Digitizing Ancient Manuscripts:
Both Ancient Manuscripts Physically and Ancient Manuscripts in Digital Format
Hendrikus Franz Josef, M.Si
Regional Library and Archive Office of
Preservation of library materials, in general, has two main elements, namely preservation in physical form and preservation of the value of information. The process of preservation in physical form is usually done by means of maintenance, care, preservation and repair. While preserving the value of information is done through letter transfer, language transfer and media transfer. Library media transfer is usually done on library materials that are of historical value, ancient manuscripts, rare books or library materials that have fragile physical conditions. However, the process of transferring conventional media by photocopying will usually further damage the physical library material so the library must have a policy of making copies in the form of digital media transfer in order to preserve the library material information. In addition, the transfer of media also has the potential to cause infringement of copyright, but it is important to remember that libraries as public institutions not only provide information services but also have the task of preserving human creations so that the works of copyright can be empowered throughout the ages. In order to preserve the value of information contained in library materials, the library must be able to protect and protect one's copyrights by implementing policies that favor the public interest while respecting the intellectual property rights of individuals and the community.
Nowadays humans live in the digital age, where almost all information needs, people can be easily accessed through digital technology. Information, before this time can be written and recorded through animal skins, rocks, and paper. But, over time, information can be poured in other media, namely digital media. Even non-digital documents must be digitized to ensure that the information contained therein can continue to be used and used for a long time. This activity is called preservation of library materials. Preservation is an activity that covers all aspects of business to preserve library and archival materials, including financial processing policies, personnel methods and storage techniques.
Preservation is carried out on the original form of library materials or archives collected by a particular institution/company. One of them is against ancient manuscripts and rare books of high value which are relics of past generations. A document that looks fragile like an ancient manuscript must be transferred or reformatted to extend the life of the document. This can be done by changing the form or format of the document into digital form. Even after ancient manuscripts are transformed into digital documents, it is very likely that damage will occur. In fact, when a document becomes digital, the risk of damage is even higher. Therefore, preservation activities also need to be carried out on digital documents. This activity is also called digital preservation activity. Digital preservation is a planned and managed activity to ensure that digital materials can be used as long as possible. Digital preservation also includes efforts to ensure that digital material does not depend on damage and includes various forms of activities ranging from simple activities to create imitations to digital transformation activities that tend to be complex.
Digital preservation can be carried out with six strategies, namely: 1. Preservation of Technology which is a form of maintenance and care for hardware and software that stores all digital sources. 2 Refreshment, i.e. copying from one media to another; 3.Migration and Repeat Format, i.e. the regular transfer of digital material from one generation of computers to a more recent generation; 4. Emulation, which is a refreshment process outside the system; 5. Data Archeology, which is extracting a digital media to find out the contents of the information; 6. Transfer of Media to analog form, is an activity to convert digital data into analog form, especially digital material which is difficult to be saved by other means above. Some preservation strategies are explained by these experts who later become theories or references in various libraries.
The Procedure and the Process of Digitizing
Transfer of digital media is one of the activities to preserve the treasury of the nation's culture by transferring the form from the original form to the form/digital media. Transfer of media is a digitizing process that is the process of transferring media from print media such as books, magazines, newspapers, photos and images into digital data that can be recorded, stored and accessed through computers or other digital media.
Some of the things that underlie the need for media transfer activities are:
1. Overcoming the constraints of lack of space
3. Development of information technology.
Constraints in the implementation of media transfer:
1. Human Resources
Rapid technological advances bring convenience to human life, but on the other hand these advances must be interpreted wisely and wisely so that we are not trapped into utilizing technological sophistication for things that are detrimental to others. Transfer of the media is only a process with advanced technology, but what needs to be watched is moral philosophy in advanced technology so that it can go hand in hand with human civilization and culture.
Digital preservation activities on ancient manuscripts are carried out on ancient manuscripts which are still in the form of paper and which are already in the form of microfilm. For manuscripts that are still in the form of paper, what is preferred is a manuscript whose form is already fragile/damaged. As for the microfilm, it is preferred for texts that cannot be read by images or writings in the micro reader. Digitizing activities from physical form to microfilm form is often done, and as time goes by and technology is advancing, scripts that are already in the form of micro films must also be digitized into CDs to make it easier to use, only requires a computer to read it, and does not require the micro reader.
