IIIFrankenstein

Last week Digital.Bodleian reached 700,000 images with the help of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein notebooks. These have been accessible online at the wonderful Shelley-Godwin Archive for some time now, complete with transcriptions, TEI markup and detailed explanatory notes, alongside other manuscripts from Mary Shelley, Percy-Bysshe Shelley, and William Godwin. Porting them to Digital.Bodleian is not intended to replace this brilliant resource, but it helps with the Bodleian’s mission to improve the discoverability of our online resources. It also lets users do a few extra neat things with the images.

Bodleian MS. Abinger c.57, fol. 23r.

Everything added to Digital.Bodleian receives a IIIF Manifest. This means the image sets and accompanying metadata are expressed in a rich, flexible format conforming to a shared API standard. IIIF tools exist for manipulating and comparing, as well as viewing, digital images. This comes in handy for the Frankenstein notebooks (properly called MS. Abinger c.56, MS. Abinger c.57 and MS. Abinger c.58). At present they are fragmented, and the ordering of the pages in the Draft notebooks (MS. Abinger c. 56 and c.57) is different to the linear order of the novel. Using IIIF tools, we can easily work with the notebooks side-by-side, and remix the ordering of pages to fit the novel’s sequence.

The Mirador viewer, created by Stanford University with the help of the Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation, lets us quickly and easily view multiple IIIF-compliant image sets alongside each other. We’ve created an instance with the Frankenstein notebooks ready-loaded side by side.

Bodleian MS. Abinger c.56, c.57 and c.58 viewed in Mirador.

The Bodleian’s Digital Manuscripts Toolkit, also funded with help from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, includes a Manifest Editor. This lets us remix and combine IIIF-compliant image sets into new sequences. Following the lead of the Shelley-Godwin Archive, we’ve created a manifest which reorders the Frankenstein Draft pages into the linear sequence of the novel. This can be viewed in a Mirador instance here – though note that the extant Draft is incomplete! The manifest itself lives here, and can be used with any other IIIF-compliant API.

IIIF Manifests are in a standardised JSON format.

If you’d like to use Mirador to view Digital.Bodleian images, you can use the link in the sidebar (the stylised ‘M’) when viewing any image or item. IIIF, Universal Viewer and Mirador Icons on Digital.Bodleian

To add further images alongside an item in Mirador, select ‘Change Layout’ from the top menu and choose how many items you’d like to view together, and the layout you’d like to view then in. You can then simply click-and-drag the IIIF icon from any other Digital.Bodleian image set into the Mirador browser tab. You can also open IIIF-compliant image sets from other institutions – you just need the URI of the IIIF Manifest.

For instructions on using the Digital Manuscript Toolkit’s Manifest Editor (and other tools), please see the DMT website.

Publicising a historic event in Wikipedia

The front page of English Wikipedia gets around five million hits per day. Highlighted sections of the page, such as “Did you know” and “In the news” trumpet the site’s purpose: sharing knowledge for its own sake. One of these sections, “On this day…” features five different facts each day, with links to relevant articles. These facts in turn are chosen from a large collection of roughly 100 historic events for each date. Many other language versions of Wikipedia have a similar “This day in history” section, though with different sets of facts.

As with everything else on Wikipedia, this collection of historic facts is offered freely for anyone to use for any purpose. “On this day in history” facts are ideal for sharing on social media, for example by Wikipedia’s official presence on Twitter.

Napoléon Bonaparte, listed in Wikipedia’s May 26 article for his coronation as King of Italy on 26 May 1805. Image from the Curzon Collection of political prints, CC-BY the Bodleian Libraries.

To avoid repetition from year to year, it helps to be able to draw on a large pool of historic events, so each day can showcase a variety of types of event, of locations and of eras. There is a relative shortage of events before 1800, so additions are welcome.

Being featured on the front page generates a lot of interest in the article.

