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New perspectives to save cultural heritage
Altan, M. Orhan

CI PA 2003 XIX th International Symposium, 30 September - 04 October, 2003, Antalya, Turkey
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Picture 3: part of the first book for lawers, Austria, 1528
Since the settlement of the Benedictine order in 1809 the
monastery St.Paul of the Lavanttal became the most important
treasury in Carinthia. The first reference in a document can be
found in 1091, when the monastery was build by Engelbert I.
Today not only the abbey and the monastery are worthwhile
visiting but also the extensive library, consisting of thousands
of books starting with handwritings of the early middle ages.
Many of them are sent to exhibitions all over the world during
the year. But most of the time the valuable examples are stored
in a darkened room at the ground floor, where the humidity is
relatively high, thus the pergament and paper with its drawings
and gold plates stays flexible, which would lead to broken
pages and destruction of the books otherwise.
Exploring this old part of the library still can lead to in
surprising results, like in 2001 when two unknown pictures of
Albrecht Dürer were found in a book.
The general idea of the project “digital library” was to digitise
the most important and beautiful writings of the library and to
make them accessible to a wide public in a cheap and educative
way. This means that an expensive facsimile print has to be
avoided and additional information about the object and its
history should be added. The only media following these
requests are digital ones - the internet and the CD-Rom or
To guarantee full access to important writings, every page
without cropping and including the front- and back cover is
documented at the present state.
Depending on the latest restoration, very new book covers can
be found for very old handwritings. Although the cover does
not match the content, the documentation of the whole is very
important for the identification of the book.
There are several possibilities for the way of recording. On the
one hand a complete digital recording with a high end scanner,
resulting in 120MB file sizes, was suggested, on the other hand
the traditional photography of reproduction was an opportunity.
The discussions and considerations resulted in the analogue
photography which has to meet some requirements to the
planned procedure.
The reasons for this decision were following reflections:
• The digital scanner needs some minutes for the registration
of one single page. During this process the instrument is
sensitive to vibrations. To avoid influences on the photo a
steady underground - like concrete - should be used.
According to the high security level these objects are
concerned with, it was not possible to find a respective
room like the requested in the monastery.
• When thinking of a library of hundreds of books, the
digital files request a big amount of storage memory,
which has to be saved. This means that the continual costs
are expanding, without knowing the development of
storage qualities and quantities in future.
In addition the project could not be restricted to a certain
amount of books. Instead the chance to include other
libraries could be given, resulting in an exhausting amount
of data. Therefore the infrastructure to save these digital
data including the staff to take care of the system was not
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Picture 5: the first book for lawers, Austria, 1528