Paper Digital Humanities Australasia 2018

Hidden Treasures: Making discoverable the ANU's collection of medieval manuscript fragments (35)

Rose Faunce

Like many university collections, the Australian National University Library has a small legacy collection of detached medieval manuscript leaves. It suffers from under-utilisation due in part to a lack of awareness and access. My paper will address the challenge of finding ways to open up this collection to meet the University’s mission of teaching, research and engagement  and,  in particular, to share it with libraries and collecting institutions worldwide. In order to increase the discoverability of the collection for researchers, catalogue records and digital images of the manuscript leaves are being compiled in the new digital data management system Fragmentarium developed by the Universite de Fribourg, Switzerland, in partnership with 16 major libraries in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States.  The ANU Library is the first Australian institution to become involved. The metadata in the virtual archive is openly available, along with tools to support the task of linking the leaves with related extant catalogued fragments to help reconstruct a digital surrogate of the broken manuscript.

Not only has the Fragmentarium system increased discoverability of the ANU collection, it has resulted in enhanced collection data, through contributions to the identification of the university’s leaves by researchers in Europe and the United States. It has served as well to forge connections with over forty collections around the world, with leaves in the ANU collection now part of projects to virtually reconstruct a dismembered medieval Missal, a Psalter and two Books of Hours.