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What is BiblioPhilly?

BiblioPhilly is the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis project, which has been organized through the Philadelphia Area Special Collections Consortium (PACSCL) and funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). BiblioPhilly aims to digitize over 450 medieval manuscripts from 15 different institutions in the Philadelphia area. The project started in April 2016, and will finish in March 2019. The project PI is Lois Black, from the Lehigh University Special Collections, and co-PIs are Janine Pollock from the Free Library of Philadelphia and Dot Porter from the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, with invaluable assistance from Laura Blanchard at PACSCL. The digitized manuscripts are hosted on OPenn, which is a service of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

What is this site?

This site, which will be updated regularly as the project progresses, includes descriptions for all the manuscripts that will be digitized for the project, those that are online as well as those that are not yet online. The site is served through Omeka.net, a service of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship. It is managed by Dot Porter.

How does it work?

The site includes several methods for accessing the collection, including a plain text search and browsing options on several different aspects of the collection. For example, if you are only interested in manuscripts that are already online, click the option in the menu for "Mss Online". Likewise if you want to know what manuscripts are still to come, click "Mss Not Online Yet". "Browse by Holding Institution" to see which manuscripts are coming to the project from each partner institution, and "Browse by Tag" for a broad selection of keywords representing types of books, centuries of production, cultures represented, descriptive terms, and geographical areas. 

I found a manuscript I like. What are my options?

Manuscripts that are not yet online have few options. There will be very little description (Title and Date, and sometimes Language and Place of Origin).

Manuscripts that are online will have much more description, along with several links:

Page Turning: A page-turning interface, best for paging through a book cover-to-cover. Contains very little descriptive information, links to the OPenn Record
OPenn Record: The record for the manuscript on OPenn. Contains a manuscript description and thumbnails of the images (which you can download, along with larger jpeg images and high-resolution TIFF images suitable for printing)
OPenn Data: A link to a set of folders containing the metadata files and images on OPenn. Most useful if you just want to access the data; there is no user-friendly interface
Collation View: Visualizations of the construction of the manuscript, including quire diagrams and bifolia views (that show conjoined leaves). Not included for manuscripts with uncertain collation.

This is great! What can I do with it?

Anything you like. You are free to share links to Omeka, and links to anything in it. All the photographs are in the Public Domain, and the descriptive metadata is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CCBY 4.0), which means you can do whatever you’d like with them (including publishing and selling) you just need to attribute the metadata. It is also good scholarly practice to identify the repository, manuscript, and folio number for images (e.g., Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 125, f. 25v).

If you have any questions, contact Dot Porter (dorp@upenn.edu)