Yeah, sure, why not -- 4 PhD candidates should just forget about accomplishing the things they need to accomplish to earn their PhDs, and waste a bunch of time (and money, ultimately) to put an entire archive -- which you'll have noticed isn't in complete pages, but fragments, which have to be put together like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing -- online, where nothing would happen for years, no one would be able to figure it out because its so specialized, and maybe they could get jobs working at a florist shop.
I disagree it’s so ‘specialized’ that translation is limited to the knowledge and available time of 4 PhD candidates. Surely we could count at least 400. Or 4000 worldwide. Discovery shouldn’t rely on time between spring breaks, sabatticals, summer breaks, fall breaks, seminars, lectures and vacations.
Crowd-source it out on the Gutenberg Project model. How much faster could complete translation occur if hundreds of people were working, assigned page by assigned page, and tossing trick ponys off to ‘the experts’ to fill in. We’re not talking War and Peace here. I did notice page fragments, large and small captured between two sheets of lucite. Translation of the large being the key to smaller fragments. What if all that remained in 6 months was the translation of the smallest, the last fragments? With as many work-study grants that the government hands out to students, universities have no lack of free labor to photograph and digitize. The volunteers won’t mind if the 4 PhD candidates want to take the final accolades.