Category: Events

Great Parchment Book attracts visitors from across the world

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London Metropolitan Archives receives regular requests from individuals and groups which want to visit to discover more about the Great Parchment Book project. These include archivists, conservators and other heritage professionals, and academics and students, especially those interested in digital humanities, from across the world.

A visitor from Down Under

In April, LMA welcomed Kit Kugatoff, Director, Collections and Access at Queensland State Archives who was keen to visit to discuss our approaches to digitisation and technology assisted conservation with particular reference to the Great Parchment Book project. During her visit Philippa Smith, Head of Collections and Caroline De Stefani, Conservation Studio Manager were delighted to show Kit some original folios of the Great Parchment Book and discuss other ways in which we see technology assisting conservators to make accessible to researchers the information locked in damaged documents. Laurence Ward, Head of Digital Services also talked to Kit about LMA’s digitisation programmes and showed her the Digital Services Suite. As always we found that we shared lots of experiences and issues and it was beneficial to exchange knowledge and ideas with a professional colleague from the other side of the world.

Exploring technology and heritage in London

In June LMA was pleased to host a group of students from Michigan State University in the United States based in London for a month for their “Technology, Humanities, and the Arts in London” programme. The course focussed on how archives, libraries and museums see the relationship between their physical (and digital) materials and the digital interfaces of those materials. The students especially wanted to find out more first hand about the Great Parchment Book project, but also to look at LMA’s regular digitisation processes as well as new developments.

Once again Philippa Smith and Caroline De Stefani talked about the Great Parchment Book project and the students were thrilled to see original folios of the book in a display in the Conservation Studio. Philippa and Caroline also showed the students examples of other documents where technology might not only improve accessibility, but also reveal hidden information about how the items were created and even more about former conservation treatments. LMA is currently working with UCL under the auspices of SEAHA on a project to explore the possibilities presented by multispectral imaging of documentary material. We were delighted to share with the students some of the documents we had been looking at with the doctoral student only a few days before which may provide the raw material for her research. Laurence Ward then showed the students some of the ways in which digitisation is transforming how we work at LMA and took them down to the Digital Services Suite to learn more about our digitisation processes.

This is becoming a regular annual visit and we look forward to welcoming another group of students next year.

Taking a closer look back home

Also in June Caroline met with Gwen Spicer, an art conservator from the United States who was interested very specifically in the technique of using magnets to flatten parchment which we had used in the Great Parchment Book project. Gwen was also intrigued by one of the materials we had used in the project when humidifying parchment – Bondina. She hadn’t come across it in the US and took samples back home so she could take a closer look. Gwen wrote about her visit for her own blog and you read about it here.

Celebrating the 4th anniversary of the Great Parchment Book website

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It is pleasing to be able to report that on the 4th anniversary of the launch of the Great Parchment Book website yesterday, the number of views of the site passed 130,000.

Great Parchment Book logoThe website was launched on 30 May 2013 immediately prior to the opening of the  exhibition “Plantation: Process, people, perspectives” in Derry Guildhall  in June 2013 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the building of the city walls in the year that Derry-Londonderry celebrated being the UK’s first City of Culture. The digitally reconstructed manuscript, accessible for the first time in over 200 years via the dedicated website, took pride of place in the exhibition which has proved to be a great success and still running today.

Here’s looking forward to at least 150,000 views before 30 May 2018 when we will be 5 years old!

Heritage Gallery 6We also celebrated the anniversary with a curator’s talk on the Great Parchment Book in the Heritage Gallery at Guildhall, where three folios of the book are on display, on the first ever London History Day today (31 May). This event was also part of  a programme celebrating the 950th anniversary of the City of London Corporation’s extensive archives in 2017. The members of the small, but attentive audience had obviously done their research before hand and had lots of interesting questions. Several were going on to other London History Day events in the City of London and beyond, including at London Metropolitan Archives. It is great to be able to showcase some of the archival treasures held by the City of London as part of this new venture.

London History Day talk on Great Parchment Book

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On Wednesday 31 May 2017 Historic England launches the first ever London History Day, celebrating the capital’s extraordinary history and heritage. London Metropolitan Archives will mark the day as part of a series of celebratory events this year in connection with the 950th anniversary of the City of London Corporation’s extensive archives.

Heritage Gallery 3As part of London History Day, there will be a curator’s talk on the Great Parchment Book in the Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery. The talk is at 10.30am on 31 May in the Heritage Gallery and is free, but please book on Eventbrite to secure your place.

The Great Parchment Book is the centrepiece of the current display in the City of London’s Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery until 10 August 2017. For details of the display and how to find Guildhall Art Gallery, please visit the Heritage Gallery webpage. Heritage Gallery 1

The Great Parchment Book has also been City of London Treasure of the Month for May 2017.

For details of what’s happening at London Metropolitan Archives on London History Day see Eventbrite.

There are also lots of other London History day events in the City of London including talks, walks and displays, many around Guildhall.

Great Parchment Book goes to Girdlers’ Hall

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Display 2Two original folios of the Great Parchment Book were on display at a reception at Girdlers’ Hall on Monday 8 May 2017 held by the Honourable The Irish Society for the City of London livery companies and the City of London. The reception provided an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the Honourable The Irish Society’s charitable grants programme and mission to strengthen the special relationship between the City of London and Northern Ireland that has existed for over 400 years. Guests were invited to reconnect to a shared history, and engage with the continuing social and economic development of the Province.

Display 5A piper from the 1st Battalion the Irish Guards provided a musical accompaniment to the start of the evening, before guests were welcomed by The Reverend Sir George Newton, Bt, Master of the Worshipful Company of Girdlers. Quietly passionate speeches from Alderman Sir David Wootton, Governor of the Irish Society and Deputy Henry Pollard, Deputy Governor followed, with Mr William Charnley, master of the Worshipful Company of Drapers talking about his own company’s contribution to charitable causes in Northern Ireland through the Irish Society. The Girdlers’ Company Beadle, Robert Young, was master of ceremonies and cheerfully, but firmly kept us all in order.

Display 6There was much interest in the folios of the Great Parchment Book on display. The City of London, eight of the Great Twelve of the City of London livery companies and the Irish Society had all contributed to the project to conserve and digitally reconstruct the book, and it was a pleasure to talk about this important source for the history of Northern Ireland, and the project to make it accessible again after 200 years, to members of the livery companies which are represented in the book.

The two folios displayed were of Fishmongers’ Company lands (folios F7v and F8r) chosen as much for their physical appearance (distortion, shrunken text, evidence of singeing) as much as content. A modern transcription of the pages taken from the Great Parchment Book website was supplied. The folios were carefully presented under a bespoke Perspex dome sitting on the Tyvek sheets which usually support them in their bespoke packaging. This gave guests the rare opportunity to view the original folios at close quarters, at the same time keeping them safe. Philippa Smith from London Metropolitan Archives was on hand throughout the evening to keep a close eye on the folios as well as to answer questions.Display 3

Thanks go to Robert Young, Beadle of the Girdlers’ Company and his staff for looking after the folios in secure storage before the after the event, and to the support of the Irish Society, especially Edward Montgomery, Secretary, who had suggested London Metropolitan Archives should bring the folios along to the event.

 

 

 

Great Parchment book on display in City of London Heritage Gallery

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Heritage Gallery 3The Great Parchment Book is the centrepiece of the current display in the City of London’s Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery until 10 August 2017. Visitors have a rare opportunity to see three original folios from the Great Parchment Book at close quarters, showing in a striking display the extraordinary 3D nature of the surviving distorted pages of the manuscript affectionately known as the “poppadum book”.

