5 years ago, on the 23rd October 2017, after many months of planning and construction work, the Digital Humanities Lab officially opened. Since then we’ve supported teaching and research through a pandemic, collaborated with academics and cultural heritage institutions on research projects, created many exciting digital resources and websites, worked with 28 undergraduate interns, digitised 100s of cassettes to preserve recordings for future use, worked with Exeter City FC, developed websites and databases for research projects, taken 1000s of high quality photographs of rare books and manuscripts including the Exeter Book and the University of Exeter archive, supported podcast and film recordings, created RTI and 3D printed models for archaeology and a whole lot more.
To celebrate our 5th birthday we will be running open day events throughout the term – keep an eye on our upcoming events or twitter to join us!
In the meantime, lets look back to where the lab began!
In the summer of 2016, this corner of the Queens building featured an archaeology equipment store, a bike rack and some very exciting recycling bins. And then the diggers showed up…
We work on lots of exciting digitisation work in the Digital Humanities Lab, and our wonderful undergraduate interns have put together a video to give you a snapshot of just some of the materials we have made digitally available.
But how do we make sure that the resources we create will be usable in 5, 10 or even 100 years time? Digital content can be extremely ephemeral, and is vulnerable to being irreplaceably lost if we’re not careful – just think of how many floppy disks and CDs most of us have that are no longer supported by our current computer. So while we’re creating new content through digitisation in the lab, we’re also working hard with colleagues around the University to plan for the longer-term future of the materials we create, as well as supporting the preservation of digital resources in the University collections.
A lot of digital preservation goes on behind the scenes, and isn’t always as obvious as some of the other work we do, so World Digitisation Day, run by the Digital Preservation Coalition is a great opportunity to stop and celebrate what we do as well as see how much else is going on around the world!
The new online platform for the Exeter book is now live, making one of the oldest surviving volumes of English literature in the world fully accessible to the public for the first time.
The new platform has already been generating lots of interest, especially through Exeter’s role as a UNESCO city of literature, and since this kind of digitisation might be new to many of those interested, we thought we’d share a behind the scenes tour of what goes into creating the high definition images that make it possible to explore the tiny details of a 1,000-year-old manuscript on your phone.
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