Nothing can replace a real book, the smell of its new and old pages, the diligently and carefully made cover, and the very act of reading. Due to the possibility of being damaged by the breath of time, books should be preserved in a different form, and thus the act of reading and owning them.
The National and University Library of the Republic of Srpska, in order to preserve and make available old books that have already been caught by the ravages of time, and which could not suffer too much touching and turning the pages, keeps their pages in digital form.
According to the director of this institution, Ljilja Petrović Zečić, digitalization itself, which makes it possible to achieve this, is a process that involves a series of actions.
– It is also a library-information system in which each book with its bibliographic description is in the system. Bibliographic descriptions provide data, ie metadata, from the authorship, publisher, number of pages, illustrations, prefaces, and prefaces. It is even better if that book is connected to a certain link, and if that book is printed in electronic content, we get an in-depth catalog – said Petrović Zečić, and added that the fact that the library is fully automated creates a precondition for digitalization the city is.
One of the books that will go through the process of digitalization and remain preserved in a different form is the book that NUBRS recently received as a gift from the Bishop of Pakrac-Slavonia Jovan, and it is the edition of the work of Jovan Damaskin from 1827.
– The book presents theological and philosophical writings. According to the number of known copies, of which there are 16, the book will probably be included in the fund of rare books – she explains.
Funds of old and rare books are usually formed at national libraries and are used to collect books of different cultural heritage and to preserve protection measures for old and rare books.
– Their reconstruction has been done, which means that experts, bibliographers, and archaeologists make bibliographic records and give certain data to the scientist and researcher so that he can get certain information in his research work – she explained, emphasizing that digitalization is one of the ways to protect books. it is possible to prevent physical access to the book, contact with hands, moving to different rooms with different humidity, light intensity, and anything that can permanently damage the book.
Currently, as Petrović Zečić said, the most popular way to search for digital books is to search by keyword, and it takes about ten hours to digitize a book of, say, 200-300 pages.
– This book, which we received through the kindness of Bishop Jovan, will be digitized in the mentioned way. We will conduct one type of popularization of digitalization through software, devices “Magic Box”. It is a console in which the book is, seemingly, in a physical sense, but it is impossible to browse and touch it, and with a computer in that console through which the software is installed, the book can be viewed on a transparent screen. The content is visible on the screen so that users have an apparent feeling of leafing through a book, digitally leafing through a book. Such devices are used because they are attractive, draw attention to digitalization, and are available to everyone – said Petrović Zečić and added that every book that is digitized becomes part of the “Magic Box”, and thus anyone interested in the book can one a way to touch it, but in digital form. In this way, many books will be preserved, which has often not been the case throughout history, because they were destroyed and a small number of them have been preserved.