this - there are about 600 metres, comprising 112 fonds, 10 of which
have been received since 1986.

Priorities
 Resolving the question of access
 Analyse state of removal of records

2
   This includes the building where the Council of Prizren met in 1878, the original of which was totally destroyed in
1999. It has since been rebuilt to its original appearance
3
   On their return to Pristina, the consultants were told that UNMIK would be able to order the padlock to be
removed/forced. Once this has been done, it should be possible for Archive staff to be able to gain access. While in
Mitrovica the consultants learned of the activities of Habitat, an organization that has been carrying out work on
cadastral courts. In conjunction with UNMIK they have now created access (using local cadastral staff) to records at
Mitrovica, Leposavic/Leposaviq and Vicitrn/Voqiterne. Contact was established with Habitat in Pristina.




                                                                                                                     11
     Restoration of heating and lighting
     Staffing levels will need to be considered
     Check the state of records in the creating agencies
     Replacement of equipment
     Provision of transport facilities

IX.      Historical Archive of Vucitern/Vuqiterne

32. The building of the Historical Archives of Vucitern was located, and although no staff were present, the
consultants were told by local workmen that there are some. The building is that shown in the 1986 Guide,
and is secure and fairly weatherproof (on the basis of a quick external assessment). An adjacent part of the
same building is occupied by the Red Cross, and repair work is being carried out to that area. There is
evidence of some external repair work having been carried out to the archive area, and through a window it
was possible to see metal shelving, some of which contained archive material.

X.       Historical Archive of Gnjilane/Gjilan

33. Now called the City Archive, the Historical Archives of Gjilan occupies a shared building in the centre
of the town. It does not appear to be purpose built, and the floors in the office area (on first floor) are very
weak. Ventilation in the storage (on lower floor) is by the windows, which causes problems from dust etc.
There are metal shutters on the windows. The building is owned by the City.

34. The consultants found one staff member, a young archivist who had only been there for the past four
months. He provided the following information.

35. There is a total of 10 staff, five of whom are qualified. Three Albanians continued to work throughout
the 1990s, and there were no known problems or removals of records from the Archives4. It is thought that
cadastral records have been destroyed, which has resulted in a substantial number of requests from the
public to assist in providing documentation.

36. At present there are approximately 550 metres of records, comprising 35 fonds (there were 42 listed in
the 1986 Guide). There appear to be some Municipal Court and some Interior Ministry records in the
building used at present by UNMIK, and it is hoped that this might soon be sent to the Archive. Contacts
with UNMIK are good. Although an offer had been made to some of the former Serb employees to continue
working, none had stayed.

37. The Office does function as a regional archive, supervising Vitina/Viti and Kamenica/Kamenice. There
had been no problems at either of these sub-offices, although conditions were poor at Kamenica. Both are
small, holding less than 100 metres.

38. There has never been microfilming or conservation at the office. There are contacts with the Archive of
Kosovo and the local Cultural Centre and Library at Gnijlane.

39. The storage was secure, with metal window shutters, and some of it had been refurbished in 1998, with
new metal shelving. Although there was a potential dust problem (caused by location), the storage was well
organized and with some spare capacity. Overall probably the best maintained of the local archives the
consultants saw. Humidity was 40-45% and temperature 12-13° C, storage did not feel damp. Well advanced
work was in hand to sort out Communist Party material for the period 1945 - 1990.

Priorities:
 a need for basic office equipment
 Restoration of heating and lighting

4
   From information gathered by UNMIK, Civil registration material in the area had been gathered together in 1997,
and sent to Serbia.


