Zegami: Bringing your image collections to life

The Centre for Digital Scholarship is delighted to host Zegami, an Oxford University Innovation spin-out company. We invite you to join us for a demonstration of their technology platform for data discovery, and for refreshments afterwards in the Weston Library’s Visiting Scholars’ Centre.

Logo of Zegami What: Zegami: Bringing your image collections to life!

Who: Samuel Conway and the Zegami team

When: 13.30—14.30, Wednesday 9 November 2016

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library  (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

Zegami screenshot

Samuel Conway writes:

The internet has provided the ultimate platform for museums, art galleries and libraries to showcase their collections to a global audience.  The potential for millions of people to access, discover and enjoy treasured collections calls for a better way to capture, store and make image rich assets available. Providing a user experience that puts them at the heart of their interaction with the content in a way that is valuable to them, is a key measure of success.

Traditional search tools and data base user interfaces are both cumbersome and clumsy.  Zegami is designed to enhance your current image database facility and provides the most intuitive image based visual search tool available.

Zegami screenshot

But it does not stop there, Zegami is more than just an image management tool: its ability to easily search, sort, filter, group, tag and annotate large scale image collections at both the point of entry and viewer engagement stages, sets it apart.  This provides the ideal platform for museums, art galleries and libraries to present their collections to ensure maximum holistic benefit.

Organisations including the Bodleian Libraries and several Oxford University research facilities are already benefiting from the use of the Zegami toolset to bring their collections to life. 

Zegami has enabled us to make our trade cards available, in an exciting, cutting-edge way, to new communities: local and family historians, textile historians, etc.  It is a far cry from searching a library catalogue and clicking on a thumbnail.  We love the way it enables users to refine their results by so many parameters. To be able to search by street within a town, with geomapping is an exciting departure for us and the speed with which the results appear is staggering. I cannot recommend Zegami highly enough as a tool which doesn’t just deliver random images, but finds the very image the user wants in a dynamic way.

—Julie Anne Lambert, Librarian of the Johnson Johnson Collection

Here are some examples of how Zegami has been used by museums and libraries to showcase their collections:

Zegami screenshot

We look forward to showing you the power of Zegami and how it will help everyone get more from your collections. You can test the software yourself, or call or email Samuel (+44 (0)7903 628 633, sconway@zegami.com) to find out more.

Access: If you have a University or Bodleian Reader’s card, you can get to the Centre for Digital Scholarship through the Mackerras Reading Room on the first floor of the Weston Library, around the gallery. If you do not have access to the Weston Library you are more than welcome to attend the talk: please contact Pip Willcox before the event (pip.willcox@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

Bodleian Student Editions: a successful first workshop

Mike Webb (Bodleian Special Collections) writes:

The first Bodleian Student Editions workshop was held in the Centre for Digital Scholarship in the Weston Library on 19 October 2016, the first of six planned for the academic year. 

The catalogue and transcription of letters from the first workshop are now available online through Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO). Images of the letters are now available through Digital Bodleian.

This pioneering initiative which explores the potential of Bodleian resources and space for cross-disciplinary, skills-based training in textual and digital scholarship, was developed by staff and students as a continuation of conversations that included the Speaking in Absence: Letters in the Digital Age conference, organised by Olivia Thompson, Balliol-Bodley Scholar and DPhil candidate in Ancient History, and Helen Brown, DPhil candidate in English.

Elizabeth Wagstaff letter, 2 May 1621

Elizabeth Wagstaff letter, 2 May 1621

The pilot scheme of Bodleian Student Edition workshops is a collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries’ Special Collections department, the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and the Faculty of History’s Cultures of Knowledge project. Each workshop brings together staff from these sections with undergraduates and postgraduates from across the University, the users and potential users of manuscripts, to produce online editions of selected letters.

Interest in the workshops has been overwhelming, with all six pilot sessions planned for this year already full (72 places) and a growing waiting list for next year’s workshops. Students from a range of disciplines have registered, including members of the History, English and Classics faculties, both undergraduate and postgraduate, as well as students of art history, archaeology and biology.

The pilot scheme includes six similar, standalone workshops concentrating on early modern letters. In the course of each session, participants will catalogue and digitally transcribe letters and information. These will be published on the Culture of Knowledge project’s Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO), as Bodleian Student Editions. The workshops introduce students to handling and reading early modern manuscripts from Bodleian collections, transcription and proofreading, metadata creation and curation, submitting metadata and transcriptions into EMLO, licensing digital content, and the possibilities that text at scale brings to research.

The participants work from high-quality digital images of the manuscripts, but also have access to the original materials: part of the workshop’s purpose is to encourage students to think about the physical nature of the letter and how this relates to its digital presence.

