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. 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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Your views would be greatly appreciated!
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@example.org.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Happy birthday to Shakespeare, 451 today!
While our friends at the Folger Shakespeare Library are planning their nationwide First Folio tour, the Bodleian First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays (Arch. G c.7) has been the subject of a series of international presentations and discussions. Thanks to the generosity of the public, the Bodleian First Folio was conserved, digitized, and published online, open to anyone in the world with an internet connection.
The geography of the digital resource’s readers is widening, as word of it spreads. Public lecture venues have included Perth and Sydney (during a Short Stay Visiting Fellowship at the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Advanced Studies), and Oxford. The long history of this copy of the First Folio was the subject of research seminars at the University of Edinburgh, and at the Shakespeare Association of America conference in Vancouver, where it was considered alongside other digital resources including the excellent Meisei Shakespeare Folios Electronic Library.
The intersection of the digital and material in the First Folio has been the subject of experimentation in a collaboration between Pip Willcox and the Oxford e-Research Centre‘s Professor David De Roure. The results are discussed in a forthcoming article, and in two conference papers: at the University of Southampton’s Physical Archives in the Digital Age conference, Chawton House; and at the National Library of Ireland Galway‘s upcoming Digital Material conference.
David De Roure will be presenting on the long history of social machines of the First Folio at a Scholarly Communications Workshop Focusing on the Humanities in Boston next month.
You can see the Bodleian First Folio in the Weston Library‘s Marks of Genius exhibition, which is free and open to the public daily.
The Bodleian continues to digitize incunabula and Hebrew manuscripts as part of its collaboration with the Vatican Library, which will put a total of 1.5 million pages online. On 24 February 2015, the libraries celebrated having captured 1 million images for the project. To mark this milestone, the libraries chose two particularly special items from their collections to put online. The Bodleian Library chose Auct. L 3.33, a landmark in printing history produced by Sweynheym and Pannartz, and the Vatican Library chose Stamp. Barb. II. 41, a hugely popular fifteenth-century cookbook.