Recent reports show that many libraries and universities are embracing efficient document management systems to ensure efficiency and improved user experience. The Vatican Apostolic Library has joined this group of enthusiasts. They have started a pilot project to digitize around 82,000 historical manuscripts, comprising more than 41 million pages. Founded by a 15th century Pope, this ancient library also contains priceless works of mathematics, science, law and medicine from the earliest times up to the present day. Apart from setting up an efficient system for document management, the library aims to make the manuscripts accessible online. The first stage of the project that involves document scanning and digital archiving of around 3000 handwritten documents is expected to be completed over the next 4 years. All 82, 000 manuscripts are expected to be available online in due course.
The cost of the project estimated at more than $20m will be borne by NTT Data Technology Company based in Japan. This company provides outsourcing services to clients in over 40 countries and is highly experienced in digitizing rare manuscripts.
Technicians from NTT will work in collaboration with Vatican librarians. For document scanning, they will make use of NTT scanners, suitable for handling fragile and brittle manuscripts and archive software to manage the collection.
Usually, the digital camera/scanners used for image capture should be non-touch devices, designed to handle fragile and brittle manuscripts. Captured images can be subjected for image processing, and stored in the required file format.
Advantages of Digitization
The manuscript department of the Vatican library contains literary materials (around 80,000 volumes) and archival collections (around 75,000 volumes of documents). These unique pieces of information should be protected at any cost to carry over the traditional ancient literature to future generations. An efficient digital document management system would help in the following ways.
- Speed up search methods
- Broaden accessibility
- Create a ‘back up’ copy for the endangered materials
- Reduce the handling and use of fragile manuscripts
- Save storage space
Businesses that aspire to have a more structured workflow pattern for document management opt for digitalization. Many of the firms are weaning off from old outdated conversion techniques to adopt complex document management software for advanced document indexing and increased flexibility. If implementing advanced document management standards in-house is challenging in terms of cost and time, there is always the option of partnering with a professional document management company to ensure streamlined functioning and maximum productivity.