In September 2019, Prozhito: Center for the Study of Ego-Documents was founded at the European University at St. Petersburg. The main objective of the center is to build a digital archive of ego-documents, including diaries, journals, memoirs, autobiographies, and personal correspondence. The center will soon launch several new initiatives. These include the creation of a digital archive of “naïve” poetry and literature, written folklore, and children’s drawings; a database crosslinked to other archival collections; and an online tool that allows families to create their own digital archives.
Launched in 2014 as an independent project, Prozhito was initially devoted to the creation of a digital database of personal diaries. Prozhito continues to offer scholars and interested readers the ability not only to read individual diaries, but also to search and work with an entire corpus of texts. The database includes both published diaries as well as diaries discovered by the Prozhito team. We are interested in all Russian/Soviet/post-Soviet diaries, regardless of the age and social origins of the author. For Prozhito, every diary matters. At present, our bibliography consists of more than 4,000 diaries, and the online database includes more than 1,700 of these texts (a total of 450,000 diary entries).
From 2014 to the present, Prozhito has been as a civic initiative. We work together with diarists, their heirs, and volunteers to bring diaries to the public domain. To date, more than seven-hundred volunteers and three-hundred students have joined our team in transcribing manuscripts and digitizing both published and unpublished diaries.