Catalogue of 15th century printed books now available to search

Further to work carried out at Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services, the TEXT-inc database and an associated TEXT-inc Person Index are now available to search.

The TEXT-inc database is an electronic catalogue of 15th century printed books, otherwise known as incunabula, conceived by the 15C BOOKTRADE Project. The database builds on an electronic version of A Catalogue of Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century (project Bod-Inc) and now provides a catalogue of incunabula from collections including the British Library, Venice Libraries, and Oxford Colleges. The TEXT-inc database includes corresponding identifiers in other databases such as ISTC and MEI. The TEXT-inc Person Index describes people related to the incunabula described in the TEXT-inc database.

The public search interface has been implemented using Blacklight, an open-source discovery platform framework. Blacklight is a Ruby on Rails Engine plugin and provides a faceted search interface to a Solr index. The Solr index is updated automatically further to a scheduled query of the Text-Inc relational database that the 15C BOOKTRADE project members use to record details of incunabula.

Blacklight includes useful extensions such as an advanced search form and a date range widget that can be used in the faceted search to limit results by year:

Text Inc date tool

A showcase of how Blacklight has been implemented in other libraries is available on the Blacklight web site.

Further information:

Text-inc database http://textinc.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/
Text-inc Person Index http://textinc-person.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

– Tanya Gray Jones

12th-century Arabic manuscript added to Digital.Bodleian

MS. Huntington 212, fol. 40r

MS. Huntington 212, fol. 40r

Since the launch of Digital.Bodleian last July, the number of images on the site has almost tripled. This is mostly thanks to the ongoing Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project, but we have also been undertaking smaller digitization projects for colleges and departments within the University of Oxford. These projects include Hertford College’s Ortelius Atlas, digitized in October, and Exeter College’s Prideaux manuscript.

Our most recent addition is the Bodleian’s MS. Huntington 212, a 12th-century copy of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Ṣūfī’s Book of Fixed Stars. This important Arabic manuscript, a treatise on the constellations, is now available to view online via Digital.Bodleian, with catalogue information available via Fihrist. More information about the manuscript can be found in a post by Alasdair Watson over at the blog for Archives and Manuscripts.

Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project update: Hebrew manuscripts

After four years, this landmark digitization project, a collaboration with the Vatican Library, is nearing its close. We at BDLSS, along with our colleagues in Imaging Services and Special Collections, are hard at work finishing up the digitization stage of the project. When this is done, the next step is to migrate all the Polonsky Project content—more than a thousand manuscripts and early printed books—to Digital.Bodleian, where it will all be centrally searchable and integrated with IIIF.

In the meantime, we already have 410 Hebrew manuscripts available on Digital.Bodleian, and that number is increasing every week. We are blogging about these manuscripts over at the project website, with recent posts on micrography and mathematical treatises.

MS. Canonici Or. 42, fol. 178r

MS. Canonici Or. 42, fol. 178r

DIY Digitization Mini-Conference

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v, https://flic.kr/p/wyYsyJ, image © Daniel Wakelin

On Friday the 8th of January, the Weston Library hosted a mini-conference on DIY digitization organized by Christine Madsen of the Oxford e-Research Centre, Daniel Wakelin of the English Faculty, and Judith Siefring of BDLSS. The aim of this event was to share and discuss the results of the DIY Digitization research project undertaken by Christine, Daniel and Judith in the past six months, and to learn about small-scale, semi-unstructured or otherwise unconventional digitization projects at other institutions across the UK and abroad. Nineteen librarians and academics gave presentations on the potential role of DIY digitization in teaching and research and its impact on library policy, and Judith presented the results of her survey of researchers.

A more formal report on the outcomes of the day will be forthcoming, but in the meantime we would like to thank everyone who contributed to the event, either by giving a presentation or by taking part in the discussion. We would also like to thank Christine, Daniel, Judith, and Alex Franklin of the Centre for the Study of the Book for organizing such an enlightening and enjoyable day, and the John Fell Fund for making it possible.

Digital Manuscripts Toolkit: The Journey So Far

Monica Messaggi Kaya recently presented her ongoing work on BDLSS’s Digital Manuscripts Toolkit project at two different events: Future of Web Apps (FOWA)’s conference in London on October 5-7, and JSOxford’s Javascript Story Time event on November 18.

The Digital Manuscripts Toolkit, funded by the Mellon Foundation, aims to produce a set of IIIF-based tools for studying manuscripts online, including an in-browser manifest authoring tool, which will allow scholars to build their own sequences of images from across IIIF-participating institutions. The project is still very much a work in progress, and these events were an excellent early opportunity to present our work to a more technical audience.

