Digitizing Egyptian National Documents Archive: Challenges and Solutions

Samir, Ahmed
Elsayed, Bassem
Adly, Noha
Nagi, Magdy
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Alexandria University
The Egyptian National Documents Archive (Dar El-Mahfouzat) dates back to 1805, to Mohamed Ali’s era. This renders the archive a crucial and valuable aspect of Egyptian heritage. Dar El-Mahfouzat has partnered with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) for creating a digital archive for a collection of documents comprising more than six million pages physically pertaining to the Archive for digital preservation and access. In implementing this project, the BA has undertaken three main aspects simultaneously; building the digitization facility, developing and installing the necessary software tools and building the capacities of the staff. Each aspect represented a challenge accompanied with the notion of deploying state-of-the-art technologies for a proficient digital output. Two million pages have been digitized to date and the digital archive has been created to support multilevel authorization to secure access to classified documents. This paper will elaborately reflect the work done by the BA in creating the digitization workflow, and developing the associated tools for archiving digitally a grand historical facility in Egypt, while demonstrating the challenges encountered and their handling.
Computer Science, Engineering