Canterbury Cathedral, University of Kent and Rouen researchers unite to digitise archives

By Culture24 Staff | 19 April 2010
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a photograph of the outside of an old building

Canterbury Cathedral. Courtesy University of Kent

A collaboration between researchers from Canterbury Cathedral, Kent University and Rouen in France could provide access to some of the most fragile and rare documents held in the Canterbury Cathedral archives.

The project, titled DocExplore, is planning to digitise documents in touch screen form for visitors and allow instant access to translations and transcriptions, allowing the reader to find out more about the historical context that the document was written in through text, image, sound and video resources.

"The scoping phase of DocExplore began in April 2009," said Dr Yiqing Liang, the EDA-based researcher developing the system software.

"However, on the 17th and 18th of March this year local residents were given the opportunity to preview the ideas underpinning the proposed system at a two-day exhibition of the beautiful 17th century Travel Diary of John Bargrave, which is held in the Cathedral's archives.

"This exhibition and the feedback we received helped us learn a great deal more about how to build on the basic concept. It will be useful for when we move on to the implementation of the ultimate system in the next phase of the project."

If the second phase of this EU INTERREG IVA-funded project is agreed, DocExplore will ultimately offer manuscript readers an even wider variety of tools to help readers to clarify annotations and recover sections of the text which are damaged.

It will also enable researchers to identify and compare writing samples from different authors and investigate the nature of the paper on which documents are written.

For more information visit the Canterbury Cathedral Archives online.

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