Monica will be writing about these events in a future blog post. In the meantime, she has made her presentation, “Digital Manuscripts Toolkit: The journey so far…“, available online. It’s a great resource for anyone who would like to know more about the project or about the world of IIIF-based manuscript scholarship.

– Emma Stanford

The Bodleian’s 12 Millionth Printed Book Goes Online

Shelley adds. d.14

Shelley adds. d.14

Yesterday, in a ceremony at the Weston Library, Bodley’s Librarian Richard Ovenden announced the Bodleian’s latest acquisition and its 12 millionth printed book: a formerly lost pamphlet containing a “poetical essay” by an 18-year-old Percy Bysshe Shelley (described on the pamphlet’s title page only as “a gentleman of the University of Oxford”). The pamphlet was printed in Oxford in 1811, rediscovered in 2006, and recently donated to the Bodleian by Mr Brian Fenwick-Smith.

The pamphlet has been digitized by the Bodleian and a TEI transcription has been created. You can view the images and transcription, and learn more about the pamphlet, on its brand-new microsite. The pamphlet has also been added to Digital.Bodleian, with IIIF-compatible images and metadata. (It is also now in SOLO, having been catalogued as Shelley adds. d.14.)

As challenging as it has been to digitize such a recent acquisition, which even yesterday was still in the process of being catalogued, we are proud to have been involved in this event, and pleased that this remarkable addition to the Bodleian’s collection is being shared with web users worldwide.

DIY Digitization Update

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v, https://flic.kr/p/wyYsyJ, image © Daniel Wakelin

Many thanks to the wonderful people who have sent us hugely engaging and detailed answers to our DIY Digitization interview questions via email. This input will be invaluable for our project and it is fascinating to read about scholars’ research practices and personal experiences in this area.

If you’ve taken your own photographs of Special Collections in the course of your research, and you’d be willing to answer some questions on the subject of DIY Digitization by email, please get in touch with Judith Siefring, via email in the format firstname.lastname@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Your views would be greatly appreciated!

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 firstname.lastname@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Many thanks!

 

Digital.Bodleian at Alumni Weekend

MS. D'Orville 301, f. 40r

Euclid’s Elementa in Digital.Bodleian

Last weekend the Bodleian invited engineering science alumni attending the University of Oxford’s Alumni Weekend (18-20 September) to a presentation on the Bodleian’s engineering-related materials. This event was held in the Bahari Room and the Centre for Digital Scholarship at the Weston Library. While Julie-Anne Lambert of the John Johnson Collection showed our guests a selection of printed ephemera related to automobiles and engineering, I gave a brief tour of the old Toyota Project website (created in 1996 to display images of ephemera digitized with funding from Toyota City) and then gave a demo of our new collections delivery interface, Digital.Bodleian. While the engineers were disappointed that I couldn’t currently show them any editions of Newton or Pythagoras in Digital.Bodleian, they showed interest in the technical aspects and capabilities of the site, especially in the ways in which the IIIF APIs and apps such as Mirador can be used to view and compare items in Digital.Bodleian and other repositories.

– Emma Stanford

Launch of Digital.Bodleian

Digital.Bodleian landing page

We’re very pleased to announce that our new unified digital collections platform, Digital.Bodleian, is now live. For the first time, it is possible to search and browse the Bodleian’s online special collections via a single interface. The site was launched on Wednesday at an event in the new Weston Library, with a lecture by Bruno Racine, president of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (whose Gallica is a well-established giant of digital library collections), and a speech by BDLSS’s own Lucie Burgess.

Digital.Bodleian has occupied the energies of a number of BDLSS people for some time now, and we are very excited to see it go live. The site’s landing page was designed by ONE, and the iNQUIRE search and browse interface was built by Armadillo (whose code will shortly be going open-source). We will have another post later on about the technical specs, but there are a couple of things we would like to highlight:

  1. Digital.Bodleian is IIIF-compliant, so you can view the manifest for any item, use the item’s UUID to open it in a IIIF viewer such as Mirador or Digirati’s Universal Viewer, and keep pace with future IIIF developments. Links to the IIIF manifest and the Universal Viewer are included in each item’s metadata panel within Digital.Bodleian.
  2. The content of the Bodleian Libraries’ diverse online collections, such as Luna, image.ox.ac.uk, and the Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project, is in the process of migration to Digital.Bodleian. Much of it is already there, and we hope to migrate the rest of it by the end of this year.
  3. Digital.Bodleian is interactive: you can tag and annotate items and build your own collections to download and export. The download package includes both the image (as a lower-resolution JPEG) and the metadata, but you can also download a JPEG of a portion of an image by right-clicking.

For more information, please see the Bodleian’s press release about the launch, an article by  BBC Oxford, and this Storify of DB tips. Also check out the next few weeks’ Twitter coverage by @bodleianlibs and @BDLSS.

– Emma Stanford