This post details another adventure using Scholar’s Workbench from METAscripta, this time using an icon of the Anastasis/Resurrection from the Harvard Art Museum. I was able to copy the IIIF manifest link from the Harvard Art Museum’s website and paste it into Scholar’s Workbench such that it was added to a new collection.

Unlike the manuscript I was working with in my last post about using Scholar’s Workbench, this image came with several annotations already embedded into the manifest. These seem to have been AI generated, and showcase the limitations of that technology at the current time. To understand the symbology used in the icon, requires some knowledge of iconographic conventions. Not being equipped with such knowledge, the computer generated annotations are rather humorous, such as this one struggling to explain the emotional state of King Solomon, who had been annotated as a 28-44 year old female.

AI's attempt at identifying King Solomon as a female, age 28-44 who may be surprised, afraid, happy, calm, confused, or angry