More about the pages on display in the Heritage Gallery

Heritage Gallery 1The pages on display ( CLA/049/EM/02/018/Q6, Q11, Q12) relate to the Natives’ Lands, the estates granted to those who were Irish by birth. Landholders mentioned include Ferdora, Shane and Brian O’Cahan, gentlemen. The O’Cahan clan had been the chief sub clan to the O’Neills, Kings of Ulster. The majority of the clan chiefs had fled in the 1607 Flight of the Earls after the defeat of Hugh O’Neill. It was “O’Cahan’s Country” which had been confiscated by the Crown and then assigned to the City of London for plantation. Thirteen freeholds were allocated to the native Irish across the new county of Londonderry. The lands mentioned in the displayed pages lie within the Ironmongers’ and Grocers’ Companies’ proportions. They record that Ferdora O’Cahan is instructed to erect a substantial house “after the fashion and manner of an English house” on his estate. It is also notable that settler Robert Downs is required “to keep in readiness upon the premises for the service of his Majesty … one musket” whereas none of the O’Cahan’s are instructed to do so as the intention was to muster forces to counter the threat from the native Irish.

For details of the display and how to find Guildhall Art Gallery, please visit the Heritage Gallery web page.

Treasure of the Month

The Great Parchment Book has been designated City of London Treasure of the Month for May 2017.

Curator’s talk at the Heritage Gallery

On Wednesday 31 May 2017 Historic England launches the first ever London History Day, celebrating the capital’s extraordinary history and heritage. London Metropolitan Archives will mark the day as part of a series of celebratory events this year in connection with the 950th anniversary of the City of London Corporation’s extensive archives.

As part of London History Day, there will be a curator’s talk on the Great Parchment Book in the Heritage Gallery at Guildhall Art Gallery. The talk is at 10.30am on 31 May in the Heritage Gallery and is free, but please book on Eventbrite to secure your place.

For more details of what’s happening at LMA on London History Day, also see Eventbrite.

 

Great Parchment Book goes to Glasgow (and Finland)

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edcr2016-2We were fortunate that the launch of the major academic paper on the Great Parchment Book project coincided with London Metropolitan Archives’ Charlie Turpie presenting the project at the Symposium on Evaluating Digital Cultural Resources (EDCR2016) in Glasgow on 13 December 2016.

Charlie commented afterwards that one of the themes that emerged from the symposium was that physical and digital often go hand in hand and continue to have a relationship – this came out in various papers. The Great Parchment Book presentation captured that perfectly – seeing the transformation from shrivelled parchment to digital image was a real wow for the audience. The audience also got the pathos of the membranes being preserved for 200 years just in case they could be made accessible one day.A box of folios from the Great Parchment Book before they were conserved and repackaged

One attendee was very pleased that the Great Parchment Book website features both the before and after shots of the folios as other projects only show the digitally enhanced images which is not as useful as having both.

That the presentation was very well received is reflected in the contemporaneous comments on Twitter of which a selection is given below:

  • Fantastic #GreatParchmentBook project presented by @CharlieTurpie @LdnMetArchives #EDCR2016 Loved the poppadoms analogy!
  • Gasp from audience as @CharlieTurpie shows an image of the #greatparchmentbook fragments in a box. Yikes! #edcr2016
  • ‘a mass of scorched and dirty fragments’ – tricky task to create a digitised version of the #greatparchmentbook #EDCR2016
  • Project allows users to navigate and flatten digital images to digitally uncover the text within. Cool! #greatparchmentbook #edcr2016
  • Digital reconstruction to enable access is fab; book & its contents are also significant for local community #edcr2016 #greatparchmentbook
  • Definitive article on fascinating #greatparchmentbook released today! Can’t wait to read more on it after #EDCR2016
  • #greatparchmentbook is such an awesome project!

You can catch up with the Great Parchment Book project on Twitter by using the hashtag #greatparchmentbook.

The paper, published in Oxford University Press’s Digital Scholarship in the Humanities journal, is freely available online. At the time of writing it is doing very well online and is already in the top 5% of papers in Altmetric (which tracks online research outputs), and 99th centile for attention; it is the number one output from digital scholarship in the humanities.

Great Parchment Book in Finland

The Great Parchment Book’s world tour continued with Tim Weyrich, Professor of Visual Computing, Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics Group, Department of Computer Science, University College London, lead of the project digital acquisition and reconstruction, giving the keynote at SyysGraph 2016, the Finnish computer graphics scene’s leading annual event, the previous evening. His talk on Problem-Aware Digitization of Cultural Heritage Artifacts featured the Great Parchment Book as one of the case studies and he was able to promote the paper which was published the following day.

The Great Parchment Book in Trieste

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The Great Parchment Book project was referenced in a paper on the Scientific Use of Archives given at the International Institute of Archival Science of Trieste and Maribor conference on 25 October 2016.

trieste-1Over 150 delegates from 25 different countries heard Tim Harris talk about the variety of sources available for scientific research at London Metropolitan Archives, the way LMA uses science in the preservation of archives, and the success of the STEM education stream working with London schools to promote discovery in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through historical sources.

The article accompanying the paper has been published in Atlanti vol 26 (2016) Number 2  ISSN 1318-0134.

Great Parchment Book goes to South Korea

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seoul-1At the International Council on Archives Congress at Seoul, South Korea Friday 9 September 2016, London Metropolitan Archives’ Tim Harris presented on the collaboration and cooperation which resulted in the successful outcomes of the Great Parchment Book Project.

The audience was excited to see the transformation of the Great Parchment Book and several members of the audience noted the excellence of the blog.

seoul-2One member of ICA, Gerard Foley from the Archives of Western Australia, revealed that he had found two of his ancestors who had been carpenters in Londonderry.

People were pleased to learn that the products and outcome were continuing to be shared and developed.

 

For another view from Seoul, go to the Borthwick Institute of Archives blog post Up and AtoM: The Borthwick Institute Goes To South Korea.

Great Parchment Book on Twitter

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You can also keep up to date with the Great Parchment Book project and associated activities on Twitter using the hashtag #greatparchmentbook.

2016_06_24_ALMS_Conservation_002We’ve recently posted images of the viewing of the Great Parchment Book at the ‘Without Borders’ LGBTQ ALMS Conference (22-24 June 2016) at London Metropolitan Archives on 24 June 2016. Visitors given a behind-the-scenes tour of the LMA Conservation Studio were thrilled to see original folios from such an iconic manuscript on display especially as it had only been added to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World earlier that week (on 21 June). They were also able to chat to Great Parchment Book project conservator Rachael Smither (on the right in the photograph) who was on hand to talk about the conservation project and answer questions.

We’ve been posting to Twitter more frequently as it enables us to post snippets of information not suitable for the more extended format of the blog. It also allows us to publicise blog posts, highlight different aspects of the project, make connections with other related material and activities, and exploit events such as the UNESCO UK Memory of the World award. Overall this has had the effect of driving more traffic to the website and making the project more widely known.

 

 

GREAT PARCHMENT BOOK AWARDED UNESCO MEMORY OF THE WORLD STATUS

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We are delighted to announce  that on 21 June 2016 at the UK Memory of the World awards at the Senedd in Cardiff, the Great Parchment Book of the Honourable the Irish Society was inscribed to the UK register of the UNESCO Memory of the World.

Copyright The Welsh Government

Philippa Smith, representing London Metropolitan Archives, was presented with the award certificate by Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones who gave the keynote speech. The opening speech had been given by Gary Brace from the UK National Commission to UNESCO. Chair of the UK Memory of the World Committee Elizabeth Oxborrow Cowan also spoke about the careful and skilful management needed to preserve our documentary heritage. The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History, Chris Skidmore MP, sent a supportive message. Finally, a special award was made to George Boston and David Dawson who established the Memory of the World programme in the UK.

