[Teaser] Web Thematic Pathways of Medieval Manuscripts from the Vatican Collections using International Image Interoperability Framework

The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (BAV) in conjunction with Stanford University Libraries is carrying out a three-year project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project aims to demonstrate, among the advantages of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) for manuscripts, how the annotation level is a fundamental innovation for the study of contents: transcriptions, comments, comparative analysis of texts and images.

The BAV holds some 80,000 manuscripts, one of the world’s largest and most important collections of such materials. To date, 17,000 of these manuscripts have been digitized and put online using IIIF. Thanks to the funds received, the BAV is now implementing a project to enrich the digital delivery of these materials by annotating some exemplary manuscripts with scholarly analysis in order to tell scholarly narratives that provide interpretation for the individual works and illustrate important aspects of the world’s pre-print culture.

To meet this challenge, the Library aims to promote a new perspective to the study of manuscripts by means of web communication and IIIF. The Library wants to engage the visitors to its website on the possibilities for using these annotated manuscripts in IIIF by providing tools for discovering and comparing digital materials.

The resulting web-based historiography of a selection of the BAV’s most significant manuscripts, ones heavily consulted and objects of scholarly attention over the centuries, will provide new insights and new stimuli for further engagement by scholars and students everywhere.

This is the teaser of the IIIF exhibits we will release on October 2019. Each exhibit will focus on a thematic pathway: Courses in Paleography (Greek and Latin, from antiquity to the Renaissance); The evolution and transmission of texts of specific works: Latin Classics; Vatican Palimpsests: Digital Recovery of Erased Identities; The humanist prince’s library: Federico da Montefeltro and his manuscripts

This demo only provides a sample of annotations pertaining to a very few selection of manuscripts from each thematic pathway in order to exemplify the access to the items and the availability of the Mirador viewer embedded within the pages. Scholarly narratives, full contents and the general structure of the exhibits are not in this demo.