12
     Increase assistance to the operation of UNMIK by providing information
XI.      City Archive of Pristina

40. The City Archive of Pristina was formerly located in a building in central Pristina, but in 1994 was
moved by Police to the Technical Faculty of the University of Pristina. In June 1996 the staff and records
were forcibly relocated to the Archives of Pristina. The records are stored in basements which at present are
very damp, although office space is acceptable. The City Archive and the Archive of Kosovo each have
separate staffing structures, finding aids and storage areas, and distinct budgetary provision. The Director
sees it as highly desirable that the City Archives relocates from its present home as soon as possible, mainly
due to the low quality of the storage (which is not in proper archive areas). There is no space for expansion
at the present location. A return to the Technical Faculty would be an improvement on the present position
as the storage there was better. The original archive building was destroyed by NATO aircraft as it had been
handed over for use by the JUL party.

41. Although established as the City Archive in 1969, the office operated as a regional archive from 1989.
Several of the smaller offices in its care have suffered severe damage. Glogovac/Gllogovc, Kacanik and
Shitime have been heavily damaged. Podujevo/Podjeve has been damaged, but some material survives.
Liljan/Lipjan, Obilic/Obiliq, Fushe Kosova, Novoberda, Urosevac/Ferizaj are described as not operating.
The consultants were later told that about 500 metres of records had been destroyed at Lipljan, including
court of justice, health and education material. No indication was given of the cause of damage. The Director
thinks about one kilometre of records has been destroyed in registries, in addition to what was lost in the
municipalities. In addition he believes about 11000 volumes were moved from small repositories, civil
registration offices and cadastral courts, probably to Kraljevo in Serbia. To the best of his knowledge, no
records have been moved to the archive in the last 12 months.

42. At present the Archive houses about 4764 metres of records. A further one kilometre of records in 14 of
the inspected institutions is at risk and in need of transfer. Examples cited included the Municipal Court of
Pristina and a primary school where there the record storage area is partly underwater. Of the records held,
only 70% are "regulated" i.e. sorted and catalogued. Physical condition of the records is generally poor,
although about 20% is in good condition. The Director has written to UNMIK asking for the archive to be
moved back to the Technical Faculty, and on another occasion, asking for a site on which to build a new
office, but so far without success. However, he did also say that UNMIK had promised on another occasion
that it would be possible to return to the Technical Faculty.

43. Most equipment was taken from the offices in 1999. In addition to replacements, to include five
computers, photocopier, additional phone lines and stationary, there is a need for de-acidification, binding
and microfilming equipment, and also associated conservation materials. Transport is also needed. The
Office has responsibility for 500 record creators, most of whom should be visited, and from many of whom
records should be collected.

44. In 1989, the office had 17 staff, at which time it held only 700 metres of records, comprising 88 fonds.
Before the events of 1999, there were 25 staff (9 Albanian, 14 Serb, 1 Turk, 1 Roma) many of whom were
unqualified. Now there are 13, 11 of whom are qualified - six to secondary school level, one Doctor of
Science, two professors, one Master and one candidate for Masters. It is claimed that before 1989 all Serbs
employed were qualified, but that after 1990 this was not the case. Some Serb staff have been invited back,
but none have so far returned.

45. The pre-1989 legislation is regarded as acceptable and workable. At present management is seen as
being through the Ministry of Culture of the Interim Government. Professional contacts existed formerly not
only with the other archives in Kosovo, but also Tirana, Nis, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Zagreb and Dubrovnik.

46. The service is open to the public. Most people are requesting copies of legal documents about
ownership, school records and building approvals.




                                                                                                           13
47. On visiting the storage, it appeared to be well run in the circumstances. Conditions felt damp, and there
was evidence of both mould and rodent damage, and probably some insect infestation. The shelving was old
and very full. The staff stated that it was the largest single archive in Kosovo. There appears to be air
handling, which is not working at present, and there was no electricity or heating (see Archive of Kosovo,
above). UV filter on at least some windows. The consultants were shown an example of the standard storage
box, make locally at a cost of 5DM. It would be useful to have the materials and construction closely
examined, by a conservator. As stated above, there may be a case to encourage future packing and storage in
Kosovan archives generally to be carried out to more rigorous standards.

