Guidelines for New Participants

The following is intended only as a suggested series of steps and considerations; interested institutions are encouraged to talk with the DS Executive Director.

Read about the Digital Scriptorium: Mission, Governance, and Finances.

  1. Count the number of codices, and number of fragments (multiply x 6 for the one; x 2 for the other); if the collection is heavily illustrated, estimate upwards on the number of images per codex (e.g. a book of hours may contain fifteen or sixteen miniatures).

  2. Bear in mind that photography is ultimately the least expensive part of the project; staffing is more expensive, and if a manuscript needs to be brought out again in a few years for additional photography, consequent wear on the material becomes irreparably expensive.

  3. Is legacy data available and acceptable for the descriptions?

  4. What is the format of legacy data? MARC records?

  5. Remember that the most simple words in a manuscript description are the most difficult to come by (and thus demand the most expertise in staff, thus the most expensive level of staff): where was the manuscript copied? when was it copied?

  6. Does your institution have clear policies regarding ownership of the descriptions of the manuscripts? There is some likelihood that DS may institute special checking of the manuscripts flagged as "Dated" (since they are so important to the progress of the field); be sure to bring this issue to the forefront if you sense it may be problematic.

  7. Work flow almost certainly will call for data input before photography (so that the photographic logs can be charted against the descriptions); will it be possible to accumulate sufficient input of data before photography starts?

  8. It would be wise to complete a practice run of, e.g., five or ten manuscripts, for the data inputting and for the imaging. The results would give information on procedures for tracking the movement of the manuscripts; they would begin to suggest the time involved; they would offer an immediate and visual quality control.

  9. Is it possible to estimate how long it would take your institution to complete its data input and imaging? Does this length of time fit with your institution's overall planning?

  10. Given the quantity of detail-oriented work in a project such as this, you may prefer to look for a staff member with high levels of attention to precision; a certain number of mistakes is inevitable, but it's good if the person involved will notice a problem and correct it before it balloons.

  11. Think concretely of what your obligations to the group will be (e.g. delivery of materials according to an agreed-upon schedule), but also about your expectations from DS; if anything is uncertain in either area, bring it up for discussion. In particular, if your institution's material will require special handling in any way, all involved should be made aware of it.

  12. Although one would hope that DS participants would not find reason to want to leave the program, it is still salutary to ask oneself the question: what would be the circumstances whereby your institution would change its mind about participation? Please discuss doubts of any sort.
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