The Curator in the Machine: balancing accessibility and experience in digitizing the Islamic manuscript collection of the National Library of Israel

Speaker: Samuel Thrope (National Library of Israel) @SamuelThrope

The talk focuses on a particular challenge here at the NLI in digitizing our Islamic manuscript collection: for decades, the collection was catalogued and curated almost exclusively by one extremely knowledgeable scholar, Efraim Wust, who employed an idiosyncratic cataloging system and language of his own design. The challenge we face today is translating that system into a digital repository that will be accessible and transparent to all without losing Efraim's vast knowledge, experience, and familiarity with the collection, as embodied in his own, handwritten catalogue. Other libraries and archives, to a greater or lesser degree, face similar challenges in transitioning from the personal and analog to the public and digital.

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