– 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.


Unlocking Archives: Special Edition

Wednesday 20 April 2016, 1-2pm

Balliol College Historic Collections Centre

St Cross Church, Manor Road OX1 3UH


Prof. Daniel Wakelin and Anna Sander in conversation with Oxford undergraduate, MSt and DPhil students about creating, using and sharing digital images of medieval manuscripts, during a lunchtime break in a day of handling training and photography of some of Balliol’s medieval manuscripts.

We will be discussing questions including: What can digital images tell us about the original manuscript, and what can they not tell us? What information is only available from the manuscript itself, and are there kinds of information we can only get from digital images? What are the differences between professional and amateur (i.e. by researchers or curators) photographs of manuscripts? Do they have different uses/ advantages/ disadvantages? What are the practicalities of photographing medieval manuscripts for research purposes under ordinary reading room conditions?

It’s unusual to have a room full of people all photographing medieval manuscript books at the same time with similar aims, i.e. a combination of their own research interests,  theoretical considerations about the process and practical concerns about what works and what doesn’t – and talking to each other about it! We hope the morning session will spark new ideas and lead to further discoveries in the afternoon session.

Prof. Wakelin and Bodleian colleagues Judith Siefring and Christine Madsen have created an experimental space for #DIYDigitization on Flickr – more about that project here.

All welcome to the lunchtime discussion! We hope to illustrate with some manuscript images taken during the morning session.

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