Picture this….

The Bodleian Libraries have been actively engaged in the digitization of Special Collections materials for more than two decades. Much of this work has only been made possible by publicly-funded grant programmes or the vision and benevolence of particular individuals and organizations. The vast majority of such endeavours have involved the creation of high-quality digital images, which have subsequently been delivered by a variety of media: ranging from basic single-user, stand-alone CD-ROMs, through to the current generation of cutting-edge websites accessible to all. Yet as this wealth of material has continued to grow, it has not been possible to browse and search all these images from a single location – until now.

Over the past twelve months, we have begun the major task of migrating our digital image collections into a single virtual library, available at: http://bodley30.bodley.ox.ac.uk:8180/luna/servlet/allCollections

The best way to find out about this new site is simply to visit and explore…

At the moment, there are just under 34,000 images of manuscripts and early printed books available on the site – and more are being added every week. Users can create and share their own collections of images selected from across the material hosted on the site; in many cases images can be downloaded for use in private research or teaching, or users can link from their own webpage to the “master” image hosted by us.

Whilst we are pleased with the progress that has been made to-date, we are also very keen to receive feedback from anyone who has used this new interface. You are welcome to post comments and suggestions to odl-enquiries@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

Do we have a picture ….?

Sometimes the old things in the cellar come in handy after all.  I was just chatting to a colleague who asked, “Is there a way of finding out whether we have a picture, anywhere in the library, of William Wake?  There’s one at the National Portrait Gallery, but surely we have even an illustration in a book …?”

There is a way, but it is an old-fashioned one.  Periodically librarians go through the collections with an eye to their visual treats.  Someone had taken this to the extreme of having slips printed up with sections for the subject of the picture, the title of the book it is in, and the page.  They went through (how much of the collection? I can’t tell) and completed these slips, in beautiful blue fountain pen script.  The slips are arranged in two sets: topographical views and portraits. They are kept in boxes, about the size of a shoebox, stowed up on some high shelves in the bookstack.  So this is one of our Image Management Systems.