Interviewees sought for DIY Digitization project

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v, image © Daniel Wakelin

Readers and researchers in special collections reading rooms worldwide are increasingly being allowed to photograph books and manuscripts themselves, for their own research use. We at the Bodleian Library are seeing this demand increase amongst our readers, from those wishing to take high-quality images with a camera to those who want to take a quick snap with their smart phone.

However, the impact of such “DIY digitization” both on research and teaching and on service provision has not been given sustained attention. Daniel Wakelin, Jeremy Griffiths Professor of Medieval English Palaeography at Oxford University, Christine Madsen, formerly Head of Digital Programmes at the Bodleian and currently a visiting academic at the Oxford e-Research Centre, and Judith Siefring, a digital project manager at the Bodleian, recently received funding from The John Fell Fund to explore the impact of DIY digitization.

One experimental aspect of the project has been to set up a Bodleian Special Collections Flickr site, where we encourage readers who have taken photographs of our special collections to share their photographs with the members of the group. Guidance and restrictions are given on the site. We want to know if and how readers want to share their images, and what their practices reveal about user-led photography.

A second aspect of the project will be to interview users of special collections about their methods and attitudes to taking their own photographs of books and manuscripts. If you are willing to be interviewed for the project, we’d be very grateful! Please contact Judith Siefring via email, in the format

Many thanks!


Disseminating our work

We are committed to disseminating our work locally, nationally, and internationally. This is a selected list of recent presentations and papers.

Sarah Barkla and Michael Davis presented ORA to the Research Software Developers Network

  • Michael Popham delivered a paper at DH2015, in Sydney, Australia on the EEBO-TCP’s creation and release into the public domain of 25,000 texts earlier this year.
  • Sally Rumsey gave a talk at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on ‘Research data services at the University of Oxford’ as part of their Research data management: where are we now? event. The slides are available.
  • Emma Stanford presented Digital.Bodleian to a group of Engineering Science alumni as part of the University’s Alumni Weekend.
  • Pip Willcox gave papers on the Bodleian’s First Folio and digital scholarship iniatives at Japanese Association for Digital Humanities 2015 conference at the University of Kyoto; at a research seminar at the University of Tokyo; at Digital Material at NUI Galway with David De Roure; and at Vers une littérature mondiale à l’heure du numérique? at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Sorbonne.

Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School 2015

This year’s Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School (DHOxSS) was the biggest yet, with over 160 participants from around the world coming to Oxford for a week in July. Each participant followed one of eight week-long workshop strands, with keynote and additional lectures for an hour each morning.

Workshops were on subjects as diverse as Digital Musicology, Crowdsourcing for Academic, Library and Museum Environments, and Humanities Data: Curation, Analysis, Access, and Reuse.

DHOxSS’s Organizational Committee is made up of colleagues from across the University, and is profoundly multidisciplinary in its approach to training in many fields of the digital humanities. It is co-directed by James Cummings (IT Services) and Pip Willcox (Bodleian Libraries).

This year there were more than 80 speakers, with two thirds coming from the University of Oxford. A third were invited experts from around the world. The Bodleian provided 12 speakers across several of the workshop strands:

  • Alexandra Franklin
  • Tanya Gray Jones
  • Matthew Holford
  • David Howell
  • Neil Jefferies
  • Matthew Kimberley
  • Liz McCarthy
  • Matthew McGrattan
  • Monica Messaggi Kaya
  • Sally Rumsey
  • Judith Siefring
  • Pip Willcox

Two strands were convened by Bodleian colleagues: Digital Approaches in Medieval and Renaissance Studies by Judith Siefring; and An Introduction to Digital Humanities by Pip Willcox.

The call is currently out for volunteers to convene workshops for DHOxSS 2016.

—Pip Willcox

The Bodleian’s new Centre for Digital Scholarship

If you have visited the Weston Library, you may have seen a large room on the first floor, visible from Blackwell Hall and above the public entrance, with “Centre for Digital Scholarship” engraved on the door. We ran a skeleton series of events there last term, and are delighted to announce that it is now up and running.

We are grateful to the committee of the John Fell Fund for the success of our application to establish the Centre for Digital Scholarship, by funding the post of Co-ordinator for the Centre for two years. This role has been taken up by Pip Willcox, who would welcome hearing ideas or enquiries from you about the Centre.

The Centre for Digital Scholarship is one of a number being set up in leading institutions around the world, as you can read in a blog post on EduCause.

