Update phase 2
The first phase of MMMONK ended on the 31st of October 2020. This concluded the first round of digitization of manuscripts in the public library of Bruges and the Major Seminary “Ten Duinen”. A total of 198 manuscripts have been digitized: 122 manuscripts at the Public Library and 76 at the Major Seminary. The second round of digitization started immediately following the end of the first round. In phase 2 the digitization continued under the same circumstances, together with digitization partner iGuana. This partnership has proven to be fruitful and thanks to the expedient transition the digitization project is on schedule. At the beginning of March 2021, we had already digitized 131 manuscripts.
There have been two major changes regarding the process of digitizing. The first is an extra employee (iGuana) to divide the work equally over two people. An Van Holder and Wardani Kusumo share the responsibilities in digitizing and processing the manuscripts. They alternate days in digitizing and processing of the images in such a way that when one of them is digitizing the other can process the images. They complement each other nicely and together with project employee July Van Malderen they are well on their way to achieve the digitization goals of phase 2. The second change regards the size of the setup used for digitization. As several manuscripts were simply too large to be digitized on the setup we started with in phase 1, it was agreed to alter the setup at the start of phase 2 to make it possible to digitize any format of manuscript including our larger formats.
The collection of the Major Seminary “Ten Duinen”
To digitize the large collection of the Major Seminary it was necessary to move the setup from the Public Library to the Major Seminary. According to the original planning the entire collection of the Major Seminary would be digitized by the end of phase 1. By the start of phase 2 the setup would return to the Public Library and the digitization would continue there until the end of phase 2. Two obstacles prevented us from completely digitizing the collection of the Major Seminary. The first issue was the same problem we had faced in the Public Library, 10 manuscripts were too large to be digitized on the original setup. The second issue was another simultaneous project, funded by the Bailler-Latour foundation, in which a part of the collection would be restored by the KULeuven Book Heritage Lab. This meant that these manuscripts were not available to be digitized at the time.
In our determination to be able to completely digitize this collection, we organised the transportation of these large formats and the first cluster of restored manuscripts which had returned from the KULeuven. By doing this we were able to digitize 20 of the remaining 29 undigitized manuscripts. The last cluster of manuscripts will be available after restoration (after phase 2) and we have agreed to digitize these during phase 3.
Aside from digitizing?
The major focus in the first phase of the project was the digitization of the collection. The second phase continues this digitization movement but also focuses on ways to present and contextualize the collection as well as enriching the metadata. Currently the requirements for the presentation layer are being determined and will be used by an external company as a basis for the development of the presentation layer during phase 3. To contextualize the collection, texts are available which focus on the four great Abbeys and their history. The metadata has been enriched with records from such sources as VIAF and Wikidata. Short summaries have been written for approximately 123 manuscripts. Another building block in phase 2 is the development of the project website on which information is available about the project, IIIF, the collection and the Abbeys. The website was launched on the 4th of May 2021.