Everything has been running very well over the last month or so, new partners, completed projects and lots of new ideas.
Our Digitisation open day was a success, displaying our techniques and equipment to the eager public. After the days success, we have decided we will hold other open days in the future, incorporating the whole process of Conservation and Digitisation. Keep an eye on the blog in the future for more news on this.
84 single sheet maps have been digitised, ranging in date from the late 18th century through to the 1920s. Due to the closure of Manchester City Library, only a small proportion of the City Library map collection is likely to be available for researchers. These maps represent a crucial historical resource; they would be heavily used as a teaching and learning resource. Available in digital form, the maps could aid major scholarly advances in understanding nineteenth century Manchester. 24 of the digitised maps will form part of a an AHRC bid to design a web-browser to access historical mapping of Manchester. As part of a proof of concept, a demonstrator site is to be created; at the core of this demonstrator would be high-res geo-referenced Directory maps, which might be overlain against each other and against other digital map sources.
Running along side the maps project, 9 printed incunables from our own collections have been photographed in partnership with GALE publishing, who provide surrogates of books printed before 1501. The 9 Rylands books are all Italian including including some of the rarest Florentine printing the library owns. Most of these books survive in only a handful of copies, and in most cases the Rylands is the only UK library to own these items. Among the rarest are copies of Boccaccio and Landino, an Aesop Fables, printed in 1483 Florence, of which there are only 4 copies in the world, and an extremely rare issue from the press of Jacobum de Ripoli, which survives in only 2 copies. The images will be available in LUNA in the near Future.
Manchester Metropolitan University Library has agreed to partner with us, and in the next couple of weeks we will be working in their special collections department photographing some fantastic Victorian Scrap books, including drawings, photographs and newspaper clippings. One is a beautiful collection of pressed butterflies! More news on this as we progress.