091_UNESCO_CARDIFF_AWARDS-9670

Copyright The Welsh Government

 

The following Inscriptions have now been added to Memory of the World (MoW) UK Register, recognising a wide variety of remarkable historical documents from across the UK, dating from the 9th to the 19th century:

  • Archive of Charles Booth’s Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London, 1886 – 1903
  • The Great Parchment Book of The Honourable The Irish Society, 1639
  • The Exeter Book, c.965 – 975
  • The Laboratory Notebooks of Michael Faraday, 1820 – 1862
  • Medieval Archive of Canterbury Cathedral
  • Survey of the Manors of Chickhowell and Tretower, 1587
  • The Correspondence Collection Robert Owen, 1821 – 1858

In addition, congratulations are also due to the Churchill Archives and the Haig Papers.  These Inscriptions have been added to the International Register, which celebrates documentary heritage of outstanding international significance.

These Inscriptions reflect the diversity of the UK’s rich documentary heritage, which is filled with stories about people, places and events.  Documentary heritage is the documented memory of humankind, and it deserves to be cherished, celebrated, preserved and, above all, shared.

Great Parchment Book UNESCO certificateThe Great Parchment Book has been recognised as a hugely significant record of the Ulster Plantation in the early 17th century, providing a unique insight into an important period of the history of Northern Ireland for which there are few other original archives surviving.

It cannot be overstated how important the Plantation of Ulster was to the history of Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and Ireland and it still has influence today. The Great Parchment Book is central to the study of the Plantation and the social, economic, cultural, religious, and political history of Northern Ireland.

The Great Parchment Book provides a key record of the population of early 17th century Ulster at the time of the Plantation, not just the Protestant settlers who came from both England and Scotland, but also the native Irish, and exceptionally many women, at all social levels. It contains unique information about the properties and individual buildings they inhabited, as well as the extent and layout of the towns of Coleraine and Londonderry.

The Great Parchment Book has considerable significance for the people of Ulster, Northern Ireland and Ireland more generally; it is regarded as iconic by the Irish Society and the City of London.

UNESCOUNESCO established the Memory of the World (MoW) Programme in 1992. The programme vision is that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and permanently accessible to all without hindrance. The UK Register (one of several country-level programmes from around the world) recognises documentary heritage deemed by a panel of experts to be of outstanding significance to the UK. The seven new inscriptions join the 50 already listed on the UK register.

The addition of the Great Parchment Book means that London Metropolitan Archives, City of London Corporation has four items inscribed to the UK Register, the other items being the Charter of William I to the City of London, London County Council Bomb Damage Maps, and Robert Hooke’s Diary, 1672-83. This is more than any other local authority archive service and demonstrates the importance of the History of London collections held by LMA which, along with the printed collections at Guildhall Library, are also Designated as Outstanding by the Arts Council England.

Studying digital humanities in London

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In London we are fortunate to have two leading centres for the study of digital humanities, the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and King’s College London Department of Digital Humanities. The Great Parchment Book project and follow-on research is very closely allied to the former, but we also have had links to the latter.

UCLDH logoDigital Humanities research takes place at the intersection of computational technologies and humanities and is a relatively new field of research and teaching. It is highly collaborative and typically works across a wide range of disciplines, involving different institutions, both nationally and internationally. It has a crucial role to play in developing the use of advanced technology in the arts and humanities, making possible new kinds of research which positively impact on cultural heritage and memory institutions, libraries, archives and digital culture.

King's College LondonBoth UCLDH and King’s College Department of Digital Humanities offer MAs in Digital Humanities for which applications are currently open. Both have also produced very accessible videos which explain more about Digital Humanities research and study and are well worth viewing. Find out more via the links below:

 

UCLDH MA/MSc in Digital Humanities

UCLDH video

MA in Digital Humanities at King’s College London

King’s College Department of Digital Humanities video

 

Intersectionality in Digital Humanities

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The last few years have witnessed a movement towards a more open and inclusive Digital Humanities field. Intersectional studies are developing within Digital Humanities to try to bring a plurality of voices into the conversation.

KU LeuvenKU Leuven in Belgium is hosting a conference on Intersectionality in Digital Humanities, 15-17 September 2016. KU Leuven’s Digital Humanities Task Force invites individual paper proposals, panel sessions, poster sessions, and tool demonstrations related to intersectionality in Digital Humanities. Lists of possible topics are available via the link below. Please note deadline for this call is 30 May 2016.

Confirmed speakers include Professor Melissa Terras from University College London who has been closely involved with LMA with the Great Parchment Book project and research into multispectral imaging.

Venue: KU Leuven, Belgium

Dates: 15-17 September 2016 (immediately after the Digital Humanities Summer School, 12-14 September 2016).

Find out more here.

SEAHA Special Seminar in Multispectral and Hyperspectral Imaging

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SEAHAAn impressive line-up of world class speakers will be sharing their experience and recent findings and showcasing the power of  multispectral and hyperspectral imaging at a SEAHA special seminar in Oxford on 30 June 2016. This is an event not to be missed if you are an Imaging Scientist and Heritage professional keen to learn and share more about this exciting area of research.

Speakers include colleagues from UCL, LMA’s partners in the Great Parchment Book project with whom we are continuing to be involved in research around multispectral imaging under the auspices of SEAHA (the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts Heritage and Archaeology).

Delegates are also invited to submit a poster so they can share their own knowledge and discoveries.

Date & Time: 30 June 2016 09.30-19.00 (17.30-19.00 Wine Reception)

Location: Wolfson College, Linton Road, Oxford OX2 6UD

Price: £70.00
Includes registration, refreshments, sit down lunch and wine reception.

More details and booking information may be found here.

 

Celebrating the Great Parchment Book at the UK Blog Awards

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UKBlogAwards certificateGreat Parchment Book was pleased and proud to be part of the UK Blog Awards with all the other finalists at the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, London on Friday 29 April 2016.

It was a fun event taking the theme of Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant in the centenary year of his birth which seemed very appropriate given the focus of the 2016 Awards on storytelling. A stilt-walking BFG strode around the event, and there were lots of bubbles, not only alcoholic! One room was decorated with life-like looking trees and scenery, and the canapés were smothered in edible flowers continuing the theme. The headline sponsor, Odeon Cinemas, even had a pop-up cinema – with popcorn of course.

UKBlogAwards montageThere was a real buzz to the event with finalists not only enjoying their own moment of glory with their supporters, but connecting with other bloggers and finding out their stories, in my case ranging from the Cottages and Castles Blog (lettings agency business) to the Living With CMPA Blog (the personal story of a mum with a son with food allergy). This interaction has continued after the event on social media and is an important part of the Awards ethos.

UKBlogAwards programmeThe event was not only fun, but also slick. The host was Kate Russell with whom you may be familiar from the BBC’s technology programme Click. An award winner last year, she was warm, enthusiastic and funny, with a lovely line in off-the-cuff remarks when things didn’t go according to plan, but also super-efficient at keeping the awards presentation ceremony on track. After brief but pertinent welcome speeches from the UK Blog Awards Founder and MD, Gemma Newton, and Andy Edge, Commercial Director and Amy Rountree, Social Media Manager and Strategist, Odeon Cinemas, the awards were presented by category, with two highly commended in each, plus the winner.

