Digital Library Blog

Scripting the Sacred: Medieval Latin Manuscripts

September 26, 2012
by Astrid Johannah Smith

Digital Production Group takes great pride and pleasure in our role supporting the Library's many beautiful and informative exhibitions. The current exhibition is just that, displaying an array of startlingly colorful and detailed medieval manuscripts from the University's collection.

Please read more below, cross-posted from Special Collections.  See also the recent article in the Stanford University News, Medieval exhibition spotlights Stanford Libraries' manuscript collection.

Scripting the Sacred: Medieval Latin Manuscripts

Scripting the Sacred, part one of a two-part exhibition of Western European manuscripts and fragments, showcases the medieval experience of reading. The exhibition will open Monday, September 17, in the Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda of Green Library, and continue through January 6, 2013.

Studying these texts involved not only the absorption of knowledge, but also practices of interpretation, identification, and devotion. By focusing on the exercise of reading, this exhibition explores "scripting" in diverse forms: scribal activity, scripted performances, and inscribed divine things (res divinae).

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Bible remained the paradigmatic text for reading and studying. The exhibited biblical items highlight different preferences pertaining to legibility. Indeed, scribes designed manuscripts to guide, assist, and sometimes challenge readers, as medieval versions of biblical commentary and patristic works exemplify. The liturgical genres on display contain written and visual markers that instruct readers in the proper performance of the Mass, music, and specific feast days. The text portion of the liturgy helped stage the clergy's ceremonial duties. Liturgical fragments with musical notation assisted ritual actors in the memorization of stylized speech. Both components show how customized manuscripts promoted reading aloud. Miniature prayer books and books of hours demonstrate a late medieval trend toward privatized and personalized lay devotion.

Bassi-Veratti Project Presented at Stanford Digital Humanties & Design Workshop

September 6, 2012
by Catherine A. Aster

Cathy Aster, Michael Olson and Sarah Sussman (SUL Curator of French and Italian) were invited by ATS colleague Nicole Coleman to a Stanford Digital Humanities & Design workshop, "Early Modern Times & Networks" where they presented a summary of the Bassi-Veratti project on 24 August 2012.  They led a discussion focused on the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) XML encoding of the finding aid to facilitate discovery of digitized content i

Stanford University Open Sources SearchWorks' Nearby on Shelf Code

September 5, 2012
by Jessie E Keck

Last week Stanford open sourced the code responsible for the Nearby on Shelf feature in SearchWorks as the Blacklight Browse Nearby gem.  This feature has been highly sought after by various Blacklight institutions to be contributed back to the community.  In keeping with the spirit of the vibrant open source community around Blacklight, Stanford has contributed the development effort to get this codebase available for use and contribution by other Blacklight implementers.

The release of this software was the culmination of a re-write of the SearchWorks code making it an installable package, more generalizable, and suitable in an open source context.  Due to that fact, the end product is much more generic that SearchWorks'  version (as you can see in the side-by-side screenshots below with SearchWorks being on the right) however it is infinitely more customizable.

A brief technical primer on Stanford's new library website

September 5, 2012
by Stuart Snydman

The Stanford University Libraries recently launched a redesign of its main library website at http://library.stanford.edu.  This is a Drupal 7-based site hosted on Pantheon.

In the future we hope to document more thoroughly the technical approaches we took on several bits of the site, but for now I'll summarize a few of the features this community might be interested with a brief summary of the technical approach taken for each. In no particular order:

Music From Math - Digitizing the Works of Max V. Mathews

August 27, 2012
by Geoff Willard

What's the first name you think of when considering the development of electronic music? Edgard Varèse? John Cage? Karlheinz Stockhausen? Now how about computer music? Max Mathews should be at the top of your list. While at Bell Laboratories in 1957, Mathews wrote the program MUSIC, ushering in an era of digital synthesis and composition. MUSIC went through many iterations, but its lasting influence can be seen in contemporary programs such as Max/MSP, itself named after the late pioneer.

Beautiful Books in the Stanford Digital Repository

Originally posted in ReMix: The Stanford University Libraries Newsletter

Sixteen volumes selected from among the Libraries’ “beautiful books” were recently added – approximately 1,400 images in all – to the Stanford Digital Repository, where anyone can
now view Renaissance artistic visions of the fall of Troy, see the universe as Galileo showed it to hiscontemporaries, hear Dr. Johnson pitching his idea for the first serious English dictionary, and admire one of the last magnificent examples of the golden age of English fine printing just before WWII. As with all of Stanford’s rare and antiquarian books, the printed originals of these digitized volumes are cataloged inSearchWorks and can be requested for viewing in the Special Collections reading room. Now, via each item’s PURL (persistent uniform resource locator, which ensures that these materials are available from a single URL over the long term), researchers can work with digital as well as original printed editions. Scholars have discovered, though, that each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and often find it useful to consult both in their work.

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