Priorities:
 Restoration of heating and lighting
 Provision of basic equipment
 Relocation of the office, even if this is only on an interim basis
 Cleaning etc. before material can be moved without fear of latent mould remaining
 Specific programme to be initiated for cleaning and re-boxing the collections in this office

XII.     UNMIK and other international organizations

48. Part of the remit of the mission was to advise on the inclusion of archive and record management
components in UNMIK programme. While a major element of this relates to securing the historical archives
and the effective preservation of the records created by administrations prior to June 1999, attention must
also be given to the use and creation of records within UNMIK and the other three "pillars" of the
reconstruction programme. A further complication is the number of other agencies operating in Kosovo,
some in close association with UNMIK.

49. Due to the nature of the situation in Kosovo, UNMIK is attempting to establish systems to validate
personal identity and property ownership (among others). Much material which might assist in these tasks is
located in local record systems, some of which have survived in a fairly complete condition. Although there
are some instances of individual administrators, and in some cases organizations (such as Habitat) realising
the potential of local records. However, few if any realised that potentially there could be much helpful
material in the Archives. Interestingly there are indications that local people did realise this, and several
offices reported a steady flow of enquiries. This may reflect the routine and comparatively modern nature of
the content of record offices in the area - they are seen as places which can provide information or
documents, rather than raw material for research. This does imply that the loss and destruction of the small
local offices may have a greater disruptive effect on the local communities than might have been expected,
and that alternative methods of validating educational attainment (for example) may need to operate for a
considerable number of years.

50. In brief, the following would appear to be the necessary steps for UNMIK to adopt:
    Immediate translation of the 1986 Guide to Kosovan Archives, and a full list of contact details. If
     possible, a list of any additional fonds received by the archive offices since 1986 should also be
     included. Copies should be made available to UNMIK staff (and those of other agencies) with an
     appropriate covering letter explaining the context of the records, and in some cases, the likely content of
     fonds.
    Establish organized links with the local archivists. Also develop a joint policy to ensure that the local
     archivists are aware of UNMIK priorities, and so can assist in achieving these.
    Take steps within their own administration to ensure that full documentation is both created and
     preserved of all decisions affecting not only policy, but also individual cases of identity/civil registration
     and property ownership. A corollary is that any such record systems have to be created in a form which
     can be maintained and accessed locally in future. "High-tech" solutions should only be adopted after
     careful consideration, and establishment of electronic record management procedures. The records
     created by UNMIK must be created to appropriate international standards to allow full use to be made of
     them in the current context. At the same time, they will need to be in a form which can be available
     locally in the long term.


14
   Ensure that other agencies operating in Kosovo provide documentation of their activities, for
    preservation locally, probably in the Archives of Kosovo. There is certainly a need for greater
    co-ordination between the various bodies working with local record material in Kosovo, as the general
    unawareness within UNMIK of the work of HABITAT shows. In some instances such work may either
    be unnecessary due to the existence of archive material, or in other instances may actually place archival
    material at risk.
51. To achieve these steps, there has to be clear responsibility within UNMIK for archive and record
keeping. At present, assessment of the situation of historical records and assistance to local archive agencies
is seen as falling within the cultural sector. However, the nature of the record creation and preservation issue
within UNMIK (as well as the manner in which local Kosovars appear to use record offices) does suggest
that a link with the administration may be more appropriate. The importance of the issues of civil
registration and land ownership, suggest that the Department Head with responsibility for these would be the
appropriate senior officer within UNMIK.

52. The most obvious course would be to appoint an archivist/records manager within UNMIK to assist both
with the issue of UNMIK's own records, but also to provide guidance and liaison with the local archivists in
Kosovo. Familiarity with Serbo-Croat and the record keeping traditions of the former Yugoslavia would be a
great assistance in such work, and it might be appropriate to seek a secondment from either the Archives of
Croatia or Slovenia for such a task.