UKBlogAwards screenThe Arts and Culture category was up first so I didn’t have to long to wait. The Great Parchment Book blog didn’t win, but it was great to see it up on the big screen with the other finalists all of whom were made to feel special. As Gemma Newton wrote in the Awards programme: “All of the shortlisted candidates should be hugely proud of what they’ve achieved to reach this final stage … winning a UKBA is not easy.” I was then able to relax and enjoy the rest of the ceremony and celebrate with my neighbour, the author of the Living with CMPA Blog who won her category. The Arts and Culture category was won by the Honest Actors’ Blog. The winner of the headline award for the Best Storyteller was the Royal Mint Blog. Very well done to all the winning blogs.

The Great Parchment Book was the only archive blog in the competition and the only finalist from the heritage sector (although the Royal Mint Blog has a heritage dimension). It would be great next year to see more archive and heritage blogs getting involved in the UK Blog Awards, and making it through to the final. The Great Parchment Book did it, your blog can too! The Arts and Culture category is very wide, perhaps UK Blog Awards could encourage the heritage sector with a separate category, or at least make it Arts, Heritage and Culture?

You can find out more about the UK Blog Awards on its website and on social media especially Twitter @UKBlogAwards #ukba16; and Facebook /UKBlogAwards.

1615-1745: post-digital issues and concerns

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Previously on the Great Parchment Book blog we have looked at related sources such as the 1641 Depositions held at Trinity College Library Dublin.

1641 DepositionsThe 1641 Depositions comprise transcripts and images of all 8,000 depositions, examinations and associated materials in which Protestant men and women of all classes told of their experiences following the outbreak of the rebellion by the Catholic Irish in October, 1641. The 1641 Depositions Project had similar aims to the Great Parchment Book project to conserve, digitise, transcribe and make the depositions available online in a fully TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) compliant format.

You can hear more about the project and it’s future at the forthcoming CERL Dublin Manuscripts Conference 25-27 May 2016 being held in the Library of Trinity College where Professor Jane Ohlmeyer, one of the Principal Investigators on the project, is speaking on ‘The 1641 Depositions: what now?’ in a session on ‘Post-digital issues and concerns 1615-1745’.

cerl-logoThe conference is entitled ‘Unique and universal: challenges for the manuscript librarian’ and is the 7th conference of the European Manuscript Librarians Expert Group of CERL (the Consortium of European research Libraries).

The primary aims of the Group are to act as a forum for curatorial concerns, and to enhance understanding and practical cooperation among curators across Europe. The conference will focus on the themes of commemorations and anniversaries, materiality, and post-digital issues and concerns.

Find out more about the conference and how to register here.

 

Great Parchment Book retrospective: public recognition

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The successful outcome of the Great Parchment Book project is now well-established and the project has been very much in the public eye. This post, in our occasional retrospective, is about public recognition.

The project was an ambitious collaborative undertaking and each element was a major piece of work in its own right and different funders were approached for each aspect of the project:

  • The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded a four year Engineering Doctorate in the Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation programme at University College London for the digital imaging and virtual reconstruction of the Great Parchment Book from September 2010.
  • The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust awarded a grant for conservation in 2011.
  • The Marc Fitch Foundation, the Irish Society and several of the Great Twelve City of London livery companies (Clothworkers’ Company, Drapers’ Company, Fishmongers’ Company, Goldsmiths’ Company, Ironmongers’ Company, Mercers’ Company, Merchant Taylors’ Company and Skinners’ Company) gave grants towards the transcription and textual encoding of the document and its online publication in 2012.
  • Advice and support was given by Professor James Stevens Curl, The British Library, The National Archives and The Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library.
  • Derry City Council Heritage and Museums Service, LMA and UCL also provided funding and staff time and resources.

Great Parchemtn Book public recognition and awards

The Great Parchment Book project has been nominated for a number of awards, evidence both of the importance of the document and the strength of the project.

Finally, the importance of the Great Parchment Book project has been recognised at the highest level. First Minister of Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA, wrote in 2013 that “I cannot praise the work of the LMA & UCL highly enough. In completing this mammoth project they have succeeded in opening a veritable treasure trove of information relating to a most significant period in the history of Ulster; and illustrating as never before the central role played by the London Guilds in the creation and preservation of the city of Londonderry and its environs.”

President of Ireland

Also in 2013, the Lord Lieutenant of the city of Derry, Sir Donal Keegan, was shown a folio relating to the city when he was presented with the Freedom of the City of London. During his visit to the United Kingdom in 2014, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, viewed a display of folios from the Great Parchment Book at a State Banquet in his honour at Guildhall.

You can find out more about awards and other project updates connected with the Great Parchment Book on the blog (go to the end of the page once you’ve clicked the link to read in chronological order).

Great Parchment Book retrospective: outreach

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The Great Parchment Book had been inaccessible to researchers for over 200 years owing to its fragile state. Our overriding objective with the project was to make the manuscript available again to as wide a range of people as possible, not just for the benefit of scholars and other researchers, but also for the communities to which it was most relevant. In our occasional series of posts looking back at the project, we turn our attention to engagement and outreach.

The original ambition was to produce a digitally reconstructed and fully accessible manuscript that could take pride of place in the exhibition in Derry Guildhall opening in June 2013 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the building of the city walls during Derry’s year as UK City of Culture.

Overall, the project was more successful than we could have hoped. The Great Parchment Book website went live on 30 May 2013 on the eve of the opening of the Derry Guildhall exhibition; it features a blog and an embedded video. Since its launch it has attracted 87,000 page views to date and counting, and has been a great success with a whole range of people around the world including academic researchers, local and family historians, conservators and those interested in the digital humanities.

Bernadette and Edward looking at an original folio of the Great Parchment Book

The exhibition curated by Derry City Council Heritage and Museums Service entitled Plantation: People, Process, Perspectives opened in Derry’s Guildhall in June 2013. The exhibition had nearly 270,000 visitors in its first year and has had over 864,000 visitors to the end of 2015 including school groups. Such has been its popularity that it is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Visitor feedback has been very positive, including high praise for the original archive material which for the first ten months included an original folio of the Great Parchment Book and other documents from the Irish Society archives.

Great Parchment Book Day 2014

All aspects of the project have been celebrated and presented by LMA and University College London at various conferences and events including the Archives and Records Association Conference, Brighton 2012; Digital Humanities Conference, Nebraska USA 2013; Plantation Families event, Belfast/Derry, 27-28 September 2013; Opposites Attract: Science and Archives, LMA 21 March 2014; STEM from the City careers day, City of London Guildhall 27 June 2014; Great Parchment Book Day, LMA 25 July 2014; International Council on Archives annual conference, Girona, Spain 15 October 2014; University of Melbourne, Australia 31 October 2014; ARA Conservation Training Committee and Instructors, LMA 20 November 2014; Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography’s annual conferences, London 27 November 2014 and 22 October 2015.

The project has been published in a range of publications (the UCL project page has a list of the most significant and provides access to the free software produced in the course of the project) and is featured on many websites including the European History Primary Sources (EHPS) website and that of the International Council on Archives and the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust. The Great Parchment Book project has featured in an article in the Observer, 5 July 2015 on conservation technology.

It is used in teaching history at all levels especially in Northern Ireland, as well as for teaching students of conservation and digital humanities around the world.

You can find out more about events connected with the Great Parchment Book on the blog (go to the end of the page once you’ve clicked the link to read in chronological order).

Great Parchment Book retrospective

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When we embarked on the Great Parchment Book project, we were very uncertain that we would be able to achieve our aim: a digitally reconstructed and fully accessible manuscript that could take pride of place in the exhibition in Derry Guildhall opening in June 2013 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the building of the city walls.

Great Parchment Book partners

The project was an ambitious collaborative undertaking committed to exploring new techniques and technologies; nothing else had any chance of success. Each element was a major piece of work in its own right and different partners and funders were approached for each aspect of the project.

