Category Archives: Uncategorized

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Sam & Angela’s Findings

So these are just my notes whilst observing Angela, but I believe we shared the majority of our collective thoughts during the class discussion.


Scenario #5
Choice of browser – Firefox – choosing this – familiarity for user?
The Kellen Archives – once here – getting to the digital archives section (left hand side of page) not very intuitive
Once there did basic search using term “floral pattern” -
Went back to main digital page – searched into Lightbox account
Search returned better results just by logging in -
Attempting to add to Lightbox – icons at bottom did not say when hovers mouse above those option – guessed by clicking middle icon – which was a folder icon – not obvious
When pressed back button and took awhile for page to load – then an error message
Used simple terms to keyword her categorical findings – example “Floral Pattern_1,” “Floral Pattern_2″
Can click on magnify glass to make image bigger – then brought to completely new page – can look at entire scan of document page by page – doesn’t seem easy to back to original search results page
Every time clicking on new result, there is a lag in how the page loads – causing it to be layered at first
Clicked to go in and see Lightbox – can’t seem to rearrange the groups – each saved image has it’s own space, with other blanks waiting to be paired
Difference in the search – tried “Flower pattern” and “floral patten” returned very different results

Vatican Library to Digitize Priceless Manuscripts

Found this in WSJ, thought it would be of interest to the class!

The Vatican’s Precious Manuscripts Go Online

Japanese Tech Firm NTT Is Scanning the Ancient Texts in the Vatican Apostolic Library


Updated April 11, 2014 11:46 p.m. ET

VATICAN CITY — Almost 600 years after Pope Nicholas V founded the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Holy See is now turning to 50 experts, five scanners and a Japanese IT firm to digitize millions of pages from its priceless manuscripts, opening them to the broader public for the first time.

When the project is finished, one of the richest and most important collections of historical texts in the world will be available with a click of the mouse—and free.

The plan marks a revolution for an institution known as the Popes’ Library, which houses more than 82,000 manuscripts, some dating back to the second century. Scholars must now submit a detailed request to gain access to the library, which sits within the Vatican walls. The most precious works of art, such as a 1,600-year old manuscript displaying Virgil’s poems once studied by Raphael, have been mostly off-limits.

What’s News: The Vatican Library teams with Japanese tech firm to digitize manuscripts. President Obama nominates Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Google glass to go on sale to the masses on April 15. Tanya Rivero reports. Photo: AP

“This restriction was wise to protect such valuable manuscripts from hordes of visitors,” said Alberto Melloni, a church historian who has used the Vatican library several times. “If anybody could visit, it would be like putting a child with a paintbrush in front of the Mona Lisa.”

By digitizing its archives, the Vatican library, established in 1451, joins the ranks of illustrious institutions such as the British Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Cambridge University Library. The Vatican is offering “a service that we provide all mankind,” said Msgr. Cesare Pasini, prefect of the library, at a recent presentation of the project.

For the past year, Vatican officials have worked closely with experts at Japanese IT firm NTT DATA Corp. to test special scanners designed to handle particularly delicate documents. Glove-wearing operators, who must remove watches and jewelry to prevent scratching the texts, made sure that the scanners wouldn’t damage the documents.

The machines have a protective screen to limit the manuscripts’ exposure to light, and windows must remain shut and curtains drawn during the scanning procedure to keep dust and extraneous light out of the room.

With the test phase finished, about 50 Italian and Japanese operators will soon begin the process of digitizing the first batch of 3,000 manuscripts under the watchful eye of Vatican librarians. That process, which will take place entirely inside the library, is expected to take four years.

After each document is scanned, it will be formatted for long-term storage and then released onto the library’s website. The first digital images are expected to be put online in the second half of this year. All of the manuscripts, including the most delicate ones, will eventually be scanned, and viewers will be able to examine them from a variety of angles.

Digitalizing the library will be a mammoth task, involving 43 quadrillion bytes. (A byte is a unit that is used to represent an alphanumeric character.) In the end, about 40 million pages will be available for all to see. The Vatican won’t say how long the whole project will take.

Disaster recovery mechanisms will be put in place so that images of the manuscripts will be conserved should anything happen to the originals.”If something horrible happens—and I pray to God it doesn’t—at least all this won’t be lost,” said James R. Ginther, professor of medieval theology and director of the Center of Digital Humanities at St. Louis University in Missouri.

NTT DATA has agreed to front the €18 million ($25 million) cost of the first, four-year phase, but it is seeking sponsors to recoup that figure. To encourage donations, the Vatican Library’s website will display the sponsors’ logos next to scanned images.

Even when the digitization is complete, Vatican officials expect scholars and researchers to still seek access to the library to view the originals in person.

“It is really important to have a physical feel of the manuscript…and this can only happen when you are there,” said Candida Moss, professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, who has used the library in the past.

The opening of the library might be a letdown for Vatican conspiracy theorists. The alleged secrets housed in the Vatican’s archives have sometimes featured in mystery novels, such as those penned by Dan Brown.

When asked if any compromising or embarrassing documents will emerge when the digital archives are thrown open to the public, Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, librarian of the Holy Roman Church, chuckled.

“We have nothing to hide,” he said.

Write to Liam Moloney at

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Learning WordPress

Though this may not be the appropriate venue for this, we’ve discussing different platforms in class, WordPress being one of them, and I thought about sharing some information about an event that took place at my store a few nights ago. It features WordPress connoisseur and blogger guru Nate Cooper. He gave a workshop on the process and utility of WordPress, encouraging the audience to consider it as a desirable tool for authorship and prosperity. His website gives a short rundown on his beliefs on WordPress and how it is a profitable crux for an burgeoning artist or entrepreneur.