This story is from the category Libraries and Components
Date posted: 10/02/2009
"Searching for medieval manuscripts gets you millions of hits, most of which have nothing to do with manuscripts, and when they do, they usually feature only images of a single page rather than the entire book," said Matthew Fisher, an assistant professor of English at UCLA. "Since finding these great projects is so tough, they're functionally invisible."
Fisher set out two years ago to remedy the situation. With the assistance of two graduate students in English, a computer developer from UCLA's Center for Digital Humanities and Christopher Baswell, a former UCLA professor of English, Fisher decided to collect links to every manuscript from the eighth to the 15th century that had been fully digitized by any library, archive, institute or private owner anywhere in the world.
In December 2008, the group launched the initial results. The UCLA-based Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts now links to nearly 1,000 manuscripts by 193 authors in 20 languages from 59 libraries around the world, allowing users to flit from England to France to Switzerland to the United States ? to name the locations of just a few of the featured repositories ? with the click of a mouse.
"Now that UCLA has delivered the solution, it's time to get everybody involved," Fisher said.
Ultimately, he envisions including every medieval manuscript that has been digitized it its entirety.
"We'll never replace the joy of sitting down with an 800-year-old book," he said, "but we will bring the wonder of these manuscripts to people who might never experience them otherwise."
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