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Holy Spirit University creates digital archive of rare documents

Over 10,000 historical manuscripts and records placed in new EMC-based document storage

Holy Spirit University creates digital archive of rare documents
The EMC-based storage solution has created a digital archive of documents for USEK, including virtual desktop access.

Lebanon's Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) has rolled out a new storage system from EMC to preserve over 10,000 rare manuscripts and documents.

The university has deployed the storage solutions to create a scalable and reliable digital archive of historic records and a number of rare documents, along with a virtual desktop system to access the digital documents and disaster recover.

USEK was founded by the Lebanese Maronite Order (LMO) in 1938, and is the leading Catholic higher education establishment in the country. The Main Library at USEK is responsible for conserving the written heritage of Lebanon and holds many rare documents including the first edition of the New Testament in the ancient language of Syriac, edited and printed in Vienna in 1555, newspapers dating back to the 1920s, Baptism records and property deeds in addition to many more.

The project includes EMC Isilon scale-out NAS, VNX unified storage; Data Domain and NetWorker solutions, and currently holds around 100TB of data, which will scale to 300TB over the next five years, with high performance availability and data deduplication capabilities to ensure performance and cost-effectiveness.

The roll out also includes a virtual desktop project using EMC XtremIO 5.0 to provide easy access to the stored documents.

Randa Al Chidiac, executive director, Library, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik commented: "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 EMC, we are one step closer to our goal, as we work together to preserve, catalogue, restore and digitize manuscripts, archives, photographs, maps and charts, rare books and old national newspapers so they can be sustained in their entirety for future generations. We now look forward to working with EMC as we complete this endeavour and extend access to these rich resources online so they may be seen by scholars, researchers, academicians and leaders from across the world as they provide historic background for future generations to build on."

Zaid Eid, IT director, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, added: "Prior to this project, we had islands of storage. Data was scattered across the organisation and often difficult to access. Moreover we lacked a robust back up process. It wasn't the ideal environment to help us drive our vision in order to protect our precious heritage so that people from around the region and the world could have access to rich stores for learning for generations to come. Since migrating to EMC, the situation has completely changed and we constantly get positive feedback from students and employees about the expedited and reliable access to information at their fingertips. Everyone is happy and we are one step closer to our goal."

EMC was selected for the project in part based on its previous experience in Information Heritage projects, which included digitisation of the catalogue of 80,000 manuscripts and 8,900 pre-1500AD printed documents for the Vatican Apostolic Library; digitising and archiving the entire collection of the JFK Presidential Library, and a 3D digital reconstruction of Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Codex of Flight'.

"EMC is proud to be a part of this strategic, national endeavour 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," said Joe Aboujamra, country manager, Lebanon at EMC.

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