Bolshoi Theatre and ABBYY bring together thousands of volunteers to put legendary heritage online

July 14, 2017

Over 4,000 volunteers from 60 countries have helped to digitise 48,000 historic posters, 120,000 programs and 100,000 rare photographs from the 240-year archives of the Bolshoi Theatre Museum. These impressive results have been achieved during stage one of the international crowdsourcing project Discover the History of the Bolshoi Theatre ( first launched by ABBYY and the Bolshoi in October 2016.

Now, during stage two, these historic artefacts, a valuable part of the world cultural heritage, will be analysed using artificial intelligence and published on the Theatre’s website as a database created by KAMIS, an archiving system for museums and libraries. This project promises to rediscover and preserve the unique collection for the generations to come as well as make it accessible to a much wider audience.

Ballet and opera enthusiasts all over the world will be able to view one-of-a-kind historic posters, unique programs and repertoire from the 18th century. They will have an opportunity to learn more about legendary dancers and opera singers and gain unique cultural insights. For example, the Theatre’s World War II collection conveys extraordinary stoicism and inspiring devotion to art as a vital human need and a powerful force defying war.

Throughout the project, the full scope of ABBYY’s AI technologies is being mobilised to empower intelligent capture from digitisation to the extraction of data.

During stage one, ABBYY FineReader, an all-in-one PDF solution with advanced optical character recognition capabilities, was used to convert document files into a digital format. The captured text was scrupulously verified by volunteers to find and correct mistakes that can occur during digitisation. The project united programmers, teachers, photographers, journalists, historians, artists, and students from different countries.

During stage two, ABBYY text analytics software will process and categorise the unstructured data, connect names and roles and put the information into the correct database fields. The results will be checked by volunteers across many locations as the web-based interface of ABBYY data capture solution makes verifying the data simple.

This information will then be returned to the museum experts for further analysis and published on the Bolshoi’s website, easily accessible and searchable.

“When we started the project, we did not expect that so many volunteers would apply to their scrupulous and diligent work with such readiness and enthusiasm. We are happy to call them our friends, friends of the Bolshoi Theatre, and see the tremendous progress we have achieved with their help. Keeping up with the schedule, we are starting stage two of Discover Bolshoi’s History”, comments Vladimir Urin, the General Director of The Bolshoi Theatre.

ABBYY and the Bolshoi Theatre invite new volunteers to join the Discover Bolshoi’s History project and help fulfil its mission: rediscover, preserve and share the Bolshoi’s invaluable heritage with the world.

The storage solution for the processed data is provided by NetApp, a technology partner of the project.




The Bolshoi Theatre:



ABBYY is a leading global provider of document recognition, content capture and language-based technologies and solutions that help people and businesses to action information. The company sets the standard in content capture and innovative language-based technologies that integrate across the information lifecycle. ABBYY solutions are relied on to facilitate communication, optimize business processes, mitigate risk, accelerate decision making and drive revenue. ABBYY technologies are used and licensed by some of the largest international enterprises and government organizations, as well as SMBs and individuals. The company maintains offices in Australia, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Taiwan, the UAE, the UK, Ukraine, and the United States. For more information, please visit

ABBYY and the ABBYY Logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of ABBYY Software Ltd. Other product names mentioned herein may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners and are hereby recognized.


Media Contact:

Catherine Matantseva

Public Relation Manager