When a mokro film is made digitized into a CD, then digital preservation must be planned. Because along with advances in information technology, the digital files stored on CDs must be moved again to an external hard disk. Therefore, digital preservation activities are ongoing activities that follow the progress of information technology every time.
The first thing that is certain is that the selection will be photographed first. Selection in terms of reading whether it can be read or not. If there are still undeads, then that must be photographed. Next we see whether these ancient manuscripts are fragile or not. If it's fragile and the binding is broken, then that's also a priority. But if for now, ancient manuscripts that have been really fragile have been photographed, then it's better now to focus more on collections on microfilm.
So the collection that takes precedence during the digitization process is a collection of ancient manuscripts that are fragile and damaged. The collection is photographed with a camera, and the results are entered into a computer which is then processed. In addition to the manuscript that has been damaged, the digitization process is also carried out on ancient manuscripts stored on CDs which were used as media transfer from microfilm. What manuscripts were selected were illegible which were then re-digitized. Most of the results of the CD from the microfilm transfer media are difficult to read when viewed from a computer. Therefore, digital ancient manuscripts that are in poor digital condition need to be digitized again to be readable.
Before carrying out digital preservation activities, ancient manuscripts created in paper form must first be made into a digital form which is also called the digitization process. The digitization process must be carried out the selection process of ancient manuscripts first to find out which one should take precedence.
After taking pictures of ancient manuscripts that need to be digitized, the next step is to process the images using a computer. The photos taken are all pages that are damaged until finished. After the left and right sides are inserted into a different file, then merging left and right side photo files are merged.
After the digital ancient manuscripts are combined and become complete files, their format is JPG because it is the result of photographs. This format is too large, so it must be changed to PDF. The PDF format is used so that ancient manuscripts are not easily manipulated and remain protected as given footer or password. Ancient digital manuscript files are scaled down to make it easier to use, so the computer doesn't hang quickly.
Before carrying out digital preservation activities, ancient manuscripts were created in the form of paper first made into digital form which is also called the digitizing process. The digitization process itself must be carried out through the selection process of ancient manuscripts to find out which ancient manuscripts should come first. Prioritized collections are ancient manuscripts that are fragile and damaged. The collection is photographed with a camera, and the results are entered into a computer which is then processed. In addition to the manuscript that has been damaged, the digitization process is also carried out on the manuscript that is stored on a CD which used to be a media transfer from microfilm. Manuscripts are selected which are not legible which then do the digitization again. Most of the results of several CDs from microfilm media are difficult to read when viewed from a computer. Therefore, when viewed from a computer. Therefore, digital scripts whose digital conditions are not good need to be digitized again so that they can be read in digital form which is not good digital conditions need to be digitized again so that they can be read.
After the digitization activities of the ancient manuscripts are completed, the next step is to perform maintenance or preservation of these ancient manuscripts. Based on the six digital preservation strategies described above, the preservation activities of ancient manuscripts are carried out, namely:
A. Preservation of Technology. Technology Preservation is the activity of careful maintenance of all hardware and software used to read, process or run a particular digital material. Material may be lost or may not be used again if the machine in the form of hardware and programs Then perform technology preservation activities on the hardware and Then perform technology preservation activities on the hardware and software used to process and store ancient manuscripts that have been digitized.
The hardware used is a computer with a Windows operating system, while the software is the Basic File Renamer which is used for assigning numbers, names, merging files, reducing file sizes, and transferring formats from JPG to PDF. Preservation of technology is done on ancient manuscripts that have been digitized that are stored on CDs, microfilms, and hard disks in computers and external hard drives. The external hard disk that is used is damaged 1 terabyte and above. It is recommended that ancient manuscripts stored on CDs and microfilms be transferred to an external hard disk, unless there are ancient manuscripts that have not been digitized.
B. Refreshment. The next strategy is refreshment. Refreshing activities are the easiest activities to implement. Because this activity does not require a lot of money, it just spends a lot of time considering the many existing collections. Refresher activities carried out on a collection of ancient manuscripts that have been stored on CDs, diskettes, or hard disks. This preservation activity is important because the nature of storage media is increasingly experiencing rapid development of information technology. To avoid data loss due to improper and outdated storage space, refreshing needs to be done.