53. UNMIK may also be the appropriate body, in conjunction with the International Council on Archives, to
seek to begin discussions with the Directors of the Archives of Serbia and the Federal Archives of
Yugoslavia to bring about a satisfactory resolution of the difficulties over the location and access of records.
The Resolution passed by the Directors of Archives of the former Yugoslavia agreed in Dubrovnik in early
November 1999 may well provide a starting point for discussions, and its existence and content should be
more widely disseminated within Kosovo. It would appear that discussions have already started with Serb
officials on other record related matters, such as cadastral material.

XIII. National and University Library, Pristina

54. Although perhaps not within the mission's remit, the opportunity was taken to visit and assess the
situation of the National and University Library, particularly with regard to manuscript collections and
storage.

55. The director was attending a meeting in the Library of Congress, but the consultants were able to meet
with the keeper of Oriental manuscripts. The visit reinforced many of the comments made about the
operation of the Archives of Kosovo since 1990, with evidence of a policy of neglect. In addition to
discussing the situation at the National and University Library, the keeper of Oriental manuscripts also
referred briefly to the loss of many manuscripts in private hands, and in particular to the destruction of
manuscripts in the Teqe at Gjakova/Dakovica, and of collections of the Islamic Community of Kosovo in
Pristina.

56. Like the Archive of Kosovo, the Library was purpose-built in the 1970's and well equipped - it had
automated book ordering and delivery systems. Unfortunately some poor design aspects are now
exacerbating the problems caused by lack of maintenance and basic services. While the building and service
overall was neglected, the Oriental Manuscript and Albanian language printed collections suffered
particularly. Since documentation was not complete in 1990, it is not possible to be totally precise about
damage suffered. Manuscripts are now stored in a single room, and many are in poor condition. There is a
need to start conservation work soon. The Library has an Italian trained conservator, but there is a need for
refresher training and also replacement of conservation equipment (which was removed).

57. The book storage is underground and there are major problems with water penetration in the lowest
level. Water is standing on the floor, and some shelves are already rusting. The building (on a slope) appears
to have been constructed with a sump that required pumping out, but with the failure of the electricity and



                                                                                                             15
the removal of the back-up generator the situation has deteriorated rapidly. The bookstock is at substantial
risk, and failure to restore pumping will create a major problem due to the need to replace stock and
equipment. At present heating in the building is not functioning properly. Although the link to the city
supply is in the course of being restored, this will still need to be "boosted" to provide sufficient heating
levels.

58. Although the Library is open to students, lack of electricity is forcing early afternoon closure. The book
delivery system is not operating, and replacement parts are required. At present all productions are made
manually. The 68 staff working at present are unpaid.

59. Ca. 150 canisters of Kosovo Film material were found on the floor. It was suggested that this should be
shelved to reduce the risk of damage.

Priorities:5
 Provision of generator to operate pump to prevent major problems with large cost implications
 Restoration of electricity supply
 Repairs to book delivery system and lifts
 Provision of general office equipment
 Restoration of telephone lines
 Relocation of manuscripts to secure, controlled storage
 Conservation programmes with refresher training possibly in Italy?
 Provision of conservation materials and equipment in tandem with restart of conservation at
    Archives of Kosovo
 Replacement of Albanian texts destroyed in the 1990s (possibly through contact with other
    copyright libraries in the former Yugoslavia)
 Provision of modern student textbooks

XIV. Main Recommendations

(See also specific comments on offices visited in sections III to XIV above. Where possible the
appropriate organizations to lead necessary action have been identified.)

A.     Immediate Action
The following should be initiated immediately, with completion of set tasks by June 2000. These actions are
aimed at securing the safety of existing records, the prevention as far as possible of further deterioration, and
opening up access to the historical records to assist both the people of Kosovo and UNMIK. There is a
question as to whether any outside specialist help should be provided, particularly with regard to 1, 7, 8 and
9. All steps presume that UNMIK will seek to work with local archivists by providing basic resources and
facilitating access.

