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Tools for digitisation of museum and archive collections

6 museus

Digitisation of Barcelona’s rich archives of books, manuscripts, photographs and other documents will enable this unique record of Catalan culture to be better shared with citizens.



The archives and museums of the Institute of Culture of Barcelona have large amounts of documents (including pre-19th century books, manuscripts, incunabula (books printed 1450-1500), archive collections and documents, post-19th century books, photographs, glass plates, slides and negatives, and plant collections) that make up the historical memory of the city, its citizens, and its relationship with the rest of the world. It is a unique collection of great value and major importance mostly awaiting digitatisation that needs to be preserved and opened up to citizens.

Currently, the different archives and museum content of the Institute of Culture of Barcelona are being digitised in small quantities according to the operative and budgetary capacity of each case. With limited resources for the large collection in need of digitisation, the winning solution will provide technology that can deliver this process to the highest international standard, but also quickly and in an agile way.

Barcelona is looking for a solution that can digitise 320,000 pages from books and documents from different historical and photographic archives and museum libraries during 2015.

The technological and logistical solution that Barcelona is looking for will be capable of digitising large volumes of a variety of documents, optimising costs, providing quality to the process and ensuring a return on investment for the citizens. The technological solution should fulfil the following conditions for digitisation:

  • Allowing each institution to work in situ to reduce the insurance and transport costs.
  • Allowing the treatment of collections of diverse nature, format and characteristics (manuscripts, books, posters, photographic negatives, etc.).
  • Optimising the cost and quality of the digitisation to create copies of the original material suitable for their preservation, broadcast and dissemination.
  • Optimising the processes of digitisation to create digital copies in the shortest possible time.
  • Contemplating the creation of a high security deposit that allows the management of large amounts of data and the subsequent transfer of the digital copies to the repositories of the Institute of Culture.
  • Adding the overall basic metadata (technical characteristics, name of documentary, etc.) linked to the resulting archives so as to ensure that they are correctly classified.
  • Defining the strategies for the digital preservation of the digital copies.
  • Ensuring the creation of the technical documentation of all the processes and actions involved.
  • Having the mechanisms that ensure the possibility of making adjustments that are defined during the process of digitisation (rotations, cutting, correction of levels, filters, etc.) in an agile way.

Technologies that provide digitisation for the specific needs of certain kinds of documents will be considered.

The digitisation of this collection will open up the city’s heritage to the world and enable citizens to actively engage with this unique resource in many ways. Only with the digital transformation of this documentation is it possible to understand the culture of Barcelona to its full extent and to explain the city as the centuries-old Catalan cultural capital and receiver of European culture to the present day.


Technical requirements by document type



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