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Subject: Digitization

Digitization

From: Walter Henry <whenry>
Date: Thursday, May 24, 1990
The following is reprinted utterly without permission from Bay Area
Computer Currents (May 22 - June 21, 1990.  p24).

    Ancient Spanish Documents to be Digitized

    IBM is using its image-processing technology to preserve more than
    eight million fragile documents, volumes and maps that relate to
    Spain's exploration of the New World.  The materials are part of a
    centuries-old treasure trove of carefully preserved records housed
    in the ornate Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain.

    Image processing is the technology that makes it possible to scan
    any type of information --including fragile handwritten documents--
    for transformation into digitized electronic images.  The images
    scanned for this project will be stored on optical discs and
    retrieved and displayed on and IBM Personal System/2 computer
    screen.  Various methods will be used to improve readability, such
    as zooming in on sections of a document of changing contrast.  "With
    this new technology, the IBM Spain Scientific Center in Madrid is
    working with funding and support from the Ramon Areces Foundation
    and Spain's Ministry of Culture to capture and preserve handwritten
    documents which otherwise would decay over time," said Rafael
    Aguilar, manager of technology and external programs at IBM Spain.

    This work is performed in a building called the Lonja, built by
    King Phillip II in 1538 as a place for merchants to carry out their
    trade. Toward the end of the 18th century, the building was
    converted into the Archive, which today housed 5.6 miles of shelves
    containing some 82 million pages of manuscript texts and almost
    7,000 maps and drawings.

    IBM spokesperson Arthur Hill said, "This collaboration by IBM is
    being done for research purposes and is not a commercial project.
    It is a big job and will take many years to complete.  The work
    finished by 1992 will be demonstrated during the events celebrating
    the 500th anniversary of Columbus' first voyage to America."

        --- Barbara E. McMullen & John F. McMullen, Newsbytes

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                   Conservation DistList Instance 4:5
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Received on Thursday, 24 May, 1990

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