1 - Carry out a detailed survey (to fond or series level initially, and then more detailed) of all records lost
    /destroyed/removed and also of all buildings holding archives. (UNMIK/UNESCO/COE/ICA)

2 - Following on from A.1, it may then be necessary for a specialist conservator to visit to establish
    conservation surveys, and give guidance on future storage, packing and conservation policies.
    (UNMIK/UNESCO/COE/ICA)


5
   On return to their countries, Jackson and Stepniak undertook to contact Library professionals to investigate what
could be done. Specifically on the manuscript collections, there is a need for printed reference books, and also for
limited funds to allow the purchase of manuscripts which still exist in private hands, Dr. Krasniqi, Keeper of Oriental
Manuscripts, National and University Library, Pristina, sees these as being at great risk.



16
3 - Immediate work to secure records at risk (e.g. in damaged buildings, discontinued institutions or in
    partially damaged Record Office Buildings). The immediate priorities from among the offices visited
    are repairs at Gjakova, provision of alternative accommodation for Archives of Prizren, and relocating
    the City Archives of Pristina. Work should also commence immediately to transfer records from
    damaged government buildings to secure and weatherproof locations. (UNMIK)

4 - Access to all archival holdings for the appropriate staff, with arrangements made jointly by KFOR and
    UNMIK where required, e.g. to access records at Mitrovica. (UNMIK/KFOR)

5 - Sufficient resources/equipment for existing offices to provide a reasonable level of service to the public,
    and a reasonable level of record preservation. This must include restoration of electricity, heating and
    water supplies. Transport is necessary for many offices to enable collection of records. Basic equipment
    must be found both for office use and monitoring and control of storage. Offices should be in a position
    to accommodate searchers and provide copy documents. (UNMIK/ICA to try to arrange support
    from other archive services)

6 - Provide generator for national and University Library in Pristina to prevent further flooding of
    basement and resultant deterioration of holdings. (UNMIK/COE)

7 - Establish joint working party of UNMIK and Kosovan archivists to ensure best use of resources, and
    develop a coherent set of priorities for applying resources as these become available. Clear terms of
    reference would need to be framed. (UNMIK)

8 - Need for UNMIK and other "Pillars" to take proper steps to fully document their activities in an
    organized way, and to ensure that this information is available to the future citizens of Kosovo.
    (UNMIK)

9 - Dissemination (and probably also translation from Serbo-Croat and Albanian) of ARHIVSKI
    FONDOVI I ZBIRKE U SFRJ - SAP KOSOVO [Guide to the Fonds held in Kosovan Archives, 1986].
    As noted above, any additional fonds received by the archive offices since 1986 should also be included
    if possible. Copies should be made available to staff of all "pillars" of the interim administration,
    particularly UNMIK. (UNMIK/COE/ICA)

10 - Establishment at the earliest opportunity of a security microfilming policy and programme for key
     records.(ICA/Local Archivists)

11 - Make initial contact as soon as feasible with the Archive and other record keeping administrations of
     the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to achieve full exchange of information on location of archival
     material. When practical to proceed to discuss possible copying, access and long-term location issues.
     (ICA/COE)

12 - Organize, probably in mid-2000 a training event/conference for archive professionals in Kosovo. While
     this would provide an opportunity to commence introducing more rigorous operational standards, it
     would also be a useful "morale boosting" exercise, particularly if there was an international input. It
     should also focus on what the local archivists themselves perceive as the key issues of the next few
     years, and ideally lead to the formulation of an archive strategy for Kosovo. (ICA/COE)

B.    Longer term

Most of these points should be initiated as soon as possible, although some, such as B.1 are dependent on
developments beyond the control of the archive community.

