Cirdoc
CASE STUDY

DIGITIZE TO SHARE BETTER

CIRDOC promotes a heritage
spread over 10 European regions

Context

Based in Béziers, CIRDOC is not only a public media library, but also a heritage library that acts to promote the Occitan language and culture. Starting as a foundation, this organization became a public institution in 1999 and inherited more than 100 000 documents, mainly coming from donations.

The institution retains documents dating from the 13th century to the present day, on all formats, including audio, video, manuscripts, printed documents (the latter 2 constituting the majority of the collections).

Benjamin Assié, curator of this inter-regional organization, explains his work, which consists of studying and promoting a heritage that is common to 10 European regions (8 French regions, 1 Italian region, 1 Spanish region) which share an Occitan culture.

This institution’s fundamental purpose is to represent and promote the Occitan language and culture among the widest possible audience. This is an ambitious objective as the CIRDOC itself is only present on one site (Béziers) that isn’t a regional capital. For this bet to be successful, Internet was the solution that enabled us to inform and present the richness of this culture and the documentation linked to Occitania by abolishing geographical and physical constraints.

Benjamin Assié

CIRDOC curator

Challenges

Before the launch of this virtual digital library, we had to set up an ambitious digitization program that integrated documents present in all the regions.
The Occitanica project was launched and financed by the Languedoc-Roussillon region and by the town of Bézier, both entities at the CIRDOC’s origin, and received support from the Ministry of Culture as well as the Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées, Rhône-Alpes and Poitou-Charentes regions. The CIRDOC used Arkhênum’s services as early as 2009, not only to digitize its own assets but also those of partner institutions.

CIRDOC

Digitize to better share

The CIRDOC digitizes 100 000 pages per year

The digitization of documents, in partnership with the institutions from all the regions, inevitably generated some complexity in terms of implementation and management of the service delivery. The CIRDOC therefore entrusted Arkhênum to manage the gathering of assets spread geographically, to manage those assets in its various digitization centers as well as to manage the post-treatment of the images and data.
This multiplicity of organisations naturally meant duplicate files with specific needs (MIX files, interior and exterior cropping, OCR Alto and OCR in Occitan…).
Arkhênum managed this operation from the beginning; its goal was to upload this data in a collective digital library.
To keep the momentum going and involve the users even more, the CIRDOC set up an “on demand digitization” for researchers, to let them decide which assets would be digitized in the future.

100 000

unique visitors recorded during the first year for the www.occitanica.eu.

+20%

Increase in physical visitors at the Béziers library, mainly thanks to www.occitanica.eu according to Benjamin Assié, its curator.

Lo CIRDOC
(Centre interrégional de développement de l’occitan)
1 bis boulevard Du-Guesclin, BP. 180 – 34503 Béziers – France
Tel : +33 (0)4 67 11 85 10
E-mail : secretariat@cirdoc.fr
Directeur : Benjamin Assié
Site internet : http://www.locirdoc.fr

Contract fulfilled!

The biggest reward comes from the fact that people who are foreign to the Occitan language and culture come to discover them in person or online. But of course, the Occitans are the first ones to celebrate this universal showcase of their heritage.
They express their satisfaction not only during their visits to the library, but also on the Center’s social networks (Facebook, twitter).
Faced with the success of this dynamic policy, local officials have decided to show renewed confidence in the institution and in the resources committed in the past. The press echoes their sentiments and the references on the Occitanica website are growing, which contributes to its increased visibility and closes the virtuous circle.

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