Now with the successful outcome well-established and the project in the public eye once again, it seems a good time to reflect on the different elements which made up the project and look back on the journey.

Over the next few weeks watch out for posts about –

  • Conservation
  • Digital humanities: imaging, transcription and textual encoding
  • The history of the Plantation and synergy with other original sources
  • Public engagement and recognition
  • The legacy and the future

And to help you get your bearings here is the Great Parchment Book project timeline –

  • Initial discussions between LMA, University College London and other potential partners, March/April 2010
  • Imaging – Four year EngD at UCL, September 2010-September 2014 (first year taught so project got underway in September 2011)
  • Conservation, April-September 2012
  • Transcription and encoding, September 2012-May 2013
  • Great Parchment Book website launch, 30 May 2013
  • Derry Guildhall exhibition opened, 10 June 2013
  • Public engagement, recognition and future developments – ongoing

A contentious historical legacy

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The Great Parchment Book is a hugely important record of the Ulster Plantation of the early 17th century documenting an important and formative period of the history of Britain and Ireland. The Plantation had significant implications for the politics of these islands and left a contentious historical legacy which still resonates today.

New River Company 2

This legacy is also reflected in two documents in the latest exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives which relate to a later period – the time of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1803 French invasion seemed imminent, but there were serious problems within London too. Radicalism, industrial unrest and high food prices in the 1790s and 1800s led to plots and talk of revolution on which the government clamped down hard. The failed Irish Rebellion and French landings in Ireland of 1796-8 meant Irish labourers were seen as potential subversives within the capital.

New River Company 1

The documents date from October 1803 and comprise a letter from the Lord Mayor to the New River Company concerning a threat by Irish workers to prevent the supply of water to put out fires in the event of a French invasion and a list of names of New River Company workmen analysing nationality, address, number of years employed and whether the individual had a wife and children (LMA reference ACC/2558/MW/C/15/361/001). The threat was taken very seriously as the list was sent to the Secretary at War. The New Company was the capital’s largest water company and supplied water to the City, and East and North London.

War in London, which reveals the effects of five conflicts on Londoners and their city from the English Civil War to the Cold War, runs at LMA until 27 April 2016.

At Sixes & Sevens in LMA

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A copy of the published score of At Sixes & Sevens written by Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon and composer Mark-Anthony Turnage has today been deposited in London Metropolitan Archives and placed with the archives of the Honourable the Irish Society.

The new choral work At Sixes & Sevens was commissioned by the Irish Society and the City of London Corporation as a gift to mark their long association and the 400th anniversary of the Honourable the Irish Society, and to celebrate Derry as 2013 UK City of Culture.

During his research for the cantata, Paul Muldoon visited LMA to explore the archives of The Honourable The Irish Society, and to see the Great Parchment Book.

The world première of the cantata At Sixes & Sevens for soprano and baritone soloists, youth choir, chorus and orchestra was performed simultaneously in the two Guildhalls of London and Derry~Londonderry on 3 July 2013.

Paul Muldoon

On 17 March (St. Patrick’s Day) 2014, Paul Muldoon received the Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall in recognition of his outstanding contribution to poetry.

The score of At Sixes & Sevens is published by Boosey and Hawkes and the deposited copy is available for general access at LMA under reference CLA/049/RD/02/044.

Great Parchment Book is UK Blog Awards finalist!

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Thanks to your votes, the Great Parchment Book blog has made it to the final of the UK Blog Awards 2016. A tremendous achievement which took us all by surprise: we are absolutely delighted.

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As you can see from the shortlist for the Arts and Culture category, we are up against some stiff (and very diverse) competition, but it’s up to the judges now who have a tough job ahead of them. Judging begins on Monday 1 February and will be carried out remotely until 19 February 2016.

We are invited to connect with the judges across social media during the process. You can find out more about our judges here if you’d like to participate. You can also follow the competition on Twitter @UKBlogAwards #UKBA16.

The winner will be announced at a dazzling awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster, London on Friday 29 April 2016.

Once again, very many thanks for your support. We’ll of course let you know how we get on.

 

The pleasures and pitfalls of writing a blog

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The importance of recording the progress of the Great Parchment Book project through a blog was identified right at the start of the discussions about the project  and it has been a key means to publicise and ensure the legacy of the project.

LMA Conservation Studio Manager Caroline De Stefani and project lead Philippa Smith are delighted to have been invited to write about the pleasures and pitfalls of writing a blog for a fellow blog published by Cilip (The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals).

The recently published post includes our tips for writing a successful blog and looks at the lessons we have learned along the way.

You can read the Cilip blog post – The pleasures and pitfalls of writing a conservation project blog – here.

Last day to vote for the Great Parchment Book blog!

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There’s only a day left to vote for the Great Parchment Book Blog in the Arts and Culture category of the UK Blog Awards 2016.

If you haven’t voted already, it would be really great if you would show your support for the Great Parchment Book project by voting as this will enable the blog to progress to the final of the awards.

Voting is closes at 9pm today (Monday 25 January 2016), so please don’t delay, make sure you vote for the Great Parchment Book blog now!

ukba16 votenow

 

Only a week left to vote for the Great Parchment Book blog!

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ukba16 votenow

There’s only a week left to vote for the Great Parchment Book Blog in the Arts and Culture category of the UK Blog Awards 2016.

If you haven’t voted already, it would be really great if you would show your support for the Great Parchment Book project by voting as this will enable the blog to progress to the final of the awards.

Voting is open until Monday 25 January 2016 at 9pm, but please don’t delay, make sure you vote for the Great Parchment Book blog today!

3D imaging in cultural heritage

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Interdisciplinary research has been key to the success of the Great Parchment Book project. In the next seminar in the UCLDH seminar series, Mona Hess, Research Manager at 3DIMPact (3D Imaging, Metrology & Photogrammetry), UCL Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, offers a cross-disciplinary approach for 3D imaging metrology and 3D printing in cultural heritage, arts and humanities and for creative industries.

The potential of 3D images is increasingly recognized by heritage professionals for opening up new technological possibilities for digital documentation, analysis and research, exhibition display and education. Currently there is no comprehensive understanding of the 3D image qualities for a digital artefact from the point of view of a heritage professional.  In this talk, Mona Hess will give an overview of the qualitative research undertaken to explore heritage professionals’ requirements, and examine the outcomes of the research, including a framework to assess 3D image quality and to plan 3D imaging projects according to user requirements and sensor capabilities.

UCLDH seminarUCLDH Seminar Series: Project planning framework for 3D imaging in cultural heritage, including 3D image quality assessment

UCL Centre for Digital Humanities, London

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 from 17:30 to 18:30

To book a place go to Eventbrite.

UK Blog Awards – vote now!

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We are pleased to announce that the Great Parchment Book Blog has been nominated in the Arts and Culture category of the UK Blog Awards 2016.

The Public Vote opened today and it would be really great if you would show your support for the Great Parchment Book project and the blog by voting to enable us to progress in the awards.

Voting is open until Monday 25 January 2016 at 9pm, but don’t delay and vote for the Great Parchment Book blog now!

ukba16 votenow

Why vote for us?

The blog puts the Great Parchment Book in its rightful place at the heart of the study of the history of the 17th century Plantation of Ulster and links it directly to other sources, current academic scholarship and other research. It aims to foster interest in the cutting edge technologies which are already revolutionising access to archives and manuscripts, to inform and educate about conservation and the role of digital imaging, and to contribute to developments in the digital humanities. Primarily it makes it accessible whoever and wherever you are.

Vote for the Great Parchment Book blog now!