The excitement and interest generated by the opportunity to get close to the original letters was one of the things that impressed me most about the workshop on 19 October. It was overwhelmingly positively received by the students, who described the activities as ‘extremely informative’, ‘a wonderful introduction to textual editing’ and an excellent illustration of ‘how documents can be used to understand networks of thought’. Participants also highlighted the enthusiastic atmosphere and ‘quality of the instruction’.

The manuscripts used in this first workshop were six letters written between 1616 and 1622 by Elizabeth Wagstaff [or Wagstaffe] of Warwickshire, to her husband, Timothy Wagstaff, at Middle Temple, London. These letters have been the subject of very little research, and the students showed a keenness to provide explanatory notes on their transcriptions to place them into the wider context of EMLO. The participants enjoyed the opportunity to work with students from other subjects and degree levels. All responded that they are more likely to use archival resources in their studies, and some were keen to carry out further work with the Wagstaff letters as part of their own studies. They were also eager to hear about the possibilities opened by digital methods of research.

The sessions are taught by Pip Willcox, Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship; Miranda Lewis, Digital Editor, Early Modern Letters Online; and Mike Webb, Curator of Early Modern Archives and Manuscripts, all of whom are then on hand, together with Olivia Thompson and Helen Brown, to help the students with their descriptions and transcriptions of the manuscripts.

—Mike Webb
Curator of Early Modern Archives and Manuscripts

Bodleian LIbraries

Research Uncovered—The visualization of the circulation of books over time and space


Cristina DondiWhat: 
The visualization of the circulation of books over time and space: How we got there

Who: Cristina Dondi

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 8 November 2016

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre  (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

Cristina will present 15cV, a powerful tool for the visualization of the movement of 15th-century printed books, from the time and place where they were printed to where they are today, via the many places and people who distributed, purchased, owned, and annotated them over the following 500-year period. Unanswered historical queries on the impact of printing on early modern society can now be addressed for the first time. Cristina will illustrate how the project which is making visualization possible—probably one of the largest collaborative enterprises in the humanities—was set up and keeps growing.

Visualizing the 15th-century booktrade

Cristina Dondi is Oakeshott Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities at Lincoln College, and Secretary of the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).

She is the Principal Investigator of the 5-year project 15cBOOKTRADE, funded by the European Research Council (ERC), which started in April 2014.

Cristina was one of the editors of the Bodleian catalogue of incunabula, Bod-inc (OUP 2005), and the creator of the international databases Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI) and TEXT-inc.

Research Uncovered—The Art of Seeing

Chrystalina Antoniades 
What: The Art of Seeing

Who: Chrystalina Antoniades

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 29 November 2016

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library  (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

We might think that we can see everything that is happening around us, and it is often said that ‘seeing is believing’, indicating that visual perception is considered one of the most trustworthy means of obtaining information about what is happening around us. However, research has revealed that perception does not capture as much information about the world as we would think.Even if viewing conditions were excellent, we could still miss important events around us.

In this talk, I will focus on the neuroscientific relationship between visual perception and art and talk about some of the work we have being carrying out in collaboration with the Ashmolean museum.

Professor Chrystalina Antoniades is an Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford and a lecturer in medicine at Brasenose college. After finishing her PhD at the University of Cambridge, Professor Antoniades moved to Oxford to take up a position with Professor Christopher Kennard. She has recently set up her own research group, the NeuroMetrology Lab. She researches Parkinson’s disease and in research clinics, uses a variety of quantitative experimental methods, based on precise measurement of subtle abnormalities of the speed and coordinate of various movements such as saccades (fast eye movements), motor control (such as finger movements) along with various aspects of  gait control. She is the co-chair of the Clinical Neurosciences Society for the department and has developed the Art and Neuroscience theme with Dr Jim Harris at the Ashmolean Museum. Her interests lies in examining the neurobiological relationship between visual perception and art and is the organiser for the Brain Awareness week for the Clinical Neurosciences in Oxford. Recently, Professor Antoniades has been awarded the Vice Chancellors Award for public engagement and is passionate about engaging her research with the public.

Access: If you have a University or Bodleian Reader’s card, you can get to the Centre for Digital Scholarship through the Mackerras Reading Room on the first floor of the Weston Library, around the gallery. If you do not have access to the Weston Library you are more than welcome to attend the talk: please contact Pip Willcox before the event (pip.willcox@bodleian.ox.ac.uk).

