Digitization of Rare, Historical Materials Now on its 5th Year
The Silliman University Library System, with the Robert B. and Metta J. Silliman Library as its main base, is now on its fifth year of digitizing its rich collection of reading materials, a good number of them are rare and historical finds excusive only to Silliman.
Its digitization project, which is a significant component of its extensive computerization program, was among those that earned it the distinction of Outstanding Academic Library, joining the ranks of the libraries at the Asian Development Bank and the International Rice Research Institute.
Being one of few libraries in the country that house rare and historical documents, the Library embarked full-swing on its digitization project in 2011.
Digitization captures the original document through a computer software. This process preserves the original document, minimizing human handling and exposure to changing temperature, but facilitates wider access to its contents. The process lifts the content, converting the physical documents and images into its digital equivalents that can easily be accessed by faculty, staff, students and researchers.
To promote the integrity of information, access to the digitized materials is limited to the Silliman Library and guided by prevailing Library policies. They are not available online.
The process of digitization is done in phases, prioritizing first the rare, dilapidated documents and materials available in the Filipiniana Section. Since April 2011, the Library has digitized a total of 861 records and 292,278 images.
The first batch in 2011 included original war records, diaries of Filipino and foreign soldiers in various war eras, and important communication exchanges and documents during these times. A few rare Filipiniana materials and publications in the University such as the “Silliman Truth” and “Sands and Coral” have also undergone digitization. The second and third batches covered the remaining materials and files in the Sillimaniana and Filipiniana sections and those not included in the first phase.
Currently, being added to the rich collection of digitized resources are the authentic recording and transcripts of the Ulahingan chants of the Manobo tribe.
Set to start next year is the fourth phase. This extends to more Sillimaniana materials, abstracts of theses and dissertations, as well as some important materials from the collection donated by former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos.
Silliman is the first in the province of Negros Oriental to embark on a comprehensive digitization project. This, as University Library Mrs. Lorna T. Yso explained, ensures generations of learners after today continue to benefit from these rich materials that chronicle both life and history of Silliman University and the Philippines.
(One of the rare books that have been digitized is this original edition of The Philippine Islands 1493-1898 by Blair and Robertson.)