 

Conservation of Great Parchment Book – update on Pilgrim Trust Award

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Back in July London Metropolitan Archives was very pleased and excited to learn that Conservation of The Great Parchment Book had been shortlisted for the prestigious The Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation 2015. The award recognises excellence in conserving an individual or collection of cultural heritage objects in the UK and the project was one of only four shortlisted, so a great achievement in itself.

Along with the representatives of the other three shortlisted projects, LMA Conservation Studio Manager Caroline De Stefani attended the VIP awards ceremony on 22 October 2015 at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the heart of Westminster, London. She was accompanied by Graham Packham, Deputy Chairman of the Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee of the City of London Corporation.

We were competing with very high profile projects and unfortunately we did not win. Still, it was a great achievement to have been shortlisted and we are so proud of the Great Parchment Book project. Our congratulations go both to Caroline and to Rachael Smither who worked as project conservator, for their achievement.

Thanks also to all those who have worked with us on the project, but especially Dr Tim Weyrich from our UCL partners who supported us at the judging panel.

The Icon Conservation Awards recognise the highest standards of conservation, research and collections care within the UK art and heritage sectors. More information about the ICON Conservation Awards is available on the ICON Conservation Awards website.

 

ICON awards Pilgrim Trust

Multispectral imaging of parchment documents and much more

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LMA is pleased to be working with UCL on research into the multispectral imaging of archival documents. Find out more here about recent research on degraded historical texts written on parchment, and events and discussions about this hot topic.

Multispectral imaging of degraded historical texts written on parchment

LMA is pleased to have contributed the raw material which allowed our partners at University College London to carry out research on the multispectral imaging of degraded historical texts written on parchment. They chose to focus on parchment documents for their study, given that parchment remains the primary medium of large quantities of culturally important documents in archives, museums, libraries, and private collections.

Multispectral imaging is an advanced digitisation method for acquiring image data over a series of wavelengths across the light spectrum. Combined with image processing, it has become a valuable tool for the enhancement and recovery of information contained within culturally important documents, providing a means, in some cases, to recover lost text, or examine other features no longer detectable by the human eye. The aim of the research was evaluate this technique in a structured fashion, to provide recommendations on how best to capture and process images when working with damaged and abraded textual material.

“The value of critical destruction: Evaluating multispectral image processing methods for the analysis of primary historical texts” by Alejandro Giacometti, Alberto Campagnolo, Lindsay MacDonald, Simon Mahony, Stuart Robson, Tim Weyrich, Melissa Terras, Adam Gibson was published in the online journal Digital Scholarship in the Humanities by Oxford University Press on behalf of European Association for Digital Humanities on 7 October 2015.

More than the eye can see: Digital Humanities spectral imaging

Effective spectral imaging requires not just collection of quality images, but the ability to manage and exploit large amounts of integrated data and metadata for cultural heritage studies. Mike Toth, Honorary Research Associate at UCL, who is supporting the integration of spectral imaging systems into digital humanities studies and institutions, is speaking about this at a seminar “More than the eye can see: Digital Humanities spectral imaging” at UCL on 28 October 2015 5.30-6.30pm.

All welcome and there will be drinks and discussion after the talk, but please note that registration is required. More information is available here.

Sightlines

Mike Toth was also speaking in the United States at Sightlines, a panel discussion and technology petting zoo with light-based technologies, presented by the Digital Futures Consortium of Harvard University on 14 October 2015. This event brought together experts and thinkers from multiple disciplines to discuss 2D, 3D, and multispectral imaging for cultural heritage collections and is one of a three part series. The presentations will be published on the Sightlines website in due course.

Great Parchment Book website hits 80,000 page views

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Last week the Great Parchment Book website passed another landmark with more than 80,000 page views since it was launched on 30 May 2013.

In addition, the Derry Guildhall exhibition – Plantation: Process, people, perspectives – which displayed an original folio of the Great Parchment Book for the first 10 months, has had 725,261 visitors from its opening in June 2013 to date, including 203,348 so far this year.

The exhibition provides an interactive insight into the decisions and events of early 17th century, showcasing original maps, drawings and museum objects on loan from other institutions and using personalities to explore that period of history to provide an understanding of the conflicts of the past. The exhibition is open in the Guildhall daily from 10am-5.30pm including Saturdays and Sunday. Entrance to the Guildhall building and exhibition is free of charge.

We are really pleased that the Great Parchment Book has been seen by so many both as an original folio in Derry, and remotely through the website, and that the story of the Plantation is continuing to be appreciated by visitors to the exhibition.

Great Parchment Book shortlisted for prestigious conservation award

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It is with great pleasure we announce that Conservation of The Great Parchment Book has been shortlisted for The Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation 2015. The award recognises excellence in conserving an individual or collection of cultural heritage objects in the UK.

Pilgrim Trust

Four shortlisted projects, including the Great Parchment Book, are now in with a chance to win a coveted prize fund, trophy and attend the VIP awards ceremony in October at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The Icon Conservation Awards recognise the highest standards of conservation, research and collections care within the UK art and heritage sectors. The Great Parchment Book project is in good company as some of the highest-profile conservation projects in the world have been short listed.

Icon Chief Executive Alison Richmond said “The screening panels had a hugely difficult task putting the shortlists together from a strong group of applications but we have a final list that reflects the diversity of the many wonderful conservation projects being undertaken by skilled professional conservators and dedicated volunteers throughout the UK.”

ICON awardsMore information about the ICON Conservation Awards is available on the ICON Conservation Awards website. You can keep up to date with news on Twitter using the hashtag #IconAwards15.

Launch of the annual Susan Hockey Lecture in Digital Humanities

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To celebrate its 5th birthday, the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities has launched an annual invited series of lectures in the digital humanities where esteemed academics can have a public platform to speak about their work.

The series is named after Professor Susan Hockey, the Emeritus Professor of Library and Information Studies at UCL. To mark #UCLDH5, Susan Hockey will be giving the first inaugural lecture of the annual Susan Hockey Lecture in Digital Humanities.

The lecture, Digital Humanities: Perspectives on Past, Present and Future, will take place on Wednesday 27 May 2015, at 6pm (exactly five years after UCLDH was formally launched) in the Sir Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre, Roberts Building, UCL.

Everyone is welcome, but spaces are limited so please register to attend.

Beyond the Digital Humanities event

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Digital humanities as an academic subject is becoming increasingly popular and influential, but its relationship to orthodox academic disciplines and creative practice remains complex and unclear. And with commentators arguing that this is the ‘post-digital era’, this timely event at the School of Advanced Study, University of London will review and build on the work of NeDiMAH (Network for Digital Methods in the Arts and Humanities) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Presenters and panellists come from a range of international higher education institutions and research organisations who will also look at the relationship between policy, research and practice, examining the potential contribution to challenges such as creative cities, cultural heritage, big data and the relationship to new forms of science.

Beyond the Digital Humanities
School of Advanced Study, University of London
Tuesday, 5 May 2015 from 09:30 to 17:30

Register for the free, but ticketed event on 5 May here.

Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities 2015

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The 2015 Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities  conference will look at the varied and innovative ways in which archives, museums, libraries and academia can engage with audiences in the digital age.

The main conference themes will include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The ways and means of digitally engaging with audiences
  • Funding for digital collaboration
  • The interrelation of the virtual and physical visitor
  • The creation of digital spaces for discourse, dissemination and delivery
  • Digital analytics and impact: measuring digital audiences to better understand their needs and behaviour, and to persuade decision-makers to commit resource.

When: 12 -14 October 2015

Where: The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ

DCDC 2015 is organised by Research Libraries UK and The National Archives.

