– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

Thing 9

Thing 9  of 23Things for Research looks at ‘social stories’ tools. I had never heard of these before, so my digital horizons have been expanded today.

Shades of Facebook News Feed. I’ve looked at the recommended guides to Paper.li and Scoop.it but can’t see a significant or useful difference from Storify, except that maybe they look a little prettier. So I tested Storify and created a little news sheet. Here is my first attempt.

Another possible subject for a Story or Scoop might be a collection of links about e.g. Balliol’s MS 354, the 15th century commonplace book of a London grocer called Richard Hill, which contains among many other things grocery accounts and several medieval carol texts including the Corpus Christi Carol. This is probably Balliol’s single most-consulted, most-edited, most-written-about manuscript – in fact, it’s been produced so many times over the past 10 years alone that let me say now, researchers, please just don’t bother to ask to see it. Light and handling damage are cumulative, and light damage at least is permanent and irreversible. The MS is on paper, and scruffy around the edges (eg very fragile), and 500 years old. It’s online in full, though. We now keep track of each time a manuscript is produced, for how long, and if for display, even which openings are exposed and at what lux level.

Back to Storify and the like. One of these gadgets – preferably a pretty one – might also be useful to publicise things going on at the college and in the special collections: new catalogues online, revised descriptions, new images posted, events coming up, an exhibition plus links about the subject, another blog post about Thing 10… I will bear it in mind, not least during Balliol’s 750th year when lots will be going on…

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