Digitisation of Manuscripts from Cirebon Using a Health Protocol to Avoid Covid-19 Infection

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Dreamsea.co – DREAMSEA has resumed the digitisation of manuscripts from Cirebon after having halted the activity in early March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to finish the digitisation of these manuscripts, the activity was resumed on 6 and 7 July by strictly following a health protocol.

The digitisation was resumed by using a health protocol in order to ensure the health and safety of the digitising team and the PPIM staff. M. Nida Fadlan, the DREAMSEA Data Manager and digitisation field manager expressed that it was very important to continue the digitisation by making sure that the team members abide by the health regulations put in place.

“The digitasation process was much hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic. After reviewing the present developments in Southeast Asia the decision was made to resume the DREAMSEA digitisation process but that it could only be done by following a standard health protocol to minimize the danger of becoming infected by the virus,” Nida said.

The digitisation of the manuscripts from Cirebon was done in a closed room that was specially made available at the PPIM office. The team worked in such a way to avoid possible infection by the virus among the PPIM UIN Syarif Hidayatullah staff in accordance with the recommendations issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Health and the WHO.

Each team member who was involved in the digitisation process was required to make a self assessment about their activities and exposure to the Covid-19 virus in order to be declared fit to engage in the work. Their body temperature was measured routinely every time people entered the PPIM premises. Moreover, each team member was outfitted with protective gear such as a face-shield, gloves and a face mask. Handsanitiser was also made available to guard hygiene in order to minimize the risk of becoming exposed to the virus and becoming infected.

The manuscripts that were digitised this time originate from a collection that was put together in a programme to preserve manuscripts executed by PPIM UIN Syarif Hidayatullah in Jakarta. This programme was started by Prof. Dr. Oman Fathurrahman in 2016 and the collection was deposited at the PPIM office which is fortunate it they can now be digitised even though we are still in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.


The target of the present mission is 40 manuscripts with as many as 2.302 pages. Most of the manuscripts are written in Arabic, Pegon and Javanese scripts while the texts include correspondence letters, notes, and various Islamic texts in Arabic and Javanese.

The DREAMSEA programme is executed by the Center for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM) of the State Islamic University Syarif Hidayatullah in Jakarta and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC) of the University of Hamburg. The programme is supported by the Arcadia Foundation, a funding agency established by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin in England. Its main mission is to preserve cultural heritage and the environment and to promote open access in the entire world. The DREAMSEA digital repository is made available through cooperation with the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) in Minnesota, USA.

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