Here are documents relating to a seminar held at Kings College London on 5 June 2006, which discussed issues relating to mass digitization of UK manuscripts.

The abstract of the day's proceedings was as follows:

"Advances in digital photographic technology, mass data store and networking capacity have in the last years reached the point where it is now possible to contemplate large-scale digital photography of manuscript materials. Some projects have reported costs as low as 1 euro a page, inclusive of image store and basic metadata information. Such cost levels, comparable to traditional microfilm photography, would make possible digitization of whole manuscript collections (indeed, several initiatives have achieved this) and, beyond this, digitization on a national and trans-national scale, for example within the EU I-2010 program. However, such claims need to be rigorously examined, as any large-scale digitization programme would need to ensure that it could deliver the quality required while protecting the originals from any degradation through the digitization process.

This seminar draws together experts from digitization projects in Europe who have worked on large-scale manuscript digitization initiatives with UK technical experts, representatives of UK manuscript holding institutions, and interested academic experts, to discuss the possibilities and implications of large-scale manuscript digitization, examining different methods of how to best achieve a high volume of digitization in a timescale that makes it conservation safe, financially viable, and academically useful.

Questions to be addressed include: Can digitization be done at sufficiently high standard, and at sufficiently low cost, to be both feasible and worthwhile in larger volumes than has hitherto been done? Who should decide priorities for digitization? How are the images to be stored and made available? How far is it possible to envisage a national, or indeed, trans-European, initiative with uniform policies on image use, access, and delivery? How might the image delivery systems be maintained and updated? What impact will this have on existing policies for capture and use of digital images in different libraries? How would content owners adjust payments for the rights to use images, and would this materially affect their revenue streams? How is such digitization to be financed in both the short and the long term?"

The original Word document for the program and whole day is here

Participants were:

Barbara Bordalejo   Birmingham University , UK.

Marilyn Deegan   King’s College London (recorder)

Gillian Evison   Oxford University

Juan Garces   King’s College London

Neil Grindley   AHRC ICT Methods Network, King’s College London

Lorna Hughes   AHRC ICT Methods Network, King’s College London (chair)

Maredudd ap Huw   National Library of Wales

Gwyn Jenkins   National Library of Wales

Scot McKendrick   British Library

Linne Mooney   York University

Nigel Morgan   Parker Library, Cambridge

Meline Nielson   Mingana Collection, University of Birmingham

David Parker   Birmingham University

Peter Robinson   Birmingham University (chair)

Nancy Ross   Parker Library, Cambridge

Meg Twycross   Lancaster University

David Weston   Hunterian Library, Glasgow

Uhlíř Zdeněk   Czech National Library

Talks and speakers were:

The need for speed? Balancing throughput, workflow and conservation   Simon Tanner, KDCS, King’s College London

How Big is Big Enough? Digitization for scholarly research (see presentation)   Julia Craig McFeely, DIAMM Project, Royal Holloway and Oxford University

On cultural heritage and the digital world (see presentation)   Manfred Thaller, University of Cologne

From estimate to experience: Workflows and some numbers about manuscript digitisation   Torsten Schassan, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel, Fotomarburg and the project CESG

Revised 20 July 2006