FAMOUS: Finding Archives and Manuscripts Across Oxford’s Unique Special Collections
New user interface, improved dataflow and integrated systems
The project aims to create a researcher-driven and easy to use discovery interface, MARCO, which will allow manuscript and archival materials from the Bodleian and Oxford’s colleges to be searched together. This discovery layer will enable new and existing audiences to better access the materials and will offer a fit-for-purpose environment for finding information about Oxford’s unique collections.
Data flow between systems (many of which users never see) is vital. The project will build on core existing systems: Digital Bodleian, our manuscript TEI catalogues and Bodleian Archives and Manuscripts. To achieve the transformative linking between systems and data flow that will enable the discovery layer to operate effectively, a single system of Persistent Identifiers will be implemented across the relevant systems.
New digitised content (Special Collections - Exemplar Project)
A set of exemplar projects have been designed to explore how data will flow between systems, especially where institutional practice differs regarding how collections are defined and divided. These exemplar projects feature collections from Early Modern Manuscripts & Archives, Western Medieval Manuscripts and Asian and Middle Eastern Manuscripts.
Early Modern Manuscripts & Archives
The team will concentrate on the creation of the first ever online descriptions for the heart of the Bodleian’s early modern collections contained in three of the Quarto catalogues – Ashmole, Tanner, and Rawlinson. This work will help define an approach to these materials that might then be offered as a model for college collections containing similar materials.
Western Medieval Manuscripts
The medieval exemplar project will focus on the major collections of largely (but not exclusively) medieval charters and documents (mostly title deeds and manorial records) held by the Bodleian and by Oxford colleges. Almost all these currently lack any online presence, and their finding aids (if these exist) greatly limit discoverability. This editorial and encoding work will include developing a set of guidelines specifying how medieval charters and documents should be described using TEI.
Asian and Middle Eastern Manuscripts
This activity will identify subsets of Asian and Middle Eastern collections, then, working closely with relevant curatorial colleagues, the project’s Information Analysts will conduct an audit of Asian and Middle Eastern collections held in Oxford and identify pathways for delivery of Asian and Middle Eastern collections content across Oxford. Having identified the desired subsets, they will then create TEI records for a broad sample of items in each group and establish a fully documented workflow for each category of material.
The project’s information analysts will work closely with curatorial colleagues to analyse Asian and Middle Eastern collections held in Oxford. They will identify subsets of Asian and Middle Eastern collections, and propose pathways for the delivery of descriptive information related to these diverse materials. TEI descriptions for a representative sample of the collections will be created, and a fully documented workflow for creating descriptions of each category material will be established.