More information, including a call for papers and workshops, is available here.

Plantation exhibition news

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A rare book, ‘Pacata Hibernia, Ireland Appeased and Reduced Or, An Historie of the Late Warres of Ireland’, is to go on display as part of the Guildhall Plantation Exhibition, from April 2015.

The Plantation Exhibition, currently located within Derry Guildhall, allows for changing exhibits and Derry City Council’s Museum and Visitor Services is delighted be able to showcase this hugely interesting rare book to a wide audience.

Bernadette Walsh, archivist, explains: “This publication is extremely rare and is illustrated with eighteen engravings of seventeenth century Ireland, detailing the final years of the Elizabethan Wars in Ireland and contains a long list of the Irish Nobility who fled to Spain in 1607, after the defeat of the Earls in 1601. The publication contains the background history to the Flight of the Earls, and the inevitable lead up to the Ulster Plantation and will be a welcome addition to the hugely successful Plantation exhibition, that has been visited by thousands of people since its installment as part of a multi-million pound regeneration of the Guildhall. ”

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‘Pacata Hibernia’ was originally published in London in 1633 for Robert Milbourne. It is believed to be almost entirely composed by Lieutenant Thomas Stafford, who served under Sir George Carew. The very detailed maps and plans show the battle layout, military formation, horsemanship and fortifications of the times. These items will add interest to the exhibition showing further images of cartography which played a strong role in developments of the seventeenth century.

“It is important the archive collection reflects this period of history; original artefacts and archives are considerably lacking not only in our own collections, but also within collections across the island. This rare item was purchased and will now form part of our successful Plantation exhibition at the Guildhall.”

SEAHA announces first international conference on heritage science

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SEAHA have announced the first international conference on heritage science research, innovation and best practice in the interpretation, conservation and management of cultural heritage of which the Great Parchment Book project is a prime example.

The conference at University College London will embrace the themes of materials, environmental and digital research and will feature presentations focusing on collaborative work between academia, heritage institutions and industry. A call for submissions is currently underway.

1st International Conference on Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA), University College London, 14-15 July 2015

The ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA) is an 8-year initiative (2014-2022) to establish an infrastructure to meet challenges set by the heritage sector, industry and government. SEAHA was created by UCL, University of Oxford and University of Brighton, in collaboration with heritage, scientific, engineering and industrial partners. SEAHA will provide support for interdisciplinary students working on projects in collaboration with those partners.

A look at the future of digitisation

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The Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography for cultural heritage imaging professionals in the UK and Ireland, held its 2014 annual conference on 27 November at the Wellcome Trust in London. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Best practice?’ and focussed on managing change in a world where technology is continually improving digital photography.

The Keynote speaker was Cecile van der Harten, Head of the Imaging Department at the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands whose talk was entitled ‘2+3D Photography – practice and prophecies – A look at the future of digitisation’.

She was followed by wide range of other speakers including Dr Tim Weyrich of University College London, who showcased the work of UCL including the Great Parchment Book project.

Abstracts of the all the talks can be found here and the view from the floor can be explored via the Twitter hashtag #ahfap14.

Cecile also looked forward to an international conference ‘2+3D Photography – Practice and Prophecies’ at the Rijksmuseum, 15–16 April 2015. As well as promoting the adoption of existing standardized workflows and exploring new digital challenges, the conference will also look at how new techniques can be incoporated into international standards of practice. More information is available here.

Great Parchment Book in Spain

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London Metropolitan Archives took the Great Parchment Book project to Spain to the International Council on Archives annual conference in Girona which took place from 11 to 15 October 2014. The conference title was Arxius i Indústries Culturals (Archives and Cultural Industries).

 Girona

LMA’s Laurence Ward gave a talk entitled ‘Archives Services in a Digital World’ in which he explored the ways LMA have used (and plan to use) partnerships and digital processes to improve access to collections. He featured the Great Parchment Book project as a highly specialised strand and an example of a strong partnership between the archives sector and the academic community. There were around 800 people in the audience, mostly archivists, from many different countries.

The Great Parchment Book project already features on the ICA website.

Great Parchment Book website viewed more than 65,000 times

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This week the Great Parchment Book website passed another landmark with more than 65,000 page views since it was launched on 30 May 2013.

In addition, the Derry Guildhall exhibition – Plantation: Process, people, perspectives – which displayed an original folio of the Great Parchment Book for the first 10 months, has had 525,146 visitors from its opening in June 2013 until the end of October 2014. A new object from the Hunt Museum Limerick went on display recently  for a six month loan – a rather beautiful seal in gold with emeralds, diamonds and rubies, regarded as the personal seal of King Charles I.  It is engraved with the letters CR (Carolus Rex) flanking a royal crown, and dates from the early 17th century.

Charles I seal

We are really pleased that the Great Parchment Book has been seen and appreciated by so many both as an original folio in Derry, and remotely through the website.

 

 

 

Great Parchment Book in Australia

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Professor Melissa Terras, Director of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and Great Parchment Book project partner has been visiting Australia and was one of the featured speakers at eResearch Australasia 2014. She also gave a talk about the Great Parchment Book project at The University of Melbourne on 31 October.

Her lecture at eResearch Australasia 2014 – entitled Across the Humanities and Science Divide: Advanced Digital Projects in Cultural Heritage – examined the ever increasing need for the development and appropriation of advanced computational methods within the Humanities and Cultural Heritage. Although the Arts, Humanities and Heritage sectors have often been early adopters of available computational technology, the use of such methods to answer novel research questions often depends on close relationships with those in the computational sciences to ensure that technologies can be applied with enough specificity to be useful to a certain case or domain. How can we best build such interdisciplinary research projects to ensure success? How can the field commonly called Digital Humanities help us to explore and push against disciplinary boundaries?

In the lecture, Professor Terras demonstrated some of the leading-edge work that has been carried out at UCL Centre for Digital Humanities and its related partner institutions including the Great Parchment Book project. She used specific case studies to illustrate the benefits, and common pitfalls, encountered, whilst working in large scale, interdisciplinary teams, and explore how a centre such as UCL Centre for Digital Humanities could work as a catalyst within a research institution to encourage people to undertake such activities. She also addressed the issue of how universities and external partners support such resource intensive experimentation.

Professor Terras’s talk at Melbourne University looked at issues involving using advanced imaging methods within cultural heritage, particularly regarding the relationship the resulting model has to the primary historical text. Using the Great Parchment Book as a focus, she asked how we can best integrate multi-modal imaging into our humanities research practices? What issues are there for both research and practice? More details are available here.

Professor Terras is also speaking at the University of Western Australia in Sydney at a Digital Life Seminar.

More images from the Great Parchment Book Day

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The day started with presentations about the context of the Great Parchment Book project, and the three key elements – conservation, transcription and textual encoding, and digital imaging :

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During the afternoon there were opportunities to see a range of damaged documents and discuss digital approaches to making them accessible:

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And see demonstrations of the digital flattening software and even try it out for yourself:

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The day ended with a Panel session (left to right: Professor Melissa Terras, UCL – Chair, David Howell, Bodleian Library, Emma Stewart, LMA, and Dr Tim Weyrich, UCL):

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Great Parchment Book Day

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Thank you to everyone who made Great Parchment Book day on Friday (25 July) such a great success and a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking event. We will be posting more images soon, but in the meantime you can see some images and comment on Twitter at #greatparchmentbook.

Original folios from the Great Parchment Book were also displayed at the City of London Corporation Court of Common Council on Thursday 24 July alongside Hooke’s Diary which is also held by LMA. Both documents were there as award winners, the Great Parchment Book project having received a 2014 European Succeed Award, and the Hooke Diary having been added to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register in June.