Research Uncovered— Social and Cognitive Dimensions of the Lexicon

Prof Janet PierrehumbertWhat: Social and Cognitive Dimensions of the Lexicon

Who: Janet Pierrehumbert

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 1 November 2016

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is requiredWordovators: crocoark, sharkodile, sharile

Educated adults know some 100,000 distinct words, and they encounter and create novel words all the time. Only a fraction of all words are used by the entire speech community. Most are associated with particular topics or social groups. As a result, rare and novel words provide an interesting window into the cognitive and social processes that shape lexical systems.

To investigate the structure and evolution of the lexicon, we use large scale-text mining and  psycholinguistic experiments. This talk will present examples of both methods. First, I will present a mathematical analysis of the dynamics of words in the archives of USENET discussion groups, selected because they provide data from large numbers of people (10,000 to 100,000 individuals) over long time spans (10 to 20 years). I will also talk about some experiments from the Wordovators project. This project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, uses on-line word games in order to collect data about artificial language learning from a large and diverse pool of people. Results reveal individual variation in cognitive style, as well as social influences in games involving two people.  These interact to determine general patterns of word formation.

Wordovators: leki-lekiki; bolu-?
Janet B. Pierrehumbert
is Professor of Language Modelling in the Oxford e-Research Centre. She received her B.A. from Harvard in 1975, and her Ph.D. from MIT in 1980. She was a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Labs in Linguistics and AI Research until 1989. From then until 2015, she was a member of the Linguistics faculty at Northwestern University. Her current research  focuses on how the dynamics of language — in acquisition, processing, or historical change — is related to the structure of linguistic systems. It combines experiments, statistical analyses of large corpora, and computational simulations of linguistic communities.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Linguistic Society of America, and the Cognitive Science Society.

Bodleian Student Editions

Please note that these workshops are fully subscribed for this academic year, 2016–2017.

The catalogue and transcription of letters from the first workshop are now available online through Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO).

Textual editing workshops for undergraduates and postgraduates

A collaboration between the Bodleian’s Department of Special Collections, the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and the Faculty of History’s Cultures of Knowledge project, Early Modern Letters Online.

We are looking for enthusiastic undergraduates and postgraduates from any discipline to take part in one of a pilot series of workshops in textual editing, working with original manuscripts from the Bodleian’s Special Collections in the Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library. Each workshop will stand alone, and similar content will be covered in each.

Day-long workshops will be held:

Michaelmas Term 2016
10:00–16:00, Wednesday 2nd week, 19 October
10:00–16:00, Thursday 8th week, 1 December

Hilary Term 2017
10:00–16:00, Wednesday 3rd week, 1 February
10:00–16:00, Thursday 7th week, 2 March

 Trinity Term 2017
10:00–16:00, Wednesday 3rd week, 10 May
10:00–16:00, Thursday 7th week, 8 June

Textual Editing

Textual editing is the process by which a manuscript reaches its audience in print or digital form. The texts we read in printed books depend on the choices of editors across the years, some obscured more than others. The past few years have seen a surge of interest in curated media, and the advent of new means of distribution has inspired increasingly charged debates about what is chosen to be edited, by whom, and for whom.

These workshops will give students—the future users of texts for scholarly research—the opportunity to examine these questions in a space designed around the sources at the heart of them. The Bodleian Libraries’ vast collections give students direct access to important ideas free from years of mediation, and to authorial processes in their entirety, while new digital tools allow greater space to showcase the lives of ordinary people who may not feature in traditional narrative history.

Early Modern Letters

The pilot sessions will focus on letters of the early modern period. Letters are a unique source, both challenging and essential for historians and literary critics: in the so-called ‘Republic of Letters’ they were a vital means by which the ideas which shaped our civilization were communicated and developed.

Participants will study Bodleian manuscripts, working with colleagues from the Bodleian’s Special Collections, the Centre for Digital Scholarship, and the Cultures of Knowledge project, to produce an annotated digital transcription which will be published on Culture of Knowledge’s flagship resource, Early Modern Letters Online, as ‘Bodleian Student Editions’.


Each workshop will introduce students to:

  1. Special Collections handling
  2. Palaeography
  3. Transcription and proofreading
  4. Metadata creation and curation
  5. Licensing
  6. Submitting metadata and transcriptions into Early Modern Letters Online
  7. Text at scale

Participation is open to all students of the University of Oxford. If you would like to participate please contact Mike Webb, Curator of Early Modern Manuscripts, mike.webb@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

The Bodleian Libraries welcome thoughts from students at all levels on ways in which the use of archival material and engaging with digital scholarship can facilitate learning and research.

