Down the Rabbit hole of Digitization

Last Summer, I had the privilege of attending a continuing education course at Christ Church College at the University of Oxford.  What a great adventure from start to finish!

Tea Party


The stars must have aligned because a number of things fell into place. The first was that I had been given the great opportunity of managing our Institutional Repository, Scholarship@Western, which meant I needed to learn how the software worked, what opportunities it afforded for Western Libraries, understand what faculty and students needed and try to anticipate their needs and queries, and consider ways the repository could assist in offering access to fragile, unique and under-used items in our collection.

christ church library window

Secondly, in our archive was a recently donated book, Canon Grandel’s Prayer Book a lovely little Book of hours, likely owned at one time by this Capuchin monk. It was featured in an open house at the ARC, so I was able to see it first-hand. I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in considering this, but I decided that a project to digitize this book –for its preservation and to enable wider access– was in order.  Couple that with the fact that I knew very little about this kind of thing, but that through serendipity I had chosen a course, at Oxford, to delve into the realm of this book boded well for me.

And so I have started down the path of digitization.

Using the equipment and the expertise at the Cultureplex, we now have a digital surrogate of the book of hours. But just what is it, and how does it fit into the genre of these kinds of texts? that’s what I will explore over the next while. this is a kind of  draft to help me think and write about this journey and to grow my understanding of the digital context. I’m dipping my toe into the digital humanities, in order to understand it better and thus, serve our constituency better. Wish me luck!


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