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Manuscripts Portal. Development of a central online portal for data and images on book manuscripts

The present application aims at the technical development of a new national portal for medieval and modern manuscript codices. It will be tailored to the needs of both scholarly communities, by offering an up-to-date research tool, and cultural heritage institutions interested in a material-specific module integrated into the librarian and scholarly information infrastructure. Accordingly, the software development will take place in a continuous exchange of information with the communities.

The new portal will serve as the central record for manuscript descriptions and digitized images. A new data model centered on the entity "Cultural Object" will contribute to organizing relevant pieces of information according to professional standards. This entity will also serve as a central anchor for further cross-linking in the Semantic Web. The integration of authority data and of both descriptive data and digital images in international standard formats will make the portal a central component for digital information on cultural objects in German heritage institutions.

The demands of the scholarly communitites will be met on several levels. The portal will offer an up-to-date web-based retrieval of information on manuscript materials, a user-friendly presentation of images and text according to the interoperable IIIF-standard, a flexible cataloguing tool as well as the integration of user-induced data via web-based annotation tools, ranging from micro-publications to full scholarly descriptions in the DFG standard format.

In addition to the development of a new technical infrastructure, the project will include as a second core element the integration, revision and enrichment of the vast amount of descriptive information contained in Manuscripta Mediaevalia. Full texts of manuscript descriptions will be generated and combined with the corresponding digital index entries contained in Manuscripta Medieavalia; these will be linked to authority data on a consistent level throughout the database. This improvement, together with modern search engine technology and faceted browsing, will simplify and improve navigation and the reliable retrieval of information.

The following institutions will be partners in this project: the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin-Preußischer Kulturbesitz, the Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig, the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. This in-house development of open source applications will end the dependency on external vendors and proprietary software. Responsibilities are clearly defined among the project partners; the IT development will be based on a modular architecture of micro- services. Open interfaces will guarantee optimal connectivity. Agile software development will guarantee flexible developments with short cycles of implementation and the continuous integration of feedback by the different user communities.

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