The Royal Library of Belgium accelerates digitisation


Equipping itself with three automatic scanners means that many collections of Belgian books and periodicals can be digitised more quickly and then made available online.

The staff of the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR) will continue to focus on the manual digitisation of manuscripts, newspapers, maps, plans and other valuable and more fragile documents. However, in the future, automatic scanners will be used to digitise certain specific, less sensitive collections, even though humans will still check the state of conservation of the documents in advance and manage the digitisation process.

Most importantly, this robotisation will make it possible to massively accelerate the volume of documents made available online. As Sara Lammens, the Library's General Director, points out, "The purchase of these robots is a significant investment that allows us to move up a gear and, in particular, to put a large number of 19th and 20th century Belgian books and periodicals online more quickly." KBR has announced an increase in its internet offering of 15,000 pages per day, or 3,000,000 pages per year.

This increased digital accessibility of Belgian archives obviously meets the current needs of a large section of the public. More and more users, particularly researchers, are expressing the wish to be able to access collections "remotely".

Tens of thousands of pages have already been digitised and are now available via the KBR portal.