In 2016, Germany modernized its cultural property protection law with a comprehensive reform, thereby adapting German law to EU and international standards, above all to the UNESCO Convention of 1970. The Act on the Protection of Cultural Property came into force on August 6, 2016. It protects cultural property that bears witness of the German cultural history, but also such cultural property which is classified as national cultural property by other countries. Key points include the prevention of illegal trade, the improvement of mechanism for restitution, the modernization of the regulations on nationally valuable cultural assets and the protection of museum collections. (http://www.kulturgutschutz-deutschland.de/EN/Home/home_node.html)
In this context, digitization is a fundamental contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage and is therefore promoted through state initiatives.
In addition to the documentation for information assurance and scientific research, disaster recovery is a particular challenge in digitizing cultural assets. It calls for special damage-specific or cause-specific measures, as in the case of the destruction of the valuable holdings of the Anna Amalia Library in Weimar in devastating fire in 2004. The serious damages caused by fire and fire extinguishing water not only require highly complex restoration measures, but also pose complex challenges for the digitization process:
Such damaged and fragile books and documents require tailor-made scan systems that meet the highest conservation requirements in terms of handling and lighting, but also offer the appropriate technology to restore text and image information that can no longer be seen with the naked eye. In such cases innovative systems such as the book2net multispectral system can make a decisive contribution to securing and restoring information in a gentle and contact-free manner.
German Federal Document Safeguarding Project
According to The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, the German Federal and State Archives have been scanning and microfilming their most valuable collections since 1961. The microfilming is carried out on behalf of the Federation under the leadership of the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK). The archive material is security-filmed on microfilm in accordance with selection criteria defined by the Federal Government and in compliance with specified technical standards.
Here, too, book2net makes an active contribution to securing cultural assets with its scanning systems. As part of the conversion of the microfilming devices to digital technology, which was agreed between the Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) and the Conference of Heads of the Federal and State Archives Administrations (KLA), four of the German state archives involved have already decided to purchase a total of 12 book2net high-performance archive scanners. The state archives of Hesse, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine Westphalia and the Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation are the first institutions to have opted for our newly developed high-performance scanner book2net Archive Pro.
Accordance to international digitization guidelines
The digitization of valuable cultural objects should be carried out both as gently and extensive as possible in order to ensure permanent access even for future generations. This raises the question of the best possible concepts and methods that guarantee a constant quality of the scan results with the least physical stress on the objects. The development of and compliance with guidelines should therefore be a mandatory prerequisite for every digitization project of cultural property. However, navigating through the multitude of scan systems and analysis tools available on the market can be an enormous challenge for the user.
The two currently most popular digitization guidelines, which also define the relevant standards for us, come from the United States (FADGI – Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative) and the Netherlands (Metamorfoze Preservation Imaging Guidelines). To standardize these two different approaches, the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has been developing a new standard since 2012, which can be found in the three documents ISO 19262, ISO 19263 and ISO 19264.