This Bodleian Student Editions series is organized by:

  • Helen Brown, DPhil candidate in English
  • Miranda Lewis, Digital Editor, Early Modern Letters Online
  • Olivia Thompson, Balliol-Bodley Scholar
  • Mike Webb, Curator of Early Modern Archives and Manuscripts
  • Pip Willcox, Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship

Find out more

For an idea of the range of collections in the Weston, visit the exhibition Bodleian Treasures: 24 Pairs in the Treasury gallery in Blackwell Hall, where some famous items are illuminated through juxtaposition to a less known item that prompts reflection on the concept of a treasure. The latest themed exhibition at the Weston Library, Staging History, opened on 14 October in the adjacent ST Lee gallery.

You can find about the range of services and events the Centre for Digital Scholarship offers.

You may be particularly interested in an upcoming training course introducing the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative.

Digital Methods—An Introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative

Image: James Cummings

Image: James Cummings

Research Support, Academic IT Services and the Centre for Digital Scholarship offer a course introducing the Guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative for creating digital texts. The workshop uses materials developed for the Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School.

If you’re interested in learning about markup and encoding digital editions, this course is for you!


What: An Introduction to the Text Encoding Initiative

Who: James Cummings and Pip Willcox

When: 10:00–16:30, Thursday 27 and Friday 28 October 2016

Where: Centre for Digital Scholarship, Weston Library (map)

Access: open to members of the University of Oxford

Admission: free

Booking is required: to reserve a place on this workshop, please email Pip Willcox, pip.willcox@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

TEI logo

This two-day workshop balances introductory-level lectures with hands-on practical sessions to introduce and survey the recommendations of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) for creation of digital text.

You don’t need any previous experience with digital text or markup: we provide introductions to markup, XML, and the infrastructure of the TEI P5 Guidelines. The TEI Guidelines are suitable for encoding any sort of text, in any language or writing system, but examples will mostly been drawn from projects the tutors have worked on.

The workshop covers general metadata, the transcription and description of manuscripts, and metadata concerning the names of people, places, and organizations. This is aimed at beginners, and the workshop alternates between lectures surveying a topic and hands-on practicals giving you a chance to practise what you have learned. There will also be time for discussion of participants’ own projects.


Attendees are requested to bring a laptop with the latest version of oXygen XML Editor. As a member of the University, using your Single Sign On you can download this software and the required licence free of charge, via IT Services’ Software Registration and Download. If you cannot bring a laptop with you, please let us know before the day.

James Cummings is a Senior Academic Research Technology Specialist for IT Services at the University of Oxford. James is founding Director of the annual Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School and is an elected member (and previously chair) of the TEI Consortium’s Technical Council. His PhD was in Medieval Studies from the University of Leeds and he was Director of Digital Medievalist (2009–2012).

Pip Willcox is the Head of the Centre for Digital Scholarship at the Bodleian Libraries, and a Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford e-Research Centre. With a background in scholarly editing and book history, she has worked on TEI-compliant editing projects including Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, the Shakespeare Quartos Archive, the Stationers’ Register Online, and the Bodleian First Folio. She serves on the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium Board of Directors and the Advisory Board for Digital Renaissance Editions.

Research Uncovered—TEI for manuscript description at Oxford and Cambridge


Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 151

Bodleian Library, MS. Douce 151

What: TEI for manuscript description at Oxford and Cambridge

Who: Matthew Holford, Huw Jones, and Chris Rogers

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 25 October 2016

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

Since 2009 the Bodleian Library and Cambridge Digital Library have been creating digital catalogues of their Western and Oriental collections following the Guidelines of the TEI (Text Encoding Initiative). The Bodleian now has nine TEI-encoded catalogues covering over 20,000 manuscripts, and a major project is currently in progress to standardize the metadata and develop a new infrastructure to support it. These papers will outline the rationale behind the choice of TEI and the challenges involved in its implementation, and describe the Bodleian’s approach to developing a user interface and sustainable cataloguing workflow.

<msDesc> at Oxford and Cambridge

Matthew Holford and Huw Jones

The TEI <msDesc> module was deliberately  created as a flexible scheme which would ‘accommodate the needs of many different classes of encoders’. The potential price of this flexibility is the development of discrete communities of practice among different users of the module resulting in small but significant differences in encoding which complicate interoperability and reuse of metadata. Many such differences can indeed be identified. Not only has the module been relatively widely adopted by digital catalogues of Western medieval manuscripts (the manuscripts for which the module was originally most obviously designed). It has also been adopted by catalogues of non-Western manuscripts and other text-bearing objects, such as Fihrist for Arabic manuscripts and Epidoc for ancient inscriptions.