 

Great Parchment Book does STEM

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Howard Benge, Development Officer at LMA, reports that the STEM from the City careers day at Guildhall in the City of London on Friday 27 June was a great success. The event was attended by over 500 Year 9 students from neighbouring London boroughs many of whom were engaged and enthusiastic about the Great Parchment Book digitisation, with reactions like “Whoah” when they saw the flattening. They were also interested in the conservation aspects of the project. (By the way STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

Howard Benge on the LMA stall

Howard Benge on the LMA stall

The Lord Mayor, Fiona Woolf, visited all the stands, and Deputy Catherine McGuiness and Culture, Heritage and Libraries Director David Pearson came over to chat too.

There was a lot of space to work with, the IT equipment worked and the day was well organised (by The Science Council).

Symeon Ververidis on the LMA stall

Symeon Ververidis on the LMA stall

Howard was supported by LMA staff Symeon Ververidis, Caroline De Stefani and Steven Crow, and UCL intern Helen Graham-Matheson.

Last, but not least, thank you to Deputy Catherine McGuiness for recommending us to the event.

Here is a you tube clip produced by the City of London which gives something of the flavour of the day. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy75wxoCsKY

Programme announced for Great Parchment Book Day

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LMA is holding a Great Parchment Book Day at LMA on Friday 25 July 2014. The morning will focus on the Great Parchment Book story; the afternoon will look to the future and explore accessing historical documents through innovative technologies.

PROGRAMME

MORNING: CONTEXT

10.00am Registration, coffee and housekeeping

10.15am Welcome (Deputy Catherine McGuinness)

10.20am Introduction to LMA, collections overview, where the Great Parchment Book sits within those collections, why it became the focus for the project and why it mattered (Philippa Smith)

11.00am  TEA/COFFEE

11.15pm Accessing History through Innovative Technologies:
The Great Parchment Book Project Story
Conservation (Dr Caroline De Stefani)
Transcription/textual encoding (Dr Patricia Stewart)
Digital flattening (Kazim Pal)
Q&A

13.00pm LUNCHTIME

AFTERNOON: EXPLORING NEW TECHNOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS IN CREATING ACCESS TO HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS

14.00pm Welcome and introduction – impact, outcomes and wider context (Dr Tim Weyrich)

14.30pm Display of damaged original materials including Great Parchment Book and LMA Rogues Gallery; demonstration of digital flattening software; opportunity to discuss further possible applications of flattening software and other techniques being researched on LMA material; demonstration of textual encoding (Dr Caroline De Stefani, Marie Poirot, Dr Tim Weyrich, Kazim Pal, Dr Helen Graham-Matheson, Dr Patricia Stewart)

15.15pm TEA/COFFEE

15.30pm HISTORY FUTURES PANEL (Professor Melissa Terras – UCL, Chair, Dr Tim Weyrich – UCL, Emma Stewart – LMA, David Howell – Bodleian Library)
 
How new technologies can and may impact on challenging materials, access and availability, preservation issues – how can we take projects forward? HLF partner bid proposal, Q&A and expressions of interest

16.30pm  CLOSE

The event is already full, but if you would like to be added to the waiting list, please go to http://the-great-parchment-book.eventbrite.co.uk.

President of Ireland views Great Parchment Book

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 At a recent Banquet in honour of the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, at Guildhall on 9 April 2014, the President viewed a display of folios from the Great Parchment Book. 

President of Ireland

On the President’s right is the Governor of the Irish Society, Simon D’Olier Duckworth, DL, CC and on his left is the President’s wife. On the left hand of the President’s wife is the Lord Mayor’s Consort. The Lord Mayor is partially obscured behind the President. In the second case is the Irish Society Charter of 1667.

 

 

 

 

Great Parchment Book website viewed more than 50,000 times

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This week the Great Parchment Book website passed the landmark of 50,000 page views since it was launched on 30 May 2013.

In addition, the Derry Guildhall exhibition – Plantation: Process, people, perspectives – which until recently displayed an original folio of the Great Parchment Book, has had 323,033 visitors from its opening in June 2013 until the end of March 2014.

We are really pleased that the Great Parchment Book has been seen and appreciated by so many both as an original folio in Derry, and remotely through the website. There will be a further chance to see the real thing at the Great Parchment Book Day at LMA on 25 July 2014 so book your place now at http://the-great-parchment-book.eventbrite.co.uk.

Booking opens for Great Parchment Book Day on 25 July 2014

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LMA is holding a FREE Great Parchment Book Day on Friday 25 July 2014. The morning will focus on the Great Parchment Book story; the afternoon will look to the future and explore accessing historical documents through innovative technologies. A more detailed programme will be posted as soon as it is available.

In the meantime, you can book your place at http://the-great-parchment-book.eventbrite.co.uk.

GREAT PARCHMENT BOOK DAY

Friday 25 July 2014

London Metropolitan Archives

9.30 am – 4.30 pm

FREE, booking is essential; tea and coffee available, but bring a picnic for lunch.

Great Parchment Book project receives Succeed Award Commendation of Merit

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LMA and UCL are pleased to announce that the Great Parchment Book project has received a European Succeed Award Commendation of Merit. The winners were selected from 19 nominations world-wide and, due to the high quality of the project, the Board decided to distinguish it with one of two Commendations of Merit.

Succeed is funded by the European Union. It promotes the take up and validation of research results in mass digitisation, with a focus on textual content.

You can find further information about the awards by clicking on  http://succeed-project.eu/succeed-awards and http://succeed-project.eu/succeed-awards/awards-2014.

The project represents a major partnership of international significance between a number of institutions. LMA and UCL gratefully acknowledge the support of the following:

Clothworkers’ Company; Derry City Council Heritage and Museums Service; Drapers’ Company;  ETH Zurich; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Fishmongers’ Company; Goldsmiths’ Company; The Honourable The Irish Society; Ironmongers’ Company; Marc Fitch Fund; Mercers’ Company; Merchant Taylors’ Company; National Manuscripts Conservation Trust; Skinners’ Company; The British Library; The National Archives; The Trustees of Lambeth Palace Library.

Save the date!

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Planning is underway for a Great Parchment Book Day at London Metropolitan Archives on Friday 25 July 2014. The morning will focus on the Great Parchment Book story; the afternoon will look to the future and explore accessing historical documents through innovative technologies.

Save the date now! A more detailed programme and details on how to book will be posted as soon as they are available.

Science in Archives conference tomorrow!

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There is still time to book for the Opposites Attract: Science in Archives conference tomorrow at London Metropolitan Archives from 10am to 4pm.

Scientific thinking is distilled, recorded and kept in many archive collections. This conference will look at science found in archives and science collections. The programme is given below.

Opposites Attract: Science in Archives.

Friday 21 March 2014

London Metropolitan Archives

10 am – 4 pm

£10, booking is essential; bring a picnic.

10.20 am Anita Hollier from the CERN Archive, “CERN – accelerating science for 60 years.” 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of CERN and Anita will be looking at the development, contents and activities of the archive and some of the challenges they face.

11.30 am Felicity Henderson, University of Exeter, “Science and the City: Robert Hooke’s life in the City of London”.

1.30 pm Caroline de Stefani, LMA’s Conservation Studio Manager,  the Great Parchment Book project.

2 pm Jacqueline Cahif and Catherine Parker, the Bodleian Library, “Saving Oxford Medicine: an overview and a case study of a geneticist’s archive”.

3.10 pm Anne Barrett, Imperial College London, “Big Data – Scientists’ catalogues online.” An investigation of global linked data catalogues and bibliographical information in the history of science.