The digital archive of the eastern manuscripts of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Dagestan Scientific Center of RAS

The digital archive of the eastern manuscripts of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Dagestan Scientific Center of RAS

In March 2017, as part of the “Cultural Heritage 2.0” international program, the Peri Foundation launched a project to make a digital archive of the eastern manuscripts of the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Dagestan Scientific Center of RAS. The plans are to digitalize thousands of eastern manuscripts and books kept both in the Institute’s archive and in private collections on the territory of the Republic of Dagestan.

Especially for the purposes of the project, as ordered by the Foundation, a unique widescreen scanner was developed and delivered to Dagestan. To store, process and catalogue a hi-tech server was acquired capable of storing 75 terabytes of the digitalized books. To compare, this volume is equal to 16000 DVDs or 18.5 mln high quality photographs. 

In the course of the project, a time consuming work to digitalize the eastern rarities is being performed. By now about 1000 manuscripts are digitized. All of them are previously made dustless and cleaned. Moreover, the identification, the archeographical description and the compilation of the manuscript database were carried out. For example, a particular number is assigned to each manuscript and the description provides information about the language of the manuscript, its title and subject, the author, the date of hand copying, the person who did the copy and the place of copying. All descriptions are made in two languages, English and Arabic. Describing the manuscripts, the experts took into account the experience in creation of electronic catalogues of the world’s largest libraries where Arabic-language manuscripts are kept (Alexandrian, British, Berlin, Jerusalem, Leiden and others).

As part of the project it is planned to deliver the second scanner which will speed up the process significantly. 

The created digital manuscript archive will be available for the scientists worldwide.