Ismail ÖZTÜRK / Serkan ILDEN

(Dokuz Eylül Üniversitesi, Izmir, Turkey)

The fact that the material of manuscripted books is paper, renders them vulnerable to a great variety of impacts. The most effective method of preventing their deterioration appears to be the conservation of the manuscripted material under ideal circumstances and offer to researchers access to the digital copy of the originals. This method plays significant role in the conservation of manuscripts that comprise cultural heritage, as, regardless of the level of optimization of the conservation conditions of a manuscript, every time the manuscript is presented to a researcher, the change in atmospheric conditions (humidity, temparature, light, microbiological environment, etc.) almost certainly occasions its further deterioration.
Rendering manuscripts accessible in the digital environment enables both researchers’ easy access and, by transfer to a personal computer, detailed observation as well as preserving deterioration caused by human contact. Yet offering of digital access to researchers has its negative sides as well. These may be classified as problems deriving from the technological infrastructure and problems deriving from the universal accessibility of digital copy. Those deriving from the technological infrastructure consist of questions such as how the manuscript will be conserved in digital form, the formats of access, the security of the digital copies. Given the spread of computer use, the universal accessibility of the digitalized manuscripts, on the other hand, occasions haphazard use of the content of the manuscripts, thus giving rise to information pollution and false information, and making vunerable the security of the digital environment in which the manuscript is offered to access. This paper constitutes elaboration on the positive and negative aspects of the digitalization of manusripts toward their preservation.