Monday, 11 March 2013

Our first project: the Douglas Dunn archive

Our first project was to digitise some material from Special Collections' Douglas Dunn archive.  This was suggested to us by an academic in the School of English who was submitting a bid for funding for a major project based on Dunn's work, concentrating on the therapeutic properties of poetry.  A well known Scottish poet, Dunn is an emeritus professor of the School, and the Library bought his extensive manuscript archive in 2010.  It was agreed that digitising a key item in the first instance would be a good way to publicise the archive, and would be helpful to the funding bid in confirming the Library's existing capability in this area. The item chosen was a Red Notebook which Dunn had used in the early 1980s to draft poems, some of which later appeared in his published collections St Kilda's Parliament (1981) Elegies (1985).

Douglas Dunn Red Notebook ms38640/2/41
Work began in December 2012, and after some experimentation with page size and image resolution, we successfully uploaded all 181 pages of Dunn's Red Notebook into Islandora's turn-the-page book viewer, and were very pleased with the result.  Scanning was done by Special Collections staff on their Bookeye scanners, high-resolution TIFF images placed on their FTP site to be downloaded by me and then ingested into the Islandora software.

Basic information about the Notebook is given on this "front-page" to the document, along with links to its record in the Online Manuscripts Catalogue and to other relevant material.  So far feedback from users has been good, with the only problem being that Internet Explorer seems to dislike the turn-the-page function and insists on opening the book backwards!  If anyone has any ideas on how to solve this problem we'd be glad to hear from you!  All the other browsers we've checked are fine.