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Conservation & Digitisation

Conversation et numérisation
Libellé d'entête
Preserved heritage, shared heritage
Corps de texte

Preservation policy

‘Preserve less, but preserve better’. This summarises ULiège Library’s position and priorities. While it has long been attached to the idea of preserving all documents, ULiège Library’s policy is now adapting to the evolution of the world of documentation.

The preservation challenge

For several years, ULiège Library has carried out a discussion on its preservation policy, which is regularly adapted to changes in the world of documentation. For a long time, the university libraries have tried to conserve the most extensive collections possible. This perspective, which was aimed at self-sufficiency, is no longer justified today and the preservation of all documents is no longer systematically applied. ULiège Library has determined a few key areas in which to focus its resources:

  • documents related to teaching and research carried out within the University;
  • ULiège scientific production;
  • documents related to the rich industrial past and history of the region;
  • etc.

Shared preservation

To this end, ULiège Library takes part in the French Community of Belgium's (BICfB CPP group) program 'Conservation Partagée des Périodiques entre universités' (Shared conservation of periodicals between universities). An internal structure, which aims to manage and streamline the former periodical collections (Gevafa cell), has also been put in place. These two structures pursue the same goal: to streamline the conservation of documents using a collaborative model.

Material conservation

For several years, ULiège Library has carried out a discussion on – and dedicated resources to – the development of a material-preservation policy for documents that is both preventive and curative. This policy essentially comprises:

  • improving conservation conditions;
  • operations to maintain the collections, in order to improve document hygiene;
  • binding and conditioning campaigns for collections of periodicals;
  • conditioning damaged documents;
  • conservation and restoration work on old documents.

Document digitisation is also an integral part of the material-conservation policy for old collections. 

Contact : Cécile Oger

Digitisation policy

Although ULiège Library houses a rich and diverse patrimonial collection, it is not jealously guarded. On the contrary, since it is considered to be our shared heritage, ULiège Library is trying to make it accessible to as many people as possible in digital form. Digitisation projects have been carried out for several years, with various goals.

A need from the users

Where there are limitations related to a physical document (opening times of the place of consultation, limited number of available copies), digitisation offers solutions. The online publication of a digital version of our documents on DONum (Dépôt d’Objects Numérisés, or Digitised Objects Repository) increases their accessibility: they are now accessible to an unlimited number of readers, from anywhere and at any time. 

Digitisation offers greater flexibility and adaptability when accessing documentary resources.

A large share of digitisation projects are launched by the user. ULiège Library is open to any suggestions regarding the digitisation of its collections, but also analyses data concerning the consultation of its physical documents in order to build its digitisation projects. Digital versions of necessary or useful documents for the public are offered online on the basis of priority.



DONum (Dépôt d'Objets Numérisés) is a portal hosting sets of digitised objects from the collections of the various departments of the University of Liege.

A method of conservation

Whether they concern scientific, cultural, artistic or historic heritage, the collections that are hosted within ULiège Library are rich, varied and often unique. This exceptional nature calls for their preservation by any means available.

However, ULiège is an active research and teaching institution. The ULiège Library collections are not dormant: each year, they are the subject of studies and work projects and are read by students, researchers and teachers. In addition to the natural deterioration that occurs with time, the most fragile and precious collections may also be consulted or read too much... because they are too useful.

The digitisation projects that have been developed offer a solution to this dilemma: once documents digitised and published online, it is easier to preserve them. Digital versions are offered as a replacement for users, except when pertaining to codicological or material studies. The originals are then conditioned appropriately.


The online distribution of digitised collections highlights certain types of documents that are being conserved, or certain themes that are covered. The public, both within and outside the institution, may be unaware of the size and diversity of our collections.

By offering themed virtual exhibitions, ULiège Library highlights the presence of specific works in our collections, which sometimes opens up new avenues of research. Although users’ requests are the source of digitisation projects, offering digital versions of unexpected documents in our collections is sometimes the reason why new projects and new collaborations are launched.

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