Wednesday, June 15, 2011

T-PEN Gains Access to Two Additional Digital Repositories

T-PEN is pleased to announce that it has negotiated access to two additional archives for future users of T-PEN: The Digital Manuscripts of Houghton Library, Havard Univesity and La biblioteca del Sacro Convento di Assisi (Italy).

The Harvard Library describes its collection this way:  "Houghton Library's distinguished collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts represents a significant resource for the study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe. Assembled through gifts and purchase over the past two centuries, this collection includes works in Latin, Greek, and most of the vernacular languages of Europe that are the primary sources for the study of the literature, art, history, music, philosophy, and theology of the periods."  The digitized collection currently consists of 250 manuscripts and continues to grow.  One of the manuscripts was used to demonstrate T-PEN's new transcription UI.

The Assisi collection comprises 712 Latin manuscripts ranging from the twelfth to the fifteenth century.  This collection is of particular interest to scholars of the Franciscan tradition, and it includes such gems as the earliest collected writings of St Francis.  The collection also represents the broader intellectual and religious traditions of the Middle Ages.

With these two collections, T-PEN can now provide over 2,600 manuscripts for scholars to transcribe.  The original contributing repositories are e-codices, CEEC, and the Parker Collection. Our goal is to have over 5,000 manuscripts available for transcription by the Beta release in October 2011.

Since T-PEN's primary aim is to develop a web-based application that enhances the use of digital repositories, we are very happy to add more repositories to our list of manuscripts.  If there are any repositories you would want to see added, drop us a line and we'll start the dialogue with the repository.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Demonstration Video: Creating a Virtual Manuscript

One of the advantages of a digital manuscript is the option to manipulate its contents.  It is not uncommon for medieval manuscripts to be incorrectly bound, that is, gatherings (or groups of pages) are not in their correct order.  This can happen when a manuscript is rebound (most medieval manuscripts have modern bindings), but manuscripts were also incorrectly bound during the Middle Ages.  T-PEN allows users to create a virtual manuscript in a project, that is rearrange the digitized pages or folios that may better suit the flow of text.  The video below demonstrates how easy it is to do this:

An individual user's rearrangement of a manuscript does not affect how other users will view it.

There are two other possible uses for this feature: (1) when a text survives in two separate manuscripts, and so a user can combine those manuscripts in a project; or (2) that user wants to focus only part of a given manuscript and so can discard the unwanted pages/folios for a transcription project.