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Better Access to Manuscripts and Browsing of Images

Objective

The aim of this project is the design, prototyping and production of advanced tools for interfacing to databases of reproductions of ancient manuscripts. The base material to be dealt with in the project is widely available and will soon have to undergo some treatment for conversion into more durable forms. This gives an excellent opportunity for the development of more subtle techniques of handling ancient manuscripts, exploiting the full potential of new electronic media.

The major steps to be taken are the following:

Selection of the most appropriate technology for scanning large quantities of microfilmed images;
Definition of textual components to be linked to images for easy on-line retrieval;
Development of image processing techniques for pattern analysis and element recognition;
Development of advanced annotation techniques, linking textual elements to bitmap areas;
Impact and expected results:

The BAMBI "philological workstation" will enhance the accessibility of ancient manuscripts and provide new ways of working with them.

BAMBI will thereby give rise to new library services.

Important results may in particular be expected in the following areas: preservation of library holdings in surrogate form; analysis, transcription and annotation of manuscripts; production of fully indexed and commented critical editions of ancient texts.

Deliverables

The prototype system will be the main project deliverable. Its software, technical documentation and specifications will be confidential or restricted issue.

Publicly available will be:

User population survey;
Detailed project plan;
Report on the technology for microfilm digitisation;
BAMBI market report;
Article on project results;
Proceedings of the seminar on "Digital techniques for the study of manuscripts";
Final report.
Technical approach:

The project has three phases: analysis, development and integration. Within the phases are eight workpackages:

Philosophy and user requirements - choice of standards, technology state-of-the-art, end-user survey, project definitions;
Data acquisition - choice of manuscripts, survey of microfilm scanning technology, transcription and scanning;
Service architecture - choice of delivery platforms, definition of components and relationships;
Commercial analysis - market research, copyright, business and exploitation plans;
Software implementation of modules for low level image manipulation and analysis;
Further software implementation of modules for document management, encoding and storage;
Integration and field evaluation at test sites, cross-validation of results, performance assessment, benchmarking, usability testing;
System engineering: streamlining, user documentation, product eng-ineering for market readiness;

Key issues:

BAMBI is set to provide significant tools for

online and CD-ROM distribution of digital reproductions of important manuscripts;
applying the power and versatility of modern PCs to scholarly work on ancient manuscripts.

Key technologies in creating the BAMBI workstation are: high-speed microfilm scanning, image compression and storage, document processing, pattern recognition and image processing, graphical user interfaces, full-text indexing, multilayer annotation systems, CD-ROM publishing, high-speed online distribution.

Coordinator

Attività Culturali a Tecnologie Avanzate SpA
Address
Via Chiantigiana 62
50011 Antella Firenze
Italy

Participants (6)

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma Vittorio Emanuele II
Italy
Address
Viale Castro Pretorio 105
00185 Roma
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)
Italy
Address
Via Della Faggiola 32
56100 Pisa
Consorzio Pisa Ricerche
Italy
Address
Corso Italia 116
I - 56125 Pisa
Estato Solido S.A.
Spain
INSAVALOR SA
France
Address

Villeurbanne
Max Planck Institut für Europäische Rechtsgeschichte
Germany