EMC to digitise rare manuscripts at Holy Spirit University Kaslik

by Agency News   20 July, 2016
EMC to digitise rare manuscripts at Holy Spirit University Kaslik

USEK selected EMC’s storage in addition to data protection and availability solutions to digitally preserve over 10,000 of the region’s oldest and rarest manuscripts and archives.

EMC Middle East announced a landmark project with the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik USEK, a private Catholic higher education institution founded by the Lebanese Maronite Order. USEK selected EMC’s storage in addition to data protection and availability solutions to digitally preserve over 10,000 of the region’s oldest and rarest manuscripts and archives.

USEK selected EMC Isilon scale-out NAS, VNX unified storage, Data Domain and NetWorker to embark on an initiative to create a secure, reliable digital archive of valuable icons of human history. To make this archive available to students and academicians anytime, anywhere, USEK also initiated a virtual desktop project powered on EMC XtremIO 5.0.

The new environment enabled USEK to store, protect and digitise 100 Terabytes of existing archive data. In addition, EMC Isilon NAS technology, allows USEK’s environment to scale to accommodate almost 300 Terabytes of data over the next five years.

By combining EMC VNX unified storage and EMC Isilon scale out NAS technology, USEK has created a performance backed, agile storage environment that can grow to meet Petabyte capacity without adding cost or complexity to the existing environment. The heightened deduplication capabilities allow USEK to avail of improved storage utilisation and leverage automation to allow IT teams to free up from tedious administration and managerial complexity. In addition, EMC XtremIO enables a high performance platform to deliver the agility, scale and reliable access needed for virtual desktops’ simultaneous access to files.

With a mission dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Maronite cultural heritage and the creation of a community spirit, the library at USEK is considered amongst the oldest libraries in the region. Since 2004, the main library at USEK has been tasked with the tremendous responsibility of conserving the written heritage of Lebanon and the wider region. USEK aimed to create a rich digital archive to effectively protect and preserve these cultural artifacts for future generation while also enabling access to this information archive for students, academicians and historians from across the world.

The University selected EMC for their portfolio of solutions in addition to their expertise in the area as part of the EMC Heritage Trust which provides grants to local institutions striving to preserve artifacts under their care. Past EMC Information Heritage initiatives include

  • Helping the Vatican Apostolic Library digitise its catalogue of 80,000 historic manuscripts and 8,900 incunabula
  • Supporting the JFK Library in the process of digitising and archiving its entire collection
  • Creating a high-resolution 3D digital reconstruction of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex of Flight
  • Supporting the Herzogin Anna Amalia Library
  • Home to a unique collection of Faust first editions
  • Sponsoring the Vatican’s Lux in Arcana exhibition, which brought into the public domain for the first time in 400 years, 100 original historical documents from the Vatican Secret Archive earlier in 2012

Together with EMC’s team of Professional Services experts, USEK migrated data from servers across the university as well as thousands of external hard disks into a unified and highly scalable storage environment using EMC Isilon scale-out NAS. The combination of EMC VNX unified storage, EMC Data Domain and EMC NetWorker in addition to EMC RecoverPoint created the reliable data protection and availability architecture with the simplicity that the University required to ensure quick access to individual files.

The enhanced automation with EMC ViPR SRM enabled the team to better manage storage utilisation, analyse configurations and capacity growth, and optimise resources to improve return on investment. With the addition of EMC XtremIO All Flash array, USEK enabled a high performance platform to support their virtual desktop project to allow access to the digital reserve for students, faculty, academicians and historians.

The revamped storage environment together with the new backup and recovery infrastructure allowed USEK to digitise and secure over 100 Terabytes of existing archives and also allows USEK’s environment to scale to accommodate almost 300 Terabytes of data over the next five years. Working closely with EMC, USEK has also embarked on other projects, including building a robust disaster recovery system and delivering the benefits of a virtual desktop infrastructure to students. And, in addition to offering digitisation services to other institutions in the region, USEK hopes to make its unique and rare collections available world wide, and eventually publish materials online to continue its mission of securing the cultural heritage of the Levant and wider region.

Randa Al Chidiac, Executive Director, Library, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik said, “The USEK Library aims to achieve a synthesis of tradition and modernism, preserving the old for the young and future generations by conserving an archive of the region’s oldest and most valuable manuscripts. Thanks to the EMC, we are one step closer to our goal, as we work together to preserve, catalogue, restore and digitise manuscripts, archives, photographs, maps and charts, rare books and old national newspapers so they can be sustained in their entirety for future generations.”

Joe Aboujamra, Country Manager, Lebanon at EMC said, “EMC is proud to be a part of this strategic, national endeavor that is built on the foundation to preserve and protect some of the oldest and most valuable manuscripts known to this region. USEK has already done much of the work by bringing together over 10,000 of the most prized possessions of our history and it is now our responsibility to ensure that these documents remain eternal and accessible for the entire world to see and learn from. This project represents EMC’s first Information Heritage Project in the Middle East and we take great pride in being part of an initiative that seeks to bridge the gap between the history and future of this religion, protecting our identity and legacy for generations to come.”

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