Digiteca Arcanum: a journey into the past

by Teodor Costăchioiu

Some time ago, I was looking for historical information online. Browsing from page to page, I discovered an exceptional site: Digiteca Arcanum, a portal offering access to an extensive collection of digitized Romanian historical publications, including newspapers and magazines. It’s just the kind of site you didn’t know you needed until you tried it.

The site is created by Arcanum Adatbázis Kft, a Hungarian company specializing in digitizing historical documents. It is a big slap in the face to the Romanian state that only boasts about digitization but, in reality, is only able to offer empty words. Instead the Hungarians have actually managed to make something that works. They even managed to provide text search in PDFs.

➡Do you want to know what was going on in our country before the communists came to power? We have Monitorul Oficial and an extensive collection of newspapers of the time available.

➡️Do you miss the time under the communist regime? Read the Scînteia newspaper collection, you might get over it.

➡The 1990s-2000s period is also well covered. The press of the time covered everything from the haunted story of Hotel Cișmigiu to the 2000 elections, when Iliescu and Vadim Tudor were fighting for the Cotroceni, from Caritas to the bankruptcy of Bancorex.

If you just want to try it out, the platform allows you to create a free account, which gives you limited access to its collections. For full access, there are several pricing plans available; find them here. To me, the best offer seems to be the one-year payment at the price of 24 lei per month. There is also the option to purchase gift vouchers for 6 or 12 months, good for surprising history buffs.

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