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You are here: Home / Events / Talk : Digitizing The Arabic Manuscripts at the Welcome Library

Talk : Digitizing The Arabic Manuscripts at the Welcome Library

The Middleton Lecture given on behalf of the Designer Bookbinders by Gillian Boal at the St Bride Foundation, London.
What History, Research, Writing systems
When Mar 03, 2015 from 07:00 PM to 09:00 PM

The Bridewell Hall 
St Bride Foundation
14 Bride Lane
London EC4Y 8EQ

Tickets + further info here.

The Wellcome Library houses a thousand Arabic manuscripts on medical and scientific subjects spanning eight hundred years. They are of major importance for the history of Islamic medicine and science. To allow scholars the widest access to the collection, a large scale digitization programme was recently undertaken. Prior to starting image capture, however, it was necessary to perform an accurate survey in order that the manuscripts could be assessed for safe handling during the process of digitization. A customized tool was developed specifically for this purpose, using the St Catherine’s Project database at Camberwell College. In her talk, Gillian will give an illustrated overview of the project. She will address such concerns as handling, safe openability and legibility of text before digitization, explain the innovative cataloguing tool developed for the project, and reflect on how this unique approach has resulted in a level of material description and imaging specifically appropriate to remote access.

Gillian Boal studied bookbinding at Camberwell College in the 1970s and worked for Sydney Cockerell and Gray’s bindery in Cambridge, before moving to the United States to work at the North East Document Center. From 1988-2009 she was head of conservation at the University of California, Berkeley, looking after both circulating and special collections in a library with fourteen million volumes. For two years she taught the Book Arts Program at Mills College in Oakland, and has been a lecturer, presenter and teacher at institutions and conferences, including Paper and Book Intensive, the American Institute for Conservation, the Guild of Bookworkers, the San Francisco Center for the Book and many others. In 1998 she was part of a team of conservators working at St Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai. Since 2009 she has been the Head of the Conservation and Collection Care Team in the Library at the Wellcome Trust in London, where, in addition to running a busy department, she has managed the conservation aspect of several Digitization projects.

The Middleton lecture is given in memory of the late Dora Middleton, Bernard’s wife.

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