Higgins, Richard: Cataloguing medieval charters: a repository perspective

Posted by AA in Paper, Proposals, Systems |

As custodians of a broad range of collections we require a system that enables cataloguing and presentation of related digital material that is flexible enough to cope with all materials. We have been using EAD as a data storage format since 1996, and in combination with our Fedora-Commons digital repository we have a powerful, adaptable tool. It is imperative that one system includes all our collections, so that enhancements and migrations apply to the whole and do not break or drop the more complex data. EAD has proven hugely adaptable and scalable, ranging from brief description of collections to the calendaring of individual charters. As one of hundreds of collections in our care, the archive of Durham Priory and Cathedral includes thousands of charters, as well as cartularies and a full range of medieval documents. EAD has been able to accommodate descriptions of all of these – even 3,000 seals. The digital repository also stores images and transcripts of the documents. It enables the association of description and image using index terms, hyperlinks, and RDF, producing a more permanent linking between data within the catalogue, and offering researchers the ability to make reliable citations of online representations of individual documents. This enables investigation of not just additional versions of the charter, but also other documents witnessed by the same parties and other common features. The proposed session would be a demonstration of the website, concentrating on how it presents individual charters in the context of the larger archive.

Dr Richard Higgins
Durham University Library, Archives & Special Collections
eMail: r.i.higgins@durham.ac.uk

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