By Matt Shoemaker
Earlier this year the Temple University Library formed a partnership with The Center for Vietnamese Philosophy, Culture, and Society at Temple University to conduct a field digitization project of southern Vietnamese cultural documents. Many of these documents have been scattered over the years, hidden in temples and homes to protect them during times of military conflict and governmental change. This has kept the materials safe but limited who could use them and raised concern for their physical well-being.
Professor NguyễnThị Điểu and Dr. Ngô Thanh Nhàn came to us with this project seeking a way to provide access to these documents once they are digitized and described as well as for some advice on relevant library practices. This summer, Dr. Ngô Thanh Nhà has been in Vietnam training a team and traveling with them across the Vietnamese countryside in a van digitizing, cataloging, and describing the cultural materials. The digital files will make their way to Philadelphia for eventual display within TUL’s Digital Collections making them available to digital scholars and other researchers.
Dr. Ngô Thanh Nhàn recently provided an update from the field, an excerpt of which is posted below. Though the hands-on work for this project is just beginning, we are eager to move forward and provide a space for researchers to access these once hidden materials.
The below is an excerpt from a post by Dr. Ngô Thanh Nhàn on how the project has gotten off of the ground in Vietnam. For his full text and more images please visit the full post at: http://huelibrary.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/digital-preservation-workshop-in-hue/
The General Library of Thừa Thiên Huế is located in the city of Huế, an important cultural center of Vietnam. The library, a specially designed four-story building, is surrounded by gardens, palaces, monuments, and tombs of emperors. Founded on September 16, 1976, the library was once known as The Library of Bình-Trị-Thiên until 1989. The General Library of Thừa Thiên Huế is funded by the City of Huế and is a part of the Ministry of Culture’s City Office of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. It is also professionally supported by the National Library of Vietnam in Hanoi
With the help of the General Science Library of Ho Chi Minh City, digital collection began in 2009. To date, the collection consists of 142,835 images of 248 distinct family archives, 13 districts, and 52 villages.
Now, for the first time, under the Pilot Digital Project with Temple University Libraries, the General Library of Thừa Thiên Huế has its own set of digitization equipment, managed by the Office of Information of Technology.
The Paley Library Project Team consists of Dean Joseph Lucia, Delphine Khanna, Doreva Belfiore, Jonathan LeBreton, Matt Shoemaker, and Gabriel Galson. The Digital Working Group, headed by Nguyễn Như Tĩnh (Chief of the GLH Office of Information Technology) consists of Phạm Xuân Phượng, Prof. Nguyễn Thị Thanh, Hoàng Thị Hải Vân, Mai Chi, Trương Thị Thanh Nhàn, Đặng Thanh Hoá, Nguyễn Như Tĩnh, Lê Viết Tuấn, Phạm Tuấn Anh, and Bùi Tự Thành.
The first day of the Digital Preservation Workshop, June 23, 2014, began at 7am with the workshop organizers meeting over coffee in the Chợt Nhớ Library garden. Next, Director Lê Trọng Bình delivered an opening statement, and Dr. Ngô Thanh Nhàn presented an overview of the Pilot Digitization Workshop.
The afternoon of the first day allowed participants to gain hands-on experience with components such as multilingual text processing and the camera and Dell workstation.
Throughout the following nine days of the Digital Preservation Workshop, participants learned about digital preservation standards, Dublin Core, image processing, Lightroom, and so on. They had the opportunity to participate in a lot of hands on experience as well. For example, below, you can see Tuấn Anh and Quang completing the shooting of two volumes of Subfamily Nguyễn Khoa Genealogy (from Cadière Collection).
The Digital Preservation Workshop also included field trips to sites that house important documents that need to be digitized and archived. Below, you can see Director Lê Trọng Bình and Prof. Nguyễn Thị Thanh reading silk scrolls at 歸國公祠 “Quy Quốc Công từ” (Worshiping Temple for National Building Hero).
After an eventful two weeks, the working group said their goodbyes at Huế Airport on July 5, 2014.