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Polish University Digitizes 800,000 Pages of Historical Documents for Internet Access

Wroclaw University Library in Poland has digitized nearly 800,000 pages of European manuscripts, books, prints, maps, and music, some of which date back to the Middle Ages. The documents had been accessible to only a handful of students and scientists but the university can now provide access to the material to anybody over the Internet.

The digitization is part of a national scientific project to preserve and digitize historical documents, and it creates the largest digital archive of medieval manuscripts and ancient geographical atlases in Poland. Approximately 1,100 medieval manuscripts were digitized, more than 140 documents underwent conservation, and the library is publishing a 360 page album of material. Digitized documents include early publications of Martin Luther, Miguel de Cervantes, and William Shakespeare.

The university worked with IBM to select and implement the digitization solution. IBM designed an IT platform based on IBM System x 3550 M3 servers, IBM Storwize V7000 Unified Disk Systems, and IBM System Storage SAN24B-4 Express storage systems. The system uses the IBM System Storage Easy Tier function to manage frequently used data automatically and eliminate the need for manual intervention when requesting large volumes of information. It has a total capacity of 300 terabytes.

The university is using the solution to collect, preserve, store, manage, and index content including text, images, audio, and video. The library now functions as an educational resource for students and researchers around the world, and readers can quickly explore and view the library's document archive online. "...[I]t will be now easier for the library to collect, manage and catalog content, ensuring Europe and the world benefit from Poland's great cultural heritage," said Grzegorz Dobranowski, business partner organization director for IBM Poland, in a prepared statement.

Wroclaw University is a is a public research university located in Wrocław, Poland. The Wroclaw University Library was founded in 1811.

The Digital Library of Wroclaw University can be found at bibliotekacyfrowa.pl.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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