CMS-UTLibraries partnership in Manuscript Studies

June 21, 2016 by Communications

In partnership, University of Toronto Libraries and Centre for Medieval Studies’ Old Books New Science Lab have undertaken a project – “Digital Tools for Manuscript Study” – funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We have identified some core needs of scholars who use digital surrogates of medieval books: data portability, repository interoperability and tool modularity. Our project aims to create tools that support these needs.


Our project is one node in an international network built upon IIIF, the International Image Interoperability Framework, and the Web Annotation data model. IIIF de-silos image stores. It allows scholars to work with manuscripts from different repositories, and enables cross-institutional image and annotation sharing. Using IIIF and Web Annotation specifications, our team will be integrating several modular tools with Omeka, the popular open-source content management system. We hope to improve the usability of these tools for medievalists, and to increase the portability of data between Omeka, library and archive repositories, and scholars’ desktops. Our project also uses to improve the interoperability of the data produced by scholarly transcription, translation and annotation of books.