Digitisation: the future of the past?
Modern technology can help in our explorations of documents of the past. Though digital versions can never fully take the place of the physical items, digitising heritage material has many benefits. Using digital copies reduces handling of the original, avoiding the risk of damage. This is especially important for fragile items, or those that are difficult to handle, like extra-large volumes or scrolls.
Zooming in on high-resolution images can reveal intricate details that would not be visible to the naked eye: texts are easier to read, subtle details of images suddenly come to light.
Digitisation also opens up collections to the world, as people do not need to travel to see a precious item. Manuscripts in different libraries can be compared on the screen without being shipped. Digitising manuscripts helps scholarship, but also makes it easier for anyone to access these remarkable collections.