Generic Open-Source Solutions for Managing Manuscripts A-Z

Constellation E: Monday, October 31, 2:00 – 3:00PM

Manuscripts are associated with a rich description which needs to be cataloged for preservation and ease of accessibility in a comprehensible format. One of the complexities of cataloging manuscripts is attributed to the available standards which are usually not tight to fit for a specific data model. Another aspect is that those thousand-year old manuscripts were written using old forms of languages that cannot be made searchable using current tools. Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) has designed and implemented a new approach for facilitating the cataloging, searching and viewing of collections of ancient Arabic manuscripts, provided by Wellcome Trust. Those manuscripts contain special characters that were used for representing Arabic language at the time. Our approach imposes building a structured schema-compliant records that fits the desired data model. The schema drives an authoring tool, which generates records with the desired structure via its automatically generated human friendly metadata forms. The generated records are checked against the selected standard to insure compliance, which follows in our use case the TEI P5 standard. The new approach is flexible in the sense that changes to the data model are seamlessly reflected to the structure of the records, and generates forms without the need for adding or editing a single line of code. The approach also provides a solution for both cataloging using old characters and searching manuscripts using modern and old characters. Our open source solution is generic, flexible, scalable, extensible and can be adopted by systems for any standard and any language. It allows searching, viewing, comparing and downloading the manuscripts.

Session Leaders

Engy Ali Mohmed Morsy, Project Manager, ICT Department, Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Dr. Noha Adly, Deputy Head, ICT Sector, Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Dr. Magdy Nagi, Head of ICT Sector, Bibliotheca Alexandrina

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