American University of Beirut

Børre Ludvigsen (1946-2020): Pioneer of digitization and founder of Al-Mashriq repository

The AUB University Libraries and community mourn the loss of Professor Børre Ludvigsen, who passed away on Monday, March 30 of this year.

Ludvigsen was a prominent and active professor of informatics and was a pillar contributor and owner of several of the first digitization and research initiatives at the University Libraries and at AUB in general, working with many centers and institutions to bring collections together, digitize them, and then present them in the best way possible.

One of his main, still-standing accomplishments is “Al-Mashriq" (The Levant), a webserver which became a local and regional repository. Ludvigsen describes Al-Mashriq as "a repository for cultural multimedia information from the Levant (Al-Mashriq) in general and Lebanon in particular. […] it contains over 245,000 documents and is still growing. It was started as an initiative by Berthe Choueiry (now associate professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and myself in 1993 and was for a while an ftp-server at the Ecole Polytechnic Federal de Lausanne. It was moved​ in 1994 to become a World-Wide Web server at the Østfold University College, Halden (Norway) where it now resides and is maintained by myself and an occasional team of students."

Ludvigsen was the lead project manager at the AUB Digital Documentation Center, which was back then the pioneering entity behind the long, ongoing journey of digitizing AUB's history and cultural heritage.

At the level of the AUB Libraries, Ludvigsen worked on many of the earliest digitization initiatives, including the Art and Political Posters, the Student Union Gazette project, the Arabic Manuscripts Digitization project, in addition to several projects related to Saab Medical Library. Most of these works are currently featured on the Archives and Special Collections website and on the Saab Medical Library website.  

Anyone who knew Professor Børre Ludvigsen speaks of his kindness and his heartfelt dedication to his work and to AUB and its culture. He was a true pioneer in so many fields and the Libraries, as well as the AUB community, are so grateful for his outstanding contributions, which will live long to tell his story.

To know more about Professor Børre Ludvigsen, and about his work, visit his website.

May he rest in peace.

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