World Digital Preservation Day in Armenia and Artsakh

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Gandzasar Monastery
View of Gandzasar monastery - Licence Creative Commons 3.0 original file

For many years, Calfa has been involved in the digitization and promotion of handwritten and printed documents in Armenian, notably assisting the institutions in Armenia and in diaspora with their digital preservation projects. One of the core purpose of our commitment is to facilitate the access of this written heritage to the general public and simplify the study of these documents, through the development of dedicated tools for specialists. Several institutions in Armenian and in Artsakh are involved in this transition to digital preservation and knowledge sharing, essential for the understanding of the past and present Armenian history. For the World Digital Preservation Day, we choose to highlight some of the ongoing initiatives of our partners in Armenia and in Artsakh, at the very moment when Azerbaïdjan is also working to remove all traces of the Armenian heritage.

WDPD logo

The Matenadaran, the largest library of Armenian manuscripts in the world, has engaged in the digitization of its collections, since several years. The digitized manuscripts quantity has now reached approximately 6000 and some digital copies are available online, for instance the illuminated lectionary of king Hetoum II of 1286. In 2015, the Matenadaran opened a research center at Gandzasar, one of the most important medieval center for the copy of Armenian manuscripts in Artsakh. The oldest manuscript kept at Gandzasar dates back to the 13th century.

The TUMO Center in Yerevan offered a workshop on 3D digitization of historical monuments (churches and monasteries) in 2019-2020. They have notably digitized the Ghazanchetsots cathedral of Sushi (damaged by Azeri strikes in October 2020) and the Gandzasar monastery in Artsakh, dating back from the 13th century.

The 3D Models are available here :
Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of Shushi
3D Model of Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of Shushi

The National Library of Armenia and the Fundamental Scientific Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia have massively invested during the last several years in the digitization of the Armenian newspapers both in Armenia and in the Diaspora, of the classical literature and of scientific articles. Today, more than 3.000.000 pages and 147.000 digital objects are available for free on their website and their new platform .

Lastly, the American University of Armenia teams have created and been nourishing the Digital Library of Classical Armenian Literature (DIGILIB) since 1999. They offer most of the Armenian production from the 5th to the 18th century in digitized form.

It would be impossible to list all the current projects in this field. They all share a core belief that is the conservation, the preservation and the promotion of the national and world heritage. A conference on current initiatives in the field of digital preservation in Armenia and in the diaspora was supposed to take place in November 2020. The Transcaucases Festival has been postponed due to the lockdown of November 2020, we will keep you updated on the rescheduling of the conference.

Vidal Chahan