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Wroclaw University Library Turns to IBM Big Data Solution to Preserve European Heritage, Open Digital Archives to the World

IBM Smarter Computing solution makes searching up to 300TB of documents fast,

Wroclaw/Warsaw - 31 Jul 2013: IBM (NYSE: IBM) and the Wroclaw University Library in Poland announced a national scientific project to preserve and digitize nearly 800,000 pages of distinctive European manuscripts, books, and maps dating back to the Middle Ages and rarely accessible to the public until now.

Managing, providing fast access for up to 300 TBs of rare texts

IBM's solution consisting of System x servers and Storage is helping the Wroclaw University Library Poland digitize, manage and provide fast online access to rare manuscripts, books and maps, many dating back to the Middle Ages, with a total capacity of 300 terabytes.

Shown here is one of Europe's six surviving copies of this particular medieval illuminated encyclopedia, the Thomas Cantimpratensis "Liber de nature rerum" from the second half of the fifteenth century. (Photo courtesy of Wroclaw University Library, Poland)

The project, co-founded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund, creates the largest digital archive of medieval manuscripts and ancient geographical atlases in Poland. It uses a solution consisting of IBM System x servers and Storage disk and SAN solutions to address the Big Data challenge of managing and providing fast search and retrieval services for up to 300 terabytes of information.

"The Wroclaw University Library's mission is to protect, preserve and ensure broader access to Polish cultural heritage," said Adam Zurek, Head of the Department of Scientific Documentation of Cultural Heritage, Wroclaw University Library. "We selected IBM to help us identify, choose and implement a solution in line with our goals of digitizing the library's documents and making them available to the broader public online. Thanks to the IBM Smarter Computing solution, our library has enhanced its potential as an educational resource for students and researchers from Europe and all over the world."

Wroclaw University Library digitizing rare archival texts

The Wroclaw University Library, founded in 1811, houses unique documents such as medieval manuscripts and old prints, including the works Martin Luther, Cervantes and Shakespeare, as well as rare maps and liturgical texts. The library is using an IBM solution consisting of System x servers and Storage to digitally preserve 800,000 pages of these rare documents and make the available online for the first time. (Photo courtesy of Wroclaw University Library, Poland)

The Wroclaw University Library, founded in 1811, houses unique documents such as medieval manuscripts and old prints. One of its most valuable treasures is the "Statuta synodalia episcoporum Wratislaviensium,” containing the texts of everyday prayers printed for the first time in Polish by Kasper Elyan in 1475.

Other precious cultural texts include "Legenda major de Beata Hedwigi," published by Konrad Baumgarten in 1504, and early publications of Martin Luther, Miguel de Cervantes, and William Shakespeare. The archive also includes thousands of old printed maps, like the handwritten "Portolan Atlas" by famed cartographer Battista Agnese.

Until now, these documents were accessible to only a handful number of students and scientists. Through this digitization project, the Wroclaw University Library can now provide access to this material to anyone via Internet.

IBM designed an IT platform based on IBM System x 3550 M3 servers, IBM Storwize V7000 Unified Disk Systems and IBM System Storage SAN24B-4 Express storage systems. The solution helps collect, preserve, store, manage and index all types of digital content, including text, images, audio, and video. The IBM System Storage Easy Tier function automatically and non-disruptively manages frequently accessed data, eliminating manual intervention when requesting large volumes of information. This means that readers will be able to quickly open, view, retrieve and explore library documents online.

"Preserving our ancient cultural documents is a major project which opens our Polish cultural heritage to the world," says Grzegorz Dobranowski, Business Partner Organization Director, IBM Poland. "Thanks to IBM's Smarter Computing approach to IT, it will be now easier for the library to collect, manage and catalog content, ensuring Europe and the world benefit from Poland's great cultural heritage."

During the implementation, 1,100 medieval manuscripts were digitized together with old prints, maps and music. Over 140 documents underwent conservation and a 360-page album is about to be published.

The system was implemented at the Wroclaw University Library by ProSystem SA, an IBM Business Partner.

Images from the digitized archive can be found at this link.

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Contact(s) information

Jay Cadmus
IBM Media Relations
1 (914) 766-4966
jcadmus@us.ibm.com

Svetlana Stavreva
IBM Media Relations, Growth Market
+436646186851
stavreva@at.ibm.com

Mike Zimmerman
IBM Media Relations, STG
1 (914) 766-4935
mrzimmerman@us.ibm.com

Monika Maciąg-Kruszewska
IBM Media Relations, Poland
+48-693 93 5342
monika.maciag@pl.ibm.com

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