|Medieval manuscripts curators' roundtable|
Centre for the Study of the Book
Present: Richard Ovenden (Bodleian Library); Ivan Boserup (CERL); André Bouwman (University of Leiden Library); Kathleen Doyle (British Library); Consuelo Dutschke (Digital Scriptorium); Peter Kidd (lately attached to Bodleian and British Library MSS projects); Nigel Morgan (Parker-on-the-Web Digitisation Project); Jayne Ringrose (University of Cambridge Library); Bill Stoneman (Houghton Library), Bettina Wagner (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich); Chris Fletcher, Alexandra Franklin, Martin Kauffmann, Elizabeth Solopova, Colin Wakefield, and Piet van Boxel (Bodleian Library).
Richard Ovenden opened the meeting by inviting participants to consider what steps could be taken by a combined effort of several institutions cataloguing mauscripts online that would be most beneficial to researchers in their search for, and use of, records and images of medieval manuscripts.
Several of those attending were invited to outline the achievements of different projects in bringing medieval manuscript information online.
Dr Solopova described the Bodleian’s current plans for continuing to enrich descriptions of medieval manuscripts; to add digital images, where possible, linked to the records; and to improve electronic resources by linking databases of citations to the records.
The format for descriptive data used by the Bodleian is currently XML in an EAD format; the Bodleian hopes to switch to using TEI P5. It is also intended that all digital objects, such as records and images, will be held within the METS format.
Parker Library, Corpus Christi College Cambridge
The entries are prepared by the Parker Library team taking an XML mark-up of the M.R. James catalogue of manuscripts in the library as the core of the record, with author and title forms updated. The mark-up requires expert supervision, because of the format of the James entries and the lack of consistency in their layout and in the transcription from original texts. Longer entries of several pages could take days to mark up in XML. To the entries, the team adds bibliographical references.
Answering a question from Richard Ovenden about the way this digital version of the library would be presented to users over the web, Prof. Morgan replied that users would be able to go directly to images of manuscripts, or choose to search through records and enter the image database via the catalogue records.
Houghton Library, Harvard University
Subject and name headings in all the Harvard HOLLIS records are entered according to Library of Congress authorities. These headings enable users to search the collections for all “Manuscripts – France – 1350-1400”.
Bill Stoneman also confirmed that the Harvard policy on scanning of manuscripts was now to approve only cover-to-cover digitisation, creating a complete digital facsimile.
Also noted are the union catalogue of German medieval manuscripts, Manuscripta Mediaevalia : http://www.manuscripta-mediaevalia.de/
And the project for short-title descriptions of 7500 medieval manuscripts in Dutch collections http://www.nwo.nl/projecten.nsf/pages/1900120317 http://www.kb.nl/hrd/samenwerking/parchment/index.html
Others are described on the CERL webpages: http://www.cerl.org/Manuscripts/ms%20websites%201_Dec%2004%20update.htm
1) the minimum set of fields that would be required to share or cross-index records, as is done through the DS and the CERL portal.
2) contributions to a thesaurus of names or terms.
The basic record: list of fields Some candidates for such a list were discussed: Author Title Identification of text through incipit Whether containing figurative decoration or not (Yes/No) Genre term (as a supplied title or as a genre-subject field) This list can be compared to the longer list of required fields as outlined in the Digital Scriptorium data dictionary: https://www1.columbia.edu/sec/cu/libraries/bts/img/assets/7895/DS-Access_Data_Dictionary_v8.0.0.pdf
Sources for thesauri of names and terms
See a list of source files used in the CERL thesaurus: http://cerl.sub.uni-goettingen.de/ct/
Personennamen des Mittelalters; available via PND: the German national authority file for personal names,
A Handlist of the Latin Writers of Great Britain and Ireland before 1540- (1997). There is a brief update (2001) on-line at http://www.history.ox.ac.uk/sharpe/lw.pdf
For Anglo-Norman, Ruth Dean & Maureen Bolton’s guide to Anglo-Norman literature is used by the Parker project
For Middle English, no comprehensive list was named.
Models of authority file-building These could be found in LCNAF, CERL, PND (mentioned above) and André Bouwman mentioned the LEAF project to link authority files: http://www.crxnet.com/leaf/
Richard Ovenden proposed that the group might agree a set of standards for key elements of the medieval manuscript record: - names, entered into a thesaurus so that different forms would be cross-referenced - titles - terms, or the creation of a thesaurus of terms, for such elements of physical description as illumination and figurative illustration - expressions of dates; to reconcile different forms in which dates are entered and to reconcile the different calendars in use
The group endorsed the creation of an enhanced name authority file for medieval names (with biographical information), creating new online forms of currently used namelists and incorporating these into the CERL thesaurus + PMA. Ivan Boserup was asked whether a special CERL thesaurus of medieval names could be extracted, to be incorporated into current online cataloguing projects.
Participants were willing to share information about the namelists used in creating their own online catalogues and to seek institutional support or other funding for converting these into machine-readable lists as required.