Over 40 Manuscripts Digitized at Christ Church

Another large batch of manuscripts have been finalized and uploaded in Digital Library on the Christ Church website. These contain some of the most intriguing and eagerly awaited documents housed in Special Collections, including:

♦  a Hebrew codex comprising ten Kabbalistic and four Maimonidean texts

♦  a series of early Oxford maps

♦  a Chinese early printed book

♦  an autograph score by Henry Aldrich which has already been performed in the Cathedral

♦  a sixteenth-century roll presenting the career of Thomas Wolsey, with a biography of Sir Isaac Newton as an added text

♦  a few spectacularly illuminated medieval manuscripts with illustrious provenance, among which are a twelfth-century Psalter associated with Sir Edmund Rede

♦  a substantial fragment from a fifteenth-century Roman Missal

♦  a fifteenth-century manuscript of Nicolas Cantilupe's Historiola consulted by Thomas Hearne

Also among the newly digitized manuscripts are one of the oldest complete manuscript of The Canterbury Tales, the text of which is slightly departing from the canon and one of the earliest manuscripts of the Wycliffite Bible, eagerly awaited by the team of scholars engaged in an AHRC funded project 'Towards a new edition of the Wycliffite Bible'.

Images of the fully digitized manuscripts are made available both on the college website and the Bodleian portal. On the college website, the digitized manuscripts are linked to very detailed bibliographical descriptions. On the Bodleian interface the Christ Church manuscripts have more basic descriptions, but the advantage there is that they are integrated in a wider context, outside the college premises, and very likely to be the first port of call for scholars in search of Oxford manuscripts.

To create items in Digital.Bodleian, we use a digitization workflow tool that manages metadata creation and image conversion. Every Christ Church manuscript is stored in a special Christ Church silo within the Bodleian Library Databank, and the metadata created reflects the copyright and terms of use information we have specified. Images are displayed using tiled zoom. The viewer developed by the Bodleian is an important research tool, whose more advanced features will also allow scholars to see multiple items in different panels at the same time. Also in development is an 'authoring tool', which will allow users to load a manifest or set of manifests and then drag and drop the images into different orders to create a new manifest. This tool has the potential to be very useful for misbound or fragmented manuscripts, such as the above mentioned Kabbalistic manuscript and the codex containing The Canterbury Tales. This tool will be available soon and we will provide details here when it is ready.