Digitized Collections of Medieval Manuscripts
A Workshop on Uses and Interoperation

This invitational two-day workshop, planned, organized and managed by the Stanford University Libraries and supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was held in Paris (France) on 14-15 January 2010.

Summary: The workshop was intended to examine selected uses of digitized medieval manuscript collections, both for research and teaching, with a view to defining certain parameters for future work. It examined real uses of Parker on the Web -- and sister projects like CESG (Codices Electronici Sangallenses), e-Codices, and Roman de la Rose: Digital Surrogates of Medieval Manuscripts -- to advance learning in relevant core disciplines and to teach research methods in auxiliary sciences like paleography and codicology, paying special attention to approaches that rely heavily or essentially on the availability and use of data in digital form.

The organizers were especially interested in the development or exercise of tools and architectures that:

  • facilitate access to materials in multiple digital collections
  • link sites and collections via common or cross-walked metadata schema
  • link text and image at the feature or information content level
  • link primary materials and secondary scholarship, and
  • help establish best practices and/or specifications for new and future projects.

Key Issues and Implications: Key workshop issues included:

  • new uses of manuscripts enabled by digitization enable scholars to ask questions that did not occur, or could not be answered, in a pre-digital environment
  • the existence of multiple digital resources resulting from multiple projects exposes benefits that derive from cross-project discovery and navigation
  • more complex ‘interoperability’ involves links between the tools used to flag features in manuscripts and the “original” page images.

Furthermore, the uses of digitized collections have obvious implications for the way individual digitization projects are designed henceforth. While some of these implications bear on the protocols for digital capture, uses seem likely to have more powerful effects in the areas of application functionality and descriptive metadata schema. They may also impact the way the community approaches interoperability.

Results: The following conclusions emerged from the presentations and associated discussions:

  • real-world scholarship and research needs should drive tool and technology development
  • a community of digital content providers, tools designers, and scholars engaged in digital humanities research can facilitate this process (silos and unilateral development are hindrances)
  • next steps need to address the technical interoperation of digital manuscript collections and tools to address currently known scholarly needs

Note: We will be adding more data to this site in the near future, including summaries of the substantive discussions that followed panel presentations. Check back for updates.

Workshop Information



Day 1: Thursday, January 14, 2010
9:00Session 1
Annotating Digital Collections
Moderator:Simon Tanner
Case 1:Emily Butler - "Matthew Parker's Diachronic Community of Readers"
Butler Abstract, Slides
Case 2:Heidi Eisenhut - "The online edition of the glosses in the Codex Sangallensis 621: New approaches to medieval sources in consequence of electronically available manuscripts"
Eisenhut Abstract, Slides
Respondent:Peter Stokes, Slides
Project 1:e-codices, Slides
13:30Session 2
Using Digital Facsimiles in Traditional and Born-Digital Publishing
Moderator:Stephen Nichols
Case 3:Nadia Altschul - "Portrayals of Difference: Medieval Race and Ethnicity in Cross-Platform Investigation"
Altschul Summary, Slides
Case 4:Timothy Stinson - "Illumination and Interpretation: The Depiction and Reception of Faus Semblant in Roman de la Rose Manuscripts"
Stinson Abstract, Slides
Respondent:Patrick Geary
Project 2:Roman de la Rose Digital Library
Project 3:Europeana Regia, Slides
Day 2: Friday, January 15, 2010
9:30Session 3
Teaching and Editing with Digital Collections
Moderator:Patrick Geary
Case 5:Alexandra Gillespie - "Opportunities, Challenges, and Gutters: Teaching Manuscript Studies with Parker Library on the Web"
Gillespie Abstract, Slides
Case 6:James Ginther - "The Electronic Norman Anonymous Project: A Case for the Possibility and Limits of Interoperability"
Ginther Abstract, Slides
Respondent:Daniel O'Donnell, Slides
11:30Tour at the Bibliothèque nationale de France
14:15Session 4:
Exposing, Sharing and Interacting with Digital Manuscript Data
Moderator:Carmela Franklin
Case 7:Martin Foys - "The Digital Mappaemundi Project and Parker on the Web: Formulating Interoperability"
Foys Abstract, Slides Part 1, Slides Part 2
Case 8:Asa Mittman - "Where have all the monsters gone?"
Mittman Abstract, Slides
Respondent:Sayeed Choudhury (unable to attend)
Project 4:Parker on the Web, Slides

Abstracts and Presentations

Link to SummaryLink to Presentation SlidesPresenterAffiliation
Altschul SummaryAltschul SlidesNadia AltschulJohns Hopkins University
Butler AbstractButler SlidesEmily ButlerUniversity of Toronto
Eisenhut AbstractEisenhut SlidesHeidi EisenhutKantonsbibliothek Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Trogen (CH)
Foys AbstractFoys Slides 1
Foys Slides 2
Martin FoysDrew University
Gillespie AbstractGillespie SlidesAlexandra Gillespie University of Toronto
Ginther AbstractGinther SlidesJames GintherSaint Louis University
Mittman AbstractAsa MittmanCalifornia State University, Chico
Stinson AbstractStinson SlidesTimothy StinsonNorth Carolina State University
Project Presentations
e-codices SlidesChristoph FluelerUniversity of Fribourg
Europeana Regia SlidesThierry DelcourtBibliotheque nationale de France
Parker on the Web SlidesStuart SnydmanStanford University Library
Session Respondents
Session 1 - RespondentStokes ResponsePeter StokesUniversity of Cambridge
Session 3 - RespondentO'Donnell ResponseDaniel O'DonnellUniversity of Lethbridge


Project Description
Citation and Allusion in the Ars Nova French Chanson and Motet: Memory, Tradition, and InnovationA comprehensive text archive of 14th-century French lyric
e-Codices Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland
The St. Gall ProjectA project devoted to the physical, material, and intellectual aspects of Carolingian monastic culture.
Roman de la Rose Digital Library A digital library of all known manuscript copies of the Roman de la Rose
Medieval Libraries of Great Britain Along with the Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues, the Mellon-funded project Medieval Libraries of Great Britain deals in the fragmentary sources of evidence for the remains of medieval British libraries
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