Wednesday, November 8, 2017

DS Holds Annual Meeting in New Haven

During a week of beautiful Fall weather, Digital Scriptorium held its annual board and membership meetings at the Beinecke Library of Yale University in New Haven, CT.  The DS Board of Directors meeting was held on Wednesday October 3rd, and the annual meeting of the DS membership was held Thursday October 4th at which there were 17 people in attendance, including representatives and guests from Yale, Columbia, Harvard, Penn, Wellesley, Smith, Ohio State, Fordham, Saint Louis University, the Huntington Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, Western Michigan University, and the Medieval Academy of America.

The annual meeting included several presentations regarding manuscript collections and digital projects. Eric Johnson made a guest presentation about the manuscript collections at the Ohio State University. Debra Cashion of Saint Louis University gave a presentation about information theory and the DS metadata structure, and Lynne Grigsby of UC Berkeley presented new improvements to the DS website. Vanessa Wilkie of the Huntington Library reported on DS membership statistics, and Cherry Williams of UC Riverside led a discussion about the organization's archives and records, which are presently stored in the office of Consuelo Dutschke at Columbia University. There were additional presentations about digital projects by Lynn Ransom of the University of Pennsylvania, Janine Pollock of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and E.C. Schroeder of Yale University.  

Also discussed were options for potential grant funding to rebuild the DS online catalog, questions to include in a forthcoming DS user survey, and plans to create an investment policy in order for DS to accept it first promised gift of $10,000 to begin an endowment or investment fund. The DS Board will continue this work at the mid-year meeting on 09 February 2018, to be held at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. The next annual meeting of the DS membership will be held on 7 September 2018 at UC Riverside in Riverside, CA, to be preceded by a meeting of the board on September 6th. Riverside was chosen because the DS annual meeting has been held on the east coast for the last four years. At the 07 September 2018 meeting DS will hold elections/re-elections of board members and officers, who are elected to 3-year terms once renewable.

The two days of DS meetings were followed by the Takamiya conference, Making the English Book, held at the Beinecke Library on Friday-Saturday, October 5th-6th. The conference comprised sessions of presentations by international scholars about medieval English manuscripts, including literary works by Chaucer and other Middle-English writers. There was an accompanying exhibition of manuscripts that used the entire exhibition space of the Beinecke galleries, and a banquet was held in honor of professor Toshiyuki Takamiya, who teaches medieval English literature in Japan but was present to introduce the manuscript collection on display and now part of the Beinecke Library collections. Many attending the DS meetings remained in New Haven to attend such an important exhibition, lively conference, and festive event.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Digital Scriptorium April News

Digital Scriptorium
April News
Wednesday 26 April 2017

Devonshire Chaucer, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit MS 24, England, 1440-1460.

Like Chaucer’s pilgrims, many of us consider April as the month to say goodbye to winter and make travel plans. So the DS Board of Directors would like to invite all our Members, Associates, Advisory Council, and friends to the next annual meeting, to be hosted by E.C. Schroeder and the Beinecke Library on Thursday 05 October 2017. The all-day meeting on Thursday will be followed by a two-day conference about the Takamiya Collection of British manuscripts, October 6-7, to be held in conjunction with the exhibition Making the English Book: the Takamiya Deposit at the Beinecke Library. In addition to a chance to view this exhibition, the DS meeting will include a presentation of the manuscript collections of The Ohio State University by Eric Johnson. 

Japanese orihon bindings at CODEX book fair, February 2017.
The DS Board of Directors (formerly known as the Executive Committee) will meet at the Beinecke on the day before the annual meeting on Wednesday 04 October 2017. The Board held their semi-annual meeting (a new but already valued tradition) on Friday 10 February 2017, at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. The meeting was scheduled to coincide with two important book fairs, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair, which included many displays of medieval manuscripts, and CODEX, which focused  especially on artists' printed books.  

Besides attending the book fairs the Board was offered a tour of the Bancroft Library by Professor Elaine Tennant, Director of the Bancroft, and David Faulds, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts and DS contact person. The current Bancroft exhibitions included a recently discovered letter signed by Dr. FĂ©lix Rey, which contains a verbal description and detailed sketch of Van Gogh’s self-inflicted amputation of his ear. David assisted author Bernadette Murphy in locating the letter among the Bancroft’s papers of Irving Stone, who wrote Lust for Life, a biographical novel about Van Gogh published in 1934. For more details see Murphy’s book, Van Gogh’s Ear (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016).

The business of the Board meeting on February 10th was conducted in two sessions, governance in the morning and technology in the afternoon. Governance business included the draft of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for DS Members and Associates, in order to establish in writing the basic parameters of institutional participation in the consortium. This document is not intended as a contract but rather to summarize some of our new organizational arrangements for existing participants as well as to help new participants with practical concerns. The MOU is posted on the DS “About” web pages, under “Governance.” We ask all participants to please give their attention to the MOU and keep a copy of it in their files. 

The technology business at the February 10th meeting included a presentation of IIIF technology by Benjamin Albritton of Stanford University Libraries. Ben has been instrumental in organizing the international IIIF Community Manuscripts Group. Individuals interested in IIIF technology may want to attend the 2017 IIIF Vatican Conference, to be held on 5-9 June 2017. Lynne Grigsby also gave a report about the new DS metadata template and recent enhancements to the DS online catalog, including larger thumbnails and faceted search filters by Language, Century, and Country. 

The Board also decided to offer a survey to send to the DS mailing list in order to assess user preferences for future development of the database. The complete minutes of the Board of Directors meeting are posted on the “Governance” page, next to the DS Bylaws.