Arabesques n°99

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Out of the shadows and into the light: digital enhancement of heritage collections

October-November-December 2020

Digitisation has opened up an immense field of possibilities in the service of two essential missions of libraries, but whose imperatives were sometimes difficult to reconcile: the preservation of collections and their promotion to a wide audience.

Thanks to digitisation, rare and patrimonial documents, which were often only accessible to a few specialists, are being taken out of storage and are becoming accessible to the general public, thus acquiring a new legitimacy. Digital tools are renewing mediation activities, in a more interactive and fun way.

However, as the experiences presented in this new Arabesques dossier devoted to the development of heritage collections through digital means show, dematerialisation and digital development are not universal remedies. They raise the same questions as for physical collections and only make sense when considered as part of an overall strategy for the development of collections and public services.