Digital unification: back to square one

NYFFENEGGER, Isabelle and BASSE, Anaïs (2019) Digital unification: back to square one. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 189 - Rare Books and Special Collections.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Digital unification: back to square one

In this paper, we examine digital unification as a way to safeguard, disseminate and enhance collections scattered around the world in the course of time. Documentary cultural heritage artifacts and collections have, over time and due to a wide variety of circumstances, found their way in countries and memory institutions thousands of miles away from their original location. Technological advances of the past decades now make it possible to digitally bring together collections thus, providing a fuller view of interconnecting cultures and history as well as providing access to s a wider audience and researchers wherever they may be. In order to bring the ongoing conversation a step further and to foster digital unification of documentary heritage, IFLA set up in April 2017 a working group. The IFLA Digital Unification Group has been working since on establishing a set of recommendations for implementing collaborative digital unification projects. The group launched a survey in 2017, all projects selected for the study have in common to be international cooperation initiatives and to focus on digital reconstitution or compilation of sets of documents dispersed in cross-border collections and representing either a documentary / unity, in terms of national heritage, language, religion or culture, or a geographical unity arising from a common history. The analysis of the data, drawn from the case studies, allowed the group to issue guidelines providing both a guiding thread to undertake digital unification projects, with a list of issues to consider, and suggested best practices to support decision making. To illustrate the approach, a case study based on the Shared Heritage collection of the French national Library is proposed in the current article. Launched in 2018, this collection aims at safeguarding, collecting, sharing an enhancing a shared heritage between France and various geographical areas.

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