The Manuscript Portal (HSP) entered the second phase of its consolidation and further development at the beginning of 2023 with renewed funding from the DFG for three years.
What is to be achieved in phase II?
1. Expansion of the authority data module
To enable effective retrieval in the enormous wealth of HSP data, relevant search terms must be linked to authority data.
At the end of the first phase, the HSP already contains a large amount of subject-specific authority data. In the second HSP phase, these will be merged with the Gemeinsame Normdatei (GND) – the central German authority data repository.
At the same time, the authority data module will be expanded into a knowledge graph that relates the authority data to each other and to the indexing data. In this way, the search, for example, for language areas, persons, but also for details such as binding forms, is becoming increasingly finely structured and supplementary searches are possible.
A data editorial team distributed among the four HSP partners supports the expansion of the authority data module in terms of content by identifying important search categories in the more than 120,000 manuscript descriptions of the HSP and providing the respective terms with authority data. At the same time, a series of subject-specific thesauri is being developed to standardise and hierarchically organise terms.
2. Search extension and optimisation
The expansion and optimisation of the search in the HSP is closely related to the expansion of the authority data module. In the future, it will be possible to search explicitly for authority data, as well as to display individual authority data overview pages and to include semantically linked authority data in the search. Likewise, a search option for manuscript catalogues with full text search will be implemented.
3. Development of interactive tools and features
In Phase II, the HSP workspace will enable much more active and interactive use. From personalised workspaces, which can be saved and shared including their contents, to own annotations or transcriptions of descriptions and digital copies, to their publication with citable permalinks in the HSP: Depending on their needs, our users can become producers in the portal.
4. Improvement of the input system for manuscript descriptions (Erfassung)
In the first phase of the project, a prototype was developed for entering scientific manuscript descriptions into the HSP system. In the second phase, this system component will be fully functional – especially with regard to the use of the authority data module and the possibility of using different description types.
A publication procedure will ensure that changes to descriptions already published in the portal can be tracked via addressable “editions”.
5. Differentiation of import and export interfaces
In order to technically enable data exchange with other systems, interfaces for import and export in relevant formats such as MARC21, TEI-XML and Dublin Core will be created or extended in the HSP. Technically, these will be set up as OAI-PMH, SRU and SPARQL interfaces.
6. Data exchange with relevant other portals
In order to provide available information on manuscripts in collections in German-speaking countries as comprehensively as possible in the HSP, the data offered by other relevant portals will be used. In a first step, basic information is to be stored directly in the HSP and, for more detailed information, links are to be provided to the data offered by the original portal.
At the same time, the HSP data will be available to these other portals via interfaces. The first partner for data exchange is the Austrian National Library (ÖNB); this is to be extended to the Manuscript Census (HSC) or also the Catalogue of German-language Illustrated Manuscripts of the Middle Ages (KdiH).
7. Development of IIIF hosting services
As a service to institutions without own presentation systems or without IIIF-capable presentation, the HSP team will create hosting services, consulting and training opportunities at various locations, initiating the development of a distributed infrastructure.
8. Revision of the guidelines for manuscript indexing
The DFG’s ‘Guidelines for Manuscript Cataloguing’, dating from the 1990s, will be revised during the second HSP phase and adapted to cataloguing practices in the digital age.
9. Best possible usability
In phase II, the Institute of Library and Information Science (IBI) of the Humboldt University of Berlin (HU Berlin) is directly involved in the project as a project partner for user experience. The IBI’s ongoing UX support aims to ensure the most intuitive usability and positive user experience possible for all HSP functionalities.
Read more: DFG application for HSP Phase II
Detailed information on phase II of the Handscrhiftenportal can be found here in the PDF of the DFG application [German].