Paper 59

2018 Washington conference submission

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Parker 2.0: The Rebuilding and Relaunching of the Parker Library on the Web

Anne Mclaughlin - Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (United Kingdom)

Abstract: I’d like to propose a presentation for the upcoming IIIF Conference centred on the rebuilding and relaunch of the Parker Library on the Web (hereafter referred to as Parker 2.0). Originally launched in 2008 in collaboration with the Cambridge University Library and Stanford University, the Parker Library on the Web was one of the first sites to provide access to a fully digitised manuscript collection, namely the 557 manuscripts held at the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, as well as being one of the first digitised manuscript libraries to be available via IIIF. Almost 10 years later, we’ve completely overhauled our site, ridding it of the paywall that prevented our collections from being freely accessible, updating and publishing our IIIF manifests, and incorporating a Mirador viewing window and a Zotero-based bibliography structure.

The presentation will consist of three distinct sections, each focused on a different element of the design and implementation of the new site. In the first section, I’ll explore the challenges we faced in re-envisioning the digital library as we sought to preserve the information that had been incorporated into the original Parker on the Web interface, while creating something that embraced both the best of Mirador and other open source software. We needed to be able to incorporate large amounts of metadata, from summaries of a manuscript’s contents to detailed incipits and explicits for each of the texts, as well as continue to provide features of the old site that were valued by our researchers, such as pdfs of our physical catalogue records and the ability to navigate to page level and search for manuscripts by number and by keyword.

The second section will discuss the ways in which we’ve begun to use Parker 2.0 as an integral aspect of the physical Library. The flexible nature of the new site makes it possible to build digital exhibitions that parallel the exhibitions that we put on throughout the year, allowing those who cannot make it to Cambridge to explore various aspects of the collection and shine a light on some of our ‘less popular’ items. Additionally, Parker 2.0 has made it possible to begin an internship programme that introduces medieval history students to the rudiments of digital humanities as they create tables of contents and annotations for some of our most famous manuscripts, and to organise transcription workshops attended by students of all levels, from first year undergraduates to post-doctoral researchers.

Finally, the paper will address how we want to take Parker 2.0 forward in the coming year: providing digital options for encoding and searching translations and transcriptions of various texts, creating opportunities for more students to generate metadata, and thinking about ways to usefully search by location, and, perhaps, use IIIF to pull in other copies of early printed works from that we hold physically, yet have not had the opportunity to digitise.

Presentation type: 20 minute presentations (plus 5 mins questions)


  • IIIF synergies with regional and national ongoing digital libraries, museums and archives initiatives,
  • IIIF enabled collaboration,
  • IIIF content communities (museums, manuscripts, newspapers, archival content, etc.)


  • manuscripts,
  • digital and physical collections,
  • IIIF implementation