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THREE QUESTIONS TO... Mathias Tuybens,

head of quality control for digitization projects at CegeSoma

Mathias, you joined CegeSoma in June 2021 to work on the quality control of digitization projects, and assist readers, whether by fetching documents from storage or by making reproductions on request. What does "quality control" entail and how does it help library users ?

I think my work is useful because I help make archival documents more accessible. First, I check that the digitized documents are correctly oriented, complete and legible. Then, I rename files in a logical and systematic way so they can be easily identified and found. I also describe what has been scanned in summary tables. Finally, I am responsible for OCRing documents with printed text. This means that we use optical character recognition software to create PDFs which can then be searched, for example, by keyword; this is a feature that is very popular with researchers.

What are the most pleasant or interesting aspects of your job?

My office is right next to the reading room, which means I'm at the heart of the action, at the crossroads between the collections, the visitors and the rest of my colleagues. I like this key position, which allows me to feel useful and interact a lot. I also find it exciting to have a job that allows me to apply what I learned during my education in library and information science while combining the two completely different dimensions of paper and digital archives.

What qualities do you need for such a job?

I think you need to be rigorous, but also patient, because you must repeat the same types of operation hundreds of times... Of course, you also need a good eye to spot mistakes, either on a scanned image, or in the numbering of files!

Thanks Mathias!

P.S. Do you have a memorable anecdote to share?

My family laughed a lot the day I told them about an academic who requested the reproduction of an archive of more than 600 pages... I counted them one by one in order to estimate the final cost which was quite high to say the least! In the end, the order did not come through. In such cases, we remind people who are interested that they can also come to our reading room and take, free of charge, photos of the documents that want reproduce themselves .