  • The Alhambra Decree article typically gets about 300 views per day. When linked from the front page as a recent “On this day” item, it had nearly 10,000.
  • The Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814) article gets 70 to 80 views on a typical day, but had 5,400 when linked from the home page on its anniversary.
  • The article about Suvarnadurg, an Indian fort, usually gets around 30 views a day, but had 8,500 when the fort’s 1755 capture by the East India Company was listed on April 2.

By considering one example, we can look at how a historic event is made visible in Wikipedia.

March 31: 1492 – The Catholic Monarchs of Spain issued the Alhambra Decree, ordering all Jews to convert to Christianity or be expelled from the country.

The typical form is a single sentence, in past tense, linking multiple different Wikipedia articles, with a bold link to the one most closely connected to the fact. Not every historical event qualifies:

  • The event must have happened on a single day, so not a crisis or war, but a precipitating or concluding event such as the signing of a treaty.
  • Births and deaths have their own process for appearing on the front page, so do not qualify for this collection of facts.
  • It must be an event with notable repercussions: one notable figure marrying another, or writing a letter to another, is not always significant in itself, but can be significant by initiating other events.
  • There must be no controversy about the day on which it happened. Reputable sources should agree.
  • The fact must be backed up by at least one reliable source, which must be cited in the article. As with all Wikipedia references, paywalled sources are fine but open-access sources have an advantage because they can be checked by Wikipedians outside subscribing institutions. With software developments over the last couple of years, adding citations has become extremely easy: the Cite tool expands DOIs into full citations and normally succeeds in transforming web links into full citations.

If you have a cited fact that meets the above criteria, it can have multiple mentions in Wikipedia:

  • The fact must be stated in the “home” article, in this case Alhambra Decree.
  • It can also go in the articles about the calendar date and the year. There are English Wikipedia articles about the year 1492 and about the date March 31. Unlike most Wikipedia articles, these are essentially lists of facts under different headings.
  • It can also appear in the biographies of the people, organisations or nations involved (in this case, Isabella of Castille). Some topics have timeline articles which are essentially lists of dates, such as Timeline of Spanish history.

The articles about individual dates, such as March 30, also have lists of births and deaths. In the long term, these will probably be driven by Wikidata, which is ideal for this kind of data. These lists have the same relative paucity of dates before 1800, and the same requirement that dates should be sourced and uncontroversial.

Facts for a particular day are chosen well in advance by an administrator, working behind the scenes in an area called the Selected anniversaries project. It is accepted, even encouraged, for other users to proactively edit in their own suggestions if they know wiki-code. The listing is decided two to four days in advance, so include your suggestion further in advance than that.

The guidelines give preference to events with a significant anniversary (meaning a multiple of 25, e.g. a 325th anniversary), events that differ from the others on the list (in era or geography), and articles that have not been on the front page before. “On this day” articles do not have to be comprehensive, but should be good examples of Wikipedia articles with citations in all sections. Each day’s “staging area” has a list of events that were submitted but did not qualify. Usually the article is rejected for having insufficient citations, so by improving the articles with links to scholarly sources, we can help those links reach the front page.

So there is an opportunity here for heritage organisations and historians to extend awareness of the turning points of history, and the use of biographical papers or databases. We just need to succinctly describe the key events and share citations about them.

—Martin Poulter, Wikimedian in Residence

This post licensed under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license

Digital Manuscripts at the Bodleian: free event

MS. Kennicott 1

MS. Kennicott 1

On Monday 28 November we will be celebrating two major projects, the Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project and the Digital Manuscripts Toolkit, with an event at the Weston Library. Tickets are free, but please book in advance to reserve a place. The event runs from 11am to 5pm, with a break for lunch, and speakers will include:

  • Nigel Wilson on digitized Greek manuscripts at the Bodleian
  • César Merchán-Hamann on digitized Hebrew manuscripts
  • Paola Manoni from the Vatican Library on their part in the Polonsky Project
  • Judith Siefring on the Digital Manuscripts Toolkit
  • Emma Stanford on IIIF and Digital.Bodleian
  • Rafael Schwemmer on the Bodleian’s IIIF manifest editor
  • and presentations by Oxford scholars on their work with the Digital Manuscripts Toolkit.

