Documents in Baghdad’s National Library are slowly and thoroughly being restored by specialists in Iraq.
Once restoration is complete, the library is aiming to digitize all of its contents, in fears of the Islamic State, well-known for destroying books, manuscripts, and even ancient monuments.
A lot of age-old writings were being preserved in Mosul, which is currently occupied by the Islamic State. What this means, basically, is that these old texts have probably been destroyed already. Iraq is planning to never let that happen again.
Mazin Ibrahim Ismail is the head of the microfilm department, in charge of digitizing the manuscripts. He and his team are currently testing the process with Ministry documents dating back to the 1940’s.
“Once restoration for some of the older documents from the Ottoman era, 200 to 250 years ago, is completed, we will begin to photograph those onto microfilm”, he stated.
Business Insider is comparing the restoration process to microsurgery. Some of the texts are so old that they have started to fossilize.
“Those are the most difficult books to restore. We apply steam using a specialized tool to try to loosen and separate the pages. Sometimes, we are able to save those books and then apply other restoration techniques, but with others, the damage is irreversible” – Fatma Khudair, senior employee, restoration department
25% of the Library’s books and 60% of the archives were destroyed in 2003, when arsonists set fire to it. Priceless Ottoman records were lost back then. But, with a little bit of luck, something like a fire or a flood will no longer affect the priceless knowledge and history that lies written on those documents.
Sursa foto: thenypost.com