This paper reports on a current project at the Bodleian Library, Oxford and the University Library, Cambridge, which is assessing how various cataloguing projects within both institutions have implemented the <msDesc> module. The aim is to simplify the technical infrastructure for storing and processing the TEI, to provide clearer guidance and improved workflow for future cataloguers, to improve interoperability within and between the respective institutions, and potentially to provide technical frameworks and metadata standards for other institutions looking to create <msDesc> records.

Creating a maintainable cataloging workflow and infrastructure using TEI

Chris Rogers

For some time, we at Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services (BDLSS) have struggled to maintain a number of TEI-based manuscript catalogues, based on a custom built indexing and display system for which the code has diverged significantly between implementations. To resolve this, we have embarked on a project to create a new infrastructure and end-to-end workflow for delivering and maintaining TEI-based catalogues moving forward. The aim is to make life considerably easier for both developers and cataloguers.

The tools and documentation development as part of the project will be made open-source for other institutions to use and feed into. As part of this work, we have engaged in an extensive programme of user requirements-gathering, and are currently in the process of devising the technical architecture of our new solution.

This presentation explores the results of our requirements gathering exercise, and the insights gained around preferred workflows for catalogue creators, eagerness to engage directly with code, and ideas for exposing the data in novel ways. As part of the requirements-gathering exercise, we also conducted a market review, talking to organizations in the UK and the US about how they currently use TEI. We will discuss these findings, and look forward to the technical solution we will be putting in place.

Research Uncovered—Accelerating the Diagnosis of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: using a Combined Genetic and Computational Approach

 stjo_0130cm-bwWhat: Accelerating the Diagnosis of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: using a Combined Genetic and Computational Approach

Who: Philip Fowler

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 22 November 2016

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

The discovery of antibiotics in the middle of the 20th century helped reduce the number of deaths from infectious diseases globally. Unfortunately, the use of antibiotics has inevitably led to bacteria developing resistance. It is vital, therefore, that doctors know which antibiotics can (and which cannot) be used to treat a patient with a bacterial infection, such as Tuberculosis (TB).

At present, a sample taken from the patient is sent to a laboratory, usually in a hospital, where the bacteria are grown and then different antibiotics administered to see which ones are effective. For a slow-growing bacterium like TB this process can take around a month. The incredible rate at which gene sequencing has got faster and cheaper now means that researchers, including the world-leading Modernising Medical Microbiology (MMM) group here at the University of Oxford, are beginning to replace the lab-based method with a genetics-based method.

This talk will describe this shift from lab-based to genetics-based microbiology that is happening in our hospitals and look at new methods that aim to predict the effect of individual mutations in TB genes.

Philip Fowler is a Senior Researcher working in the Modernising Medical Microbiology group at the John Radcliffe Hospital which is part of the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. He is a computational biophysicist and his research focusses on using computer simulation to understand and predict how proteins and small molecules, like antibiotics, move and interact with one another. Philip blogs and is active on Twitter, @philipwfowler.

Research Uncovered—Museums and Mobile: beyond the touchscreen


lodestone_in_galleryWhat: Museums and Mobile: beyond the touchscreen

Who: Scott Billings, Ted Koterwas, and Jessica Suess

When: 13.00—14.00, Tuesday 15 November 2016

Where: Weston Library Lecture Theatre (map)

Access: all are welcome

Admission: free

Booking: registration is required

Mobile guides have become ubiquitous in museums, but questions persist about their impact on visitor experience in terms of visitors looking down at their device, rather than up at the display. Oxford University Museums have conducted a research and development project to explore how mobile devices could be used to encourage and facilitate ‘heads up’ engagement.

We have developed new mobile interactives that rely less on the mobile screen and more on other capabilities of the phone: sensors, image recognition, and bluetooth. Using these features we turn smartphones into surrogates for some of the objects on display, allowing visitors to physically try using some of our scientific apparatus and musical instruments.

Scott Billings is the Digital Engagement Officer at the Museum of Natural History. He leads on digital engagement at the Museum, a diverse role covering web and social media as well as gallery and exhibition interactives. He was previously Public Engagement Officer at the Museum of the History of Science. Scott is trained in museum education, has co-curated exhibitions, and has been a design and cultural heritage journalist and freelance copywriter.

Ted Koterwas is the Web and Mobile Applications Lead at the University of Oxford’s IT Services. He leads the web and mobile applications team and has collaborated with the museums on a number of their recent mobile projects. He has worked creatively with technology since before phones had cameras, including directing the New Media exhibit development team at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Jessica Suess is the Digital Partnership Manager at Oxford University Museums. She is part of a small joint museums team that coordinates collaborative activity across the four Oxford University Museums. Leading on digital, she develops and manages digital projects, and pushes forward strategic initiatives to enable more collaborative IT and Digital approaches across the museums and division.