Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Thanksgiving Miracle

Amazing, amazing news: All of the images--all of the data--in the British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts is now available in the public domain for non-commercial use. Thank you, thank you! Now we need the other great libraries and museums to put their manuscript images and meta-data in the public domain. One can only imagine that other institutions will be reviewing their policies in light of this game-changing development. 

Will Noel, former manuscripts curator at The Walters Museum and newly-appointed Director of Special Collections Center and SIMS at Penn, has spoken eloquently and persuasively about the benefits of making this data freely available. Digital humanities has enhanced medieval studies enormously. Making the PL and MGH searchable on-line has the potential to rejuvenate the history of ideas, and making manuscript images usable by many people promotes collaboration and scholarship and increases the net amount of delight and beauty in the world. Not bad. 

And, in honor of the feast of Thanksgiving, here's another feast:

The Meeting Of Sir Lancelot And Queen Guinevere, In 'The Romance Of Lancelot Du Lac''

The meeting of Lancelot and Guinevere, in Lancelot do lac, Royal MS 20 D.iv. British Library.


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