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.

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

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!


Dispatch from the Oxford Research Software Developers Network kick-off meeting

On 05 May 2015 an email was circulated within the Digital Humanities at the University of Oxford calling colleagues that were working as research software (including data) developers. The idea was to keep in touch, share experiences and learn from each other; as well finding similar roles when contracts end (as University of Oxford works a lot with fixed-term contracts).

From the email:

The Oxford e-Research Centre, Computer Science and the Digital Humanities are working to set up a University-wide network of “Research Software Developers” (RSDs): those who combine expertise in programming with an intricate understanding of research, and support the work of researchers in developing the (usually bespoke) software that is fundamental to so much of modern research. Many such people are employed across the University, but are not always well supported by cross-university structures. As a result they are often isolated and difficult to retain within the University. We are thus looking to connect these individuals in order to share expertise, provide appropriate advanced training, and facilitate re-employment with the University, hence optimising the use of their skills to enhance the University’s research.

After a short survey was circulated and a mail-list had been formed, the first kick-off meeting happened on 8th June 2015. I participated in this meeting (as a team member of BDLSS) and below are some of my notes of the event.

The people that had their names down on the agenda (possibly starting it all) were:

  • Jonathan Cooper, Computer Science
  • David Robey, Oxford e-Research Centre & Digital Humanities
  • Wes Armour, Oxford e-Research Centre
  • Charles Crowther, Classics
  • Michael Davis, Bodleian Libraries

Jonathan Cooper started the discussion and presented a few ideas, based on the survey. The main focus of the discussion was to:

  • decide the frequency, location and time of day for regular meetings
  • decide the content of the meetings (particularly for Michaelmas 2015)
  • summarize the suggestions made in the survey responses
  • create a representative body to facilitate placement and lobby for recognition

A few trends and popular suggestions emerged in the discussion:

  • interests: sharing, networking, training, career development
  • meeting types: lightning talks, discussions, training courses, longer talks, hackathons
  • content focuses: groups, services, material, courses

Looking forward, the discussion settled on 1-2 hour monthly meetings, lightning talks and discussions, and occasionally longer events.

A few points were made about the importance of having a profile within the network to allow discoverability: not necessarily a whole CV, but basic information and links to your other profiles online (LinkedIn, Github accounts, etc.).

On 25/06/2015 a Slack account was created, which you can join at https://rsdn.slack.com/signup/. The initial website for the Research Software Developers Network (Oxford RSDN) is at http://rsdn.oerc.ox.ac.uk. The next meeting of the network will be held on Tuesday 28th July at 9.30-10.30am in Lecture Theatre B in the Wolfson Building, Computer Science department. If you are interested, just come along. For more information on how to get involved visit http://rsdn.oerc.ox.ac.uk/.

– Monica Messaggi Kaya