Parker on the Web 2.1 Launches
When Parker on the Web 2.0 launched in 2018, it was the culmination of a long-term development plan to host an international collaborative project on sustainable infrastructure at no cost to the user. The engineering effort was immense, and that effort paid off: we saw a nearly 10-fold increase in visitors to the site, and the incorporation of IIIF functionality to the Parker manuscript content allowed the digital objects to be used in a myriad of new projects, from AI-driven initiatives like handwritten text recognition and feature recognition, to crowdsourcing transcription projects, and aggregation and reuse across multiple platforms. While Parker 2.0 was a technical success, the intellectual content of the site - the painstakingly-crafted descriptive metadata produced in the late 2000s that drove Parker on the Web 1.0 - was not fully added to the new platform. Thanks to the encouragement of dedicated Parker on the Web users and scholars, we were able to prioritize a large-scale reassessment of the project descriptive metadata, identify gaps, and restore the manuscript descriptions to their full glory - improving the discovery functionality for the site and providing users with rich descriptions for every manuscript in the collection. Parker on the Web 2.1, released on March 3, 2021, finally completes the migration of the project from a stand-alone site built on bespoke software and using a customized and unique metadata structure to a sustainable and extensible collaboration built on open source software and common metadata standards.
What's New in 2.1?
- Mirador 3 is now the default viewer, providing an improved user experience when viewing and manipulating the manuscript images and introducing the ability to download images and compare images from one or more manuscripts available through IIIF.
- New tutorial videos describe how to use the various features of Mirador 3 in Parker on the Web
- The descriptive metadata for each manuscript has been significantly enhanced. The legacy TEI XML files were transformed into MODS, adding to the subset of fields that were used in Parker 2.0 information about provenance, research, additional information, and item level information. Thousands of lines of description have been added across the collection, providing a rich search environment for scholars and casual users alike.
- Downloadable PDFs of the Parker 1.0 descriptions, with information added by the project team in the late 2000s, have been added to each manuscript record. Users can now compare the original James record for each manuscript with the expanded description provided by the Parker on the Web team.
- The IIIF manifests were updated to include revised attribution language and summary descriptions of every manuscript so that no matter what viewing environment the materials are used in, basic curated information from the project can be found with them
- Page-level IIIF annotations, derived from the James catalog and partially available in Parker 2.0, are now complete in Parker 2.1 and can be viewed in the Mirador sidebar rather than as hovering overlays on the image as in Parker 2.0
In the process of preparing this update, we were able to add in three manuscripts that had been lacking in previous releases of Parker on the Web:
- Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 169: Tables and Calendars etc (16th c.)
- Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 557: Old English Fragments of the Legend of the Cross (11th c.)
- Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 583: Matthew Parker, Autobiographical Notes (16th c.)
Missing images were supplied for folios 162v, 163v, 164v, 165v, 166v, 167v, and 168v of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 053: The Peterborough Psalter and Bestiary
Parker 2.1 is the first major release of Parker on the Web that has not required a full development team - one of the many benefits of hosting the project on a shared digital library platform. Nonetheless, many thanks to the team that helped to produce this release, listed below.
Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
- Philippa Hoskin
- Alexander Devine
- Olivia Staciwa
- Chris Beer
- Jack Reed
- Camille Villa
- Gabrielle Karampelas
- Benjamin Albritton