The aim of our Centre for Digital Scholarship is to facilitate the transformation of scholarly practice across the University of Oxford, and of engagement with Libraries’ collections, through this multi-disciplinary hub. The Centre’s work will encourage collaborative innovation through digital technologies and methods to support the Libraries‘ and the University’s Digital Strategy. It will support teaching, learning, and research across the University by working with students, professional staff, and academics through a programme of training and seminars; and digitally engaging the public. A large part of the Co-ordinator’s role in the Centre’s early years will be working towards fund-raising to establish and sustain the Centre.

Events and seminars will be publicized through this blog, as well as the Bodleian Libraries’ What’s On page. If you have an idea for an event or training session you would like to see, or help organize, please get in touch!

—Pip Willcox

Weston Library Re-fill and PADS

The Weston Library re-fill project started in August 2014 with the move of material into Reading Rooms and the Gallery. In October 2014 work began on filling the compartments and as of September 2015 fourteen of the twenty two compartments have been filled.

The Western Manuscript and Oriental collections have been moved into the building from various sites including Rhodes House, the Radcliffe Science Library, the Oriental Institute, and the History Faculty. The project is now focussed on bringing back the Rare Book collections from BSF in Swindon which will be followed by John Johnson and Music material.

The re-fill was due to be completed in June 2016 but due to work required to prevent rain-water from the north side of the roadway leaking into one of the compartments the date may be put back a few months.

The moves are being carried out by a team of six book-movers and four drivers who are on short-term contracts. The team is supervised by members of the Packaging and Delivery Section (PADS). PADS staff divide their time between book-moving duties in Oxford and a warehouse in Abingdon where they make the grey boxes which are used to protect library and archive material.

—Edward Adcock
Manager of PADS and Head of Book Moving

Bodleian Libraries support for the Alan Turing Institute

Oxford is a partner in the Alan Turing Insitute (ATI), a joint venture funded by EPSRC and four partners: the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, UCL and Warwick. ATI is being established to lead in the development of foundational methods and techniques for data science and analytics and will be based at the British Library, at St. Pancras, London. ATI will analyse and create data including genomics and medical data, personal health data, finance data, social media data, data from sensors embedded in the environment, data on consumer behaviour; and is expected to have broad inter-disciplinary application. Oxford’s involvement in the ATI is being led by Professor Thomas Melham (computer science), Professor Peter Grindrod (mathematics) and Professor Helen Margetts (Oxford Internet Institute). Professor Anne Trefethen (CIO and PVC, ASUC) chairs the Computing and Data Committee.

Lucie Burgess, Associate Director for Digital Libraries and Richard Ovenden met with representatives of the libraries of the JV partners at the British Library on 10th August to discuss support for the ATI. Key topics for discussion were support for research data management and subscriptions to e-resources, such as how to ensure that all ATI researchers will ideally have a level playing field for access, irrespective of the subscriptions supported by their home institutions. Lucie will chair a working group on research data management issues made up of library partners, and Jisc Collections has been asked to consider e-resoures issues. Lucie is also a representative to the Computing and Data Committee. The Bodleian Libraries contributed to two proposals for scientific scoping workshops which have been funded: one on Cultural Heritage Informatics led by the British Library; and one on Multimodal Data at Scale, led by Edinburgh University.

For further information please see

—Lucie Burgess

Electronic Legal Deposit Conference

Electronic Legal Deposit (eLD) has been with us since April 2013. We now have over a million journal articles and almost 25,000 ebooks deposited under eLD and available, via SOLO, to readers in Oxford libraries.

Following on from our series of forums, the Bodleian eLD group is holding a half-day conference for staff on 11 December 2015. Come along to learn about what more eLD will bring us as we move beyond the basics: e-versions of other types of material, such as digital maps, digital sheet music, and official papers; and the vast potential of the Legal Deposit UK Web Archive for capturing, preserving, and researching twenty-first century life in the UK.

The title of the conference is eLD: Beyond the Basics and it will be held 9.00—14.00, Friday 11 December (including lunch) at the Weston Library.

—Jackie Raw
Head of Legal Deposit Operations
Collections and Resource Description

Getting a grip on Research Data

The new Oxford Research Data Management Delivery Group met for the first time at the end of September. This group aims to work on a joined-up approach to the delivery of services and projects to support Research Data Management at Oxford. It is a collaboration between the Bodleian, IT Services, and Research Services.

—Sally Rumsey

ORCIDs at Oxford

ORCID is a service “connecting research and researchers”:

ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.


ORCIDs are rapidly becoming the de facto unique identifier for academic authors. Uptake of the new ORCIDs at Oxford service is encouraging. 

ORCIDs at Oxford enables authors to link their ORCID and Oxford accounts. Within a short time, over 1,800 researchers have taken advantage of this service and created and linked an ORCID account.

This programme of work was lead and co-ordinated by Bodleian Digital Library. You can find out more about it.

—Sally Rumsey