Millenia-old rare manuscripts in digital format
One of Turkey’s most important libraries in terms of its written documents and publications, the Konya Manuscripts Library in the Central Anatolian province of Konya has finished transferring 140,000 documents, including 30,000 manuscripts most from the Seljuk era, to digital format.
The library at the Konya Regional Directorate of Manuscripts is getting richer with the books that have been acquired through transfer, purchase and donation.
From Rumi to Ibn-i Arabi, the priceless works of the great number of thinkers, valuable manuscripts, newspapers and printed books are kept for the future with meticulous work.
In the library, which is home to works in seven languages including Arabic, Persian, Armenian, Syriac, Kurdish, Ottoman Turkish and Chagatai, the edict of Sultan Abdülhamid II, the Bible printed in the 17th century in Rome and Ibn-i Sina’s “El-Kanun Fi’t Tibb” are also worth noting.
The works of many famous calligraphers such as Arif Efendi, Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi, Şevki Efendi, Yesarizade Mehmet Esad Efendi, Şefik Efendi and Sami Efendi are being kept in the library, which is the second largest one of its kind after the Süleymaniye Manuscript Library.
Meanwhile, damaged artifacts which have stood strong for many decades but have been at risk of more damage due to physical, chemical and biological factors are being removed in repair workshops.
The works that are evaluated in accordance with their importance and “problems” are dismantled and their dust is cleaned with brushes.
Fungi that have developed over the centuries in the books are also being purified with chemical solutions.
Holes once dug by bookworms are also being filled. The book is rebounded after their restorations are completed.
The lifespan of these books are extended further with the restoration process and are later placed in their designated sections in bookshelves.
Then the renovated works are transferred to a digital format, making it more accessible for readers and researchers.
Some 30,000 books are being kept in an encoded special section with an iron door and four-layers of isolation.
This section, which is covered with chrome-nichelium sheet metal, is being monitored by security cameras from inside and outside against possible fire, robbery, loss and wearing down.
The rare manuscripts in this section of the library are being protected with a special system adjusting the heat and humidity balance.
This section in the main building is protected in a vault, like money units in banks. The vault’s iron door is 10 times stronger than others and has three keys, which are kept by three different people. There is also a combination lock on the door.