This refreshing activity indeed takes a long time, because it has to copy rom a CD to an external hard disk. After that the ancient manuscripts n the hard disk must be copied again to another external hard disk wned by the information technology department as a backup. Copying akes days. This activity is carried out to make it easier for users ecause they do not have to see the original script. Refreshing activities re also considered effective because the data copying is done in its ntirety without changing the contents of the data in the slightest, so that fter being moved, the data will look the same. At present, refreshment ctivities are digital preservation activities that are most easily carried ut in all types of libraries.
C. Migration. Migration is the periodic transfer of digital material fromhardware/software configuration to another or from one generation computers to a more recent generation. Migration of ancient manuscripts hat have been digitized into the form of an external hard disk. The collection is a collection that was originally in the form of aCDand then transferred to an external hard disk. In addition, migration activities are carried out due to software changes Whooriginally used Windows and now use Macintosh. Because software commonly used in digital file processing on Windows computers now annot be used anymore on Macintosh.
In this migration activity it is not so difficult, it's just necessary to adapt to the new operating system. Because the new operating system that uses Macintosh must use Adobe Acrobat Professional. In addition to the adaptation migrations performed, migration activities are also carried out for formatting, namely changing a digital file format from one format to another, in this case what is being done is changing the JPG digital file format to PDF format. After that, the file size must also be reduced using the same software to make it easier to download.
Digital conservation has two definitions. The first is the use of digital as a preservation technique, and the second is a method for keeping digital material alive so that it can be utilized. While in the book Digital Preservation and Metadata: History, Theory, Practice the term digital preservation refers to the preservation of material or collections created in digital format and never available in printed or analog form and using imaging or recording technology to create digital copies of formatted material analog for the purpose of ease of access and preservation. In addition, digital materials both digitally created and those that are converted into digital form are both at risk of technical error and destruction.
According to Peter Graham (1995), preservation activities for digital collections can be classified through three activities, namely:
1. Preservation of Storage Media.
Preservation of storage media focuses on preservation of media activities that store information on tape, disks, CD-ROMs and others. This activity needs to be done because this storage media is access that must be maintained and maintained in such a way so that users can find information back on this media. This activity can be done by copying into similar media or media with different types.
2. Preservation of Harware.
As we know, technology is developing very fast. Even within a period of five years, a piece of software can come out with some new, better and growing versions. This also applies to hardware. By therefore, archivists must be careful of the obsolescence of technology used to store digital documents or to access digital document
3. Intellectual Peservation.
Digital collections are still very fragile in legal and copyright protection, because digital information can be easily copied without any difference. Even though there is now an electronic signature and watermark technologist, this is still something that must continue to be developed so that the originality in the information contained in digital documents can continue take place continuously.
Digitization activities from the physical form to the form of microfilm have been carried out since the 1990s in general. With the advancement of information technology, ancient manuscripts that have been stored in micro films must be converted to a CD or to an external hard drive. When ancient manuscript in the form of micro films are converted to CDs or external hard drives, then from there digital preservation must be planned. Because along with advances in information technology, therefore, digital preservation activities are ongoing activities that follow the technological advances of each time
1. Library Institution Policies and Regulations.
Every organization or institution must have a policy to regulate all activities in the organization.The policy was made to provide limits and references of activities that must be carried out to suit the objectives. The absence of a standard policy regarding digital preservation causes difficulties in carrying out digital preservation activities at each library institution. So the library institution must create Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) itself. This is very unfortunate considering that preservation activities are very important. Although ancient manuscripts have been repaired if damaged, detailed policies do not exist. This shows that the lack of attention to digital preservation activities.
2. Human Resources.
One important part in carrying out an activity is human resources. Because they are responsible for the activity. Human resources in the case of digital preservation are officers or managers of the preservation room who carry out all preservation activities. In terms of quantity of human resources in the field of preservation is classified as less, in general the number is lacking and the skills are not sufficient.
3. The budget
In carrying out every activity in an institution or organization, it certainly requires a budget of funds, including preservation activities. Digital preservation activities are carried out to save and extend the age of ancient manuscripts digital form. This activity certainly requires quite a lot of funds considering that the tools used are digital devices. The availability of funds will also affect the quality and choice of good strategies for digital preservation.
4. Outdated Information Technology Equipment.
In the traditional world many objects will survive for a long time even if they are abandoned. Digital objects will only survive if people make plans and systematically think about the survival of these objects in a sustainable manner. Issues around digital inheritance have become so complex that efforts are being made by universities, institutions and businesses to develop ways to preserve data created in digital form. The goal: so that the data can still be understood for decades and hundreds of years to come.
