project . 2010 - 2011 . Closed

DIAMM: Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music

UK Research and Innovation
Funder: UK Research and InnovationProject code: AH/H036776/1
Funded under: AHRC Funder Contribution: 189,136 GBP
Status: Closed
01 Mar 2010 (Started) 29 Apr 2011 (Ended)

Almost all research relies on access to primary source material, and the quality of that research is dependent the quality of access to the source materials, which depends in turn on the flexibility and power of the search tools available. It is the primary goal of DIAMM to provide the best possible access to valuable, fragile and rare documents for a worldwide community of users, from scholars and performers to the general interested members of public. In some cases DIAMM provides users with better access than that which they could obtain by direct examination of the original source. High-quality digital images offer radically improved opportunities for close and comparative manuscript study, and have facilitated a level of detailed discovery by using magnificiation beyond that achievable with the naked eye.\n\nSince the inception of the project in 1998, this goal has been met and exceeded by adding to the foundation image archive a rich metadata environment in which the manuscript images are placed, and by the development of a sophisticated online environment to deliver the images, without charge, to end users. By 2006 the original collection of some 368 manuscript sources (approx. 7500 images) was being accessed repeatedly by 412 registered users. The website is currently a portal to detailed catalogue listings for 3127 manuscript sources (many recently discovered, and some described uniquely here), and provides access to nearly 15,000 images, although these images comprise only 15% of the sources listed. Web statistics show very active usage of the website ( with over 2000 currently registered users and an average of over 7000 hits per day to the website, many of those from repeat users. This level of activity already exists despite the fact that full searchability of the sources and inventory information is not yet available.\n\nThis resource depends on an intricate database of information that is currently being made available for complex searching and the creation of customizable lists or saved searches, together with the best possible online delivery of our archive-quality images by the Centre for Computing in the Humanities (CCH) based at King's College, London. However, the data available to users depends on creation of new content and the establishment of complex linkages between sources and works that is undertaken by the project team. The original catalogue information for many manuscripts was created over half a century ago. New descriptions need to be written for manuscripts where more recent research has uncovered new or more accurate information. This must be done by researchers with a significant research background in this field, with a level of expertise suitable for the accurate creation of this type of information.\n\nAlthough new images are constantly added to the archive thanks to individual research projects that commission DIAMM to undertake photography on their behalf, these projects do not necessarily allow the collection to maintain a cohesive coverage of the entire repertory: signal lacunae exist. The current project will provide images for some of the more important of these missing sources. A camera upgrade will enable the project to use single-shot technology for sources that are of a size that currently requires use of slow scanning-back imaging, thus increasing throughput from c.80 images/day to c.400 images/day, making many projects practically feasible for the first time.\n\nThe application also seeks to provide the project with a project manager/researcher and clerical assistants for a year, during which time the database content can continue to be enhanced, expanded and updated, and photography of several important sources can be undertaken.

Data Management Plans