DIY Digitization Mini-Conference

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v,, 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.

DIY Digitization Update

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v

MS. Laud Misc. 243 fol. 82v,, 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

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

Many thanks!