In the future, information seekers will at least need a method for extracting information from storage media that now already exists, and which will later be available. This kind of facility is definitely not available anymore or cannot be used anymore. When, for example, did you last see a floppy disk drive? An organization or institution that pays attention to preservation of digital collections will always move information from the old system to the newer regularly.
In connection with the development of the concept of digital libraries, preservation becomes a matter that must be considered. This preservation activity becomes a must or absolute, especially considering the rapid growth of digital products. In this context, all types of preservation including digital preservation are planned and managed activities to maintain the contents of a digital document so that a digital object can continue to be used as long as possible. Digital preservation activity is actually making sure the information stored in digital media can still be accessed by anyone who needs it both now and in the future. Digital and non-digital preservation is different, therefore, there are several strategies in digital preservation so that in practice can consider risk. Therefore, when digitizing ancient manuscripts, you should also consider the preservation of the document.
he library keeps a collection of ancient manuscriptswhich are available in various types, most of which are based on organic and synthesis and susceptible to the threat of damage. Material damage in the library is the result of the activities of various physical, biological and chemical elements found in the library environment. In many cases, damage to the material in the library occurs due to the reaction between the element with the substance contained in the library material. Climate, humidity, temperature, and location of the library are factors that can influence these three elements to shorten the life cycle of library materials. Libraries in Indonesia naturally have challenges in different environmental conditions from libraries in Europe where the temperature is cold.
For example, dust and sand will be a major threat to libraries located in desert areas. On humid plains, dust and dirt can fertilize mold growth and rapidly damage library collections. Dust mixed with dirty air can facilitate mold growth and cause damage to the paper due to increased acid content. A surprising fact was revealed based on research that as many as forty percent of the total number of ancient manuscripts in Indonesia were badly damaged. In other words, each library has different preservation challenges. However, all try to preserve library collections, even in the midst of environmental threats that are less friendly.
Librarians often strive to provide access to various sources of information and how to use them without regard to the physical damage caused by the use of library material very often. Careless users also often cause no small damage to ancient manuscript material. As a result, many ancient manuscripts were damaged and could not be repaired. Various physical, biological and chemical elements found in the library environment such as light, temperature, humidity, pollutants, dust, dirt, mold, insects, humans, disasters, and the physical condition of the material itself also play a large role in this regard. Therefore, strategic and appropriate steps are needed in an effort to preserve ancient manuscripts.
The purpose of preserving digital library materials is actually to make sure the information stored in the digital media can still be accessed by anyone who needs it both now and in the future. Therefore, when you are going to digitize documents, you should also consider the preservation of documents that will be done. Indonesia is known as a nation that likes to make or build something nice and interesting but is not good at caring for it so that it eventually becomes damaged.
Digital preservation activity is actually making sure the information stored in digital media can still be accessed by anyone who needs it both now and in the future. Preservation librarians should have special knowledge about preservation so that library collections that require special handling are not treated haphazardly. Preservation officers should be given special training on how to preserve digital according to established standards and rules. Libraries that have taken the decision to do digital preservation should consider the risks for each digital format that they want to preserve, because each format is directly related to the software and hardware that runs it.
Borghoff, Uwe M. Et Mia, Long Term Preservaton for Digital Documents: Principlesand Practices.
Conway, Paul. Preservation in the Age of Google: Digitization, Digital Preservation, and Dilemmas, The Library Quarterly 80.1, 2010;
Graham, Peter. Preserving the Digital Library: Long Term Preservation of
Electronic Materials, a JISC/British Library Workshop 27-28 November, 1995;
Hedstrom, Margaret, Digital Preservation: a Time Bomb for Digital Libraries, Computers and the Humanities 31.3, 1997;
Jones, Maggie, and Neil Beagrie, Preservation Management of Digital Materials: a Handbook.
Kumar, S., and Leena Shah, Digital Preservation of Manuscripts: a Case Study, 2004;.
Lazinger, Susan S., Digital Preservation and Metadata: History, Theory Practice,
Nelisa, Marta.,Pelestarian Naskah-Naskah Kuno di Museum Nagari Adtyawarman Sumatera Barat, Jurnal. FBS: Universitas Negeri
Rachman, Yeni Budi. The use of Traditional Conservation Methods in the Preservation of Ancient Manuscripts: A Case Study from
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Ziedan, Youssef, The Preservation, Study and Presentation of Manuscripts at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Museum International 57.1-2, 2005.
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