Interoperability and Medieval Manuscripts: A Digital Humanities Workshop

We are now accepting applications for “Interoperability and Medieval Manuscripts,” a three-day digital humanities workshop co-sponsored by The Medieval Academy of America and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Co-taught by Benjamin Albritton (Computing Info Systems Analyst, Stanford University Libraries) and Lisa Fagin Davis (Executive Director, Medieval Academy of America), the workshop will take place at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University from 9-11 July 2019.

So much of the work currently being undertaken by medievalists is dependent on primary resources that may not be close at hand, and digital imagery alone can only take us so far. We have limited storage space for the enormous images we want to work with, and so we need to work in an online environment. In keeping with digital best-practices, we want to avoid siloing of files in sealed-off digital repositories. We need to make these images, and our work, discoverable, and so we need consistent metadata and annotation tools. We want to work with open data, including our own, data that can be shared, downloaded, manipulated, visualized, and mined. As scholars, we have limited funding and technical support, and so we need tools that are free, open-access, and easily implemented. The combination of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and shared-canvas viewers opens new avenues for researchers and students to discover, access, compare, annotate, and share images of and data pertaining to artifacts and manuscripts in a context that is cloud-based, flexible, open-access, and easily implementable.

Participants in this three-day intensive workshop will be introduced to the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) in combination with shared-canvas viewers and annotation servers, learning how this technology can facilitate new methodologies in manuscript and art history research. Working with their own images, participants will 1) upload their images into a IIIF server (if they aren’t already served by a IIIF-compliant platform); 2) present the images in a shared-canvas viewer; 3) work with the instructors to develop annotations and tags in keeping with their research project. Due to physical space limitations, the course is limited to twelve participants. Applications are welcomed from medievalists at all levels and will be judged primarily on the potential that interoperable images hold for the applicant’s research project or professional goals. Participants should already have access to or possession of the images they will be working with, if the images are not already online and IIIF-compliant. The workshop is tuition-free, but participants are responsible for travel, lodging, and incidental expenses. To help offset these costs, all participants traveling and staying overnight for the workshop will receive a $300 stipend courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Applications must be received by June 1. Click here for more information and to apply.


Benjamin Albritton is Associate Curator for Paleography and Digital Medieval Materials and is the Digital Manuscripts Program Manager at Stanford University Libraries. He oversees a number of digital manuscript projects, including Parker Library on the Web, and projects devoted to interoperability and improving access to manuscript images for pedagogical and research purposes. His research interests include the intersection of words and music in the fourteenth century, primarily in the monophonic works of Guillaume de Machaut; the uses of digital medieval resources in scholarly communication; and transmission models in the later Middle Ages.

Lisa Fagin Davis has been engaged in the development and implementation of manuscript metadata standards and the promotion of digital methodologies for twenty years, taking part in the original Electronic Access to Medieval Manuscripts workshops in the late 1990s and serving on advisory boards for Digital Scriptorium, Fragmentarium, the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, and Digital Medievalist. In addition to serving as Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America, she is an Adjunct Professor at the Simmons School of Library and Information Science. IIIF and shared canvas workspaces are integral to her ongoing projects reconstructing dismembered medieval manuscripts in Fragmentarium (with her Simmons students) and reconstructing the Beauvais Missal as part of the Broken Books project.

This entry was posted in Announcements. Bookmark the permalink.