IBM has been very active in developing new technologies for archives and museums. The IBM image applications research group worked with the Vatican Library to develop a means for making parts of their repository available to scholars. The repository has a large number of very early maps, illuminated Manuscripts, and early copies of work by Aristotle, Dante, Euclid, Homer and Virgil. The team developed systems for:

  • capturing the images of the material with faithful colour and sufficient detail to support scholarly study.
  • protection of the on-line material, especially images, from misappropriation
  • development of tools to enable scholars to locate the desired material
  • development of tools for scholars to scrutinise images of manuscripts

A similar approach has been used for the Luther archives in Germany in order to make them available through the Internet in a way such that they could easily be used for scholarly study but were unsuitable as a source for unapproved publication.

The Hermitage Museum is currently processing its images using this technology. The digitised images are being stored in a digital library for use in various multimedia applications. This will provide the backbone for a wide range of services from visitor information kiosks to a Web site and an education and technology centre.