Anyone interested in manuscripts, digitization, or learning about new tools for dealing with digitized objects is encouraged to attend.

Book free tickets

The digitized Hertford Atlas

Hertford Atlas 1/2, fol. 19v

Last autumn, BDLSS collaborated with Hertford College to digitize its copies of Abraham Ortelius’s 1573 Theatrum orbis terrarum and Georg Braun’s 1574 Civitates orbis terrarum, two landmark works in the history of cartography, known collectively as the Hertford Atlas. The digitization was undertaken as a celebration of the return of the atlas to Humboldt University in Berlin, whence it came at the end of the Second World War. The digitized atlas is now in Digital.Bodleian, with a IIIF manifest and image endpoints to enable creative and scholarly engagement with this resource.

To mark the anniversary of Abraham Ortelius’s death in 1598, we published a series of tweets on Tuesday encouraging Twitter users to engage with the digitized atlas. You can read them all on Storify.

Digitized image service update

Access to many of the Bodleian’s digitized images has been compromised due to a recent hardware failure. The images on Digital.Bodleian are still fully accessible, but the images on one of the Bodleian’s older viewing interfaces, viewer.bodleian, are temporarily unavailable, as are some other image archives. Resources that have been partially or totally affected include:

  • Polonsky Foundation Digitization Project
  • Serica digitization project
  • Shelley Godwin Archive

A plan is in place to rebuild the affected resources in the next weeks and months. For more information, please see this post on the Polonsky Project website.

Introducing the IIIF First Folio

The First Folio in the Universal Viewer

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and to celebrate the opening of the Bodleian Libraries’ “Shakespeare’s Dead” exhibit, we have added our copy of the First Folio to Digital.Bodleian and created a IIIF manifest that allows the full structure of the book to be displayed in Digirati’s Universal Viewer.

The Bodleian’s First Folio has an unusual history: it was acquired by the Bodleian when it was printed in 1623, then sold off a few decades later, then rediscovered and repurchased for the Bodleian through a crowdfunding campaign in the early 1900s. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, another public campaign in 2012 raised funds for the Bodleian to stabilize and digitize the First Folio and, later, to create full-text TEI transcriptions of each play. The images and transcriptions can be viewed and downloaded from the First Folio project website. Now, by adding the First Folio to Digital.Bodleian and creating images and metadata that are compatible with the standards of the International Image Interoperability Framework, we are opening up this resource for further use by institutions and researchers across the world.

Creating the IIIF First Folio was a multi-step process. Adding the images and metadata to Digital.Bodleian allowed us to generate a bare-bones IIIF manifest, which included page-level metadata but did not reflect the structure of the plays. To allow users to navigate through the book’s contents, we then hand-edited the manifest to add nested ranges of images corresponding to each play and scene. The finished manifest is almost 30,000 lines long.

Digital.Bodleian’s embedded image viewer doesn’t support image ranges, so instead, we’re directing users to the Universal Viewer, a IIIF viewer produced by Digirati, the Wellcome Library, the British Library and the IIIF community. The Universal Viewer—which can be accessed directly from the First Folio in Digital.Bodleian by clicking on the purple “UV” button—features an “Index” panel that displays the multiple levels of structural hierarchy described in the First Folio’s IIIF manifest. The Universal Viewer is also embeddable, so if you like, you can add the First Folio to your own website. You can also link to particular parts of each page, as the URL of each Universal Viewer session is live-updated with the coordinates of the part of the image you are currently viewing. (For example, here is Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech.)First Folio in its box

Finally, this re-publication of the First Folio includes several previously-unpublished images of the book’s binding. The Bodleian’s copy is rare in that it has not been rebound since its initial printing almost 400 years ago, so these images are especially valuable, conveying a sense of the weight, size and condition of the original object.

 

– Emma Stanford

 

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.

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.