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Volume: 16 | Article ID: art00007
Digitizing and Preserving the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archives: Stories of Compromises in a Challenging Environment
  DOI :  10.2352/issn.2168-3204.2019.1.0.7  Published OnlineMay 2019

Stories of mass digitization projects and the preservation of those physical materials to be digitized often bring to mind well-equipped set ups in clean dust-free, air controlled rooms with highly skilled staff. One particularly thinks of this for museums and archives located in temperate-climate developed countries. But what about stories of digitization projects with limited resources in less than optimum environments, how does one envision those? The Archives of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (TSGM) [1] is the largest and most complete record of Khmer Rouge actions during the Democratic Kampuchea (DK) regime. [2] The Archives contain forced "confessions", many extracted under torture; biographies of prisoners, guards and officials; photographs; original negatives; and other paper-based bound materials. Many items are very fragile and were not created with long-term preservation in mind so when handled for research they are at risk. The first Archive team did not record the provenance of the documents so research and recreating history is a challenge. In addition these records are not easily accessible for most Cambodians. For these reasons, and because the climate in Phnom Penh is hot and humid preservation is much harder than in more temperate climates, UNESCO and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have provided funds to digitize the Museum's archives. With these funds and under direction from UNESCO experts, along with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts (MoCFA), Digital Divide Data and Brechin Imaging are collaborating to preserve and digitize the Archives and to train the Tuol Sleng staff in digitization and preservation. Once ingested into the Project's database and crowdsourcing website, which is currently being developed, these records will help illuminate the stories of people caught in this dark period of Cambodian history for the next generations.

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Alexis Lecoq, Jacqueline Vincent, Frederick Zarndt, Pheaktra Song, "Digitizing and Preserving the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Archives: Stories of Compromises in a Challenging Environmentin Proc. IS&T Archiving 2019,  2019,  pp 25 - 30,

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