1 - Assist Kosovan legislators in the preparation of appropriate archive legislation. The form this takes will
    depend on the political solution which evolves for the region. (ICA)




                                                                                                            17
2 - Provide refresher training for archive professionals, including conservators, and the development of
    future training capacity. Ideally, this should be commenced as soon as possible, but other matters may
    initially take priority. (ICA)

3 - Work towards a general upgrading of archive provision and professional standards. There was little
    indication of previous working to International Archival Standards, for example, on description, or
    storage. (ICA/UNESCO)

4 - Ensure sufficient levels of resources to carry out full conservation, restoration and copying
    programmes, and to ensure that recent events are fully documented. Historically, specialist conservation
    facilities have been centred at Pristina, and re-establishment of this approach is probably the best
    solution for the next ten years at least. Microfilming for all but the larger local offices also seems to
    have previously been carried out at Pristina, and it is again probably best to continue this. A
    proliferation of small under-resources local facilities would create a risk of failure to meet modern
    standards.(UNMIK/future administration)

5 - All future building work should aim to create conditions which are both more secure physically, and
    more weather proof. The need and desirability of having so many small, lightly constructed sites for
    long-term storage should be considered as part of the development of an archive strategy for Kosovo.
    Adoption of higher standards of packing and protection within storage area should be encouraged, as
    should the deposit of key security microfilm copies in safe locations. (ICA)

6 - Assist in re-establishing international and regional links (e.g. Conference attendance etc).
    (ICA/COE/UNESCO)

7 - Establishment of sound professional working relationship with the Archives of Serbia, Federal Archives
    of Yugoslavia, and others as appropriate. The principles agreed at Dubrovnik in November 1999 point a
    possible way forward. (ICA/COE)

C.    Strategic proposals

1 - Outline policy guidelines should be developed to assist UN Forces in determining what steps should be
    taken to ensure that records of importance both historic and administrative are not removed or
    destroyed when military intervention is carried out. (Blue Shield/ICA)

2 - Consider practicalities of developing short-term secure units for storage of key records at risk in the
    field, possibly by utilizing storage containers used for incoming equipment. The risk of unintentional
    damage to or loss of archives and records by peace-keeping organizations can be minimized by
    provision locally of such secure interim storage. (Blue Shield/ICA/UNESCO)




18
                       Annex 1 - Schedule of visits



3 December 1999   UNMIK
                  Council of Europe
                  Archive of Kosovo

4 December 1999   UNMIK
                  National and University Library, Pristina

5 December 1999   Sunday: no one contactable/available

6 December 1999   UNMIK
                  Film Archive of Radio Television Kosovo
                  National and University Library

7 December 1999   Intercommunal Archive of Pec/Peje
                  Intercommunal Archive of Dacovica/Gjakova
                  Communal Archive of Prizren

8 December 1999   Archive of Mitrovica
                  Historical Archive of Viqiterne/Vicitrn
                  Historical Archive of Gnjilane/Gjilan

9 December 1999   UNMIK
                  HABITAT
                  Archive of Kosovo
                  City Archive of Pristina
                  Initial recommendations to Mark Richmond, Education and Culture,
                  UNMIK




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                                  Annex 2 - List of persons consulted

   Mark Richmond, Education and Culture, UNMIK, Pristina (UNESCO)

   Eric des Pallieres, Documentation Officer, Civil Registration Section, UNMIK, Pristina

   Ulrich Bonner, Council of Europe, Pristina

   Marcus Adelsbach, Council of Europe, Pristina

   Jusuf Musa, Director, Archives of Kosovo, Pristina; and various of his colleagues

   Nehat Krasniqi, Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts, National and University Library, Pristina

   Clare Trevena, Television Development Officer, OCSE, Pristina

   Gezim Basha, Director, Archives of Pec/Peje

   Menduh Haxhibeqiri, Deputy Director, Archives of Dakovica/Gjakove

   Muhamet Shukru, Director of Institute for protecting Monuments, Prizren

   Osman Gashe, Archives of Mitrovica

   M. Samba, Deputy Municipal Administrator, UNMIK, Mitrovica

   Assistant Archivist, Archives of Gnjilane/Gjilan

   Pertti Onkalo, HABITAT, Pristina

   Jusuf Ismet, Director, Archives of Pristina

   Jusuf Osmani and other colleagues, Archives of Pristina

   Leo von Carlowitz, Land Registration, UNMIK, Pristina




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