The added value of digitisation

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 14.13.55The latest issue of FARO, Tijdschrift over Cultureel Erfgoed, is out!

The magazine features an article in which we discuss a few examples of the added value digitisation brings to documentary and other cultural heritage objects. With its magazine, FARO (a not-for-profit organisation supporting the sector of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in Flanders) reaches the cultural sector in Flanders and abroad.

The article (p. 21ff; in Dutch) emphasises the importance of online accessibility through digitisation, especially for documentary heritage: most of these objects are stored in dark, closed storage rooms and are only viewed by people who know exactly what they are looking for and where to find it. To open up documentary collections, metadata providers, Digitisation Department and IT (both soft- and hardware) work closely together with collection curators.

Online accessibility generates interest, both by the cultural heritage sector and its public and by researchers. The Ex Cathedra project and its successor Magister Dixit proved that interest in turn creates opportunities for collaboration, virtual reunification, and countless other possible developments.

As discussed in the DISH2015 ignite talk ‘Open Up!’, digitisation at the KU Leuven hugely benefits from its close connection to research, education and heritage at the University Library. So in addition to the benefits of high-quality digitisation projects like Magister Dixit, specific R&D projects offer major opportunities for a myriad of applications. Projects using RICH infrastructure for multi-spectral imaging, for example, allow for in-depth investigation of physical and material characteristics without touching the object itself and may in turn influence for example book restoration practices. The possibilities are endless.

Digitisation – it’s all about generating the bits and bytes and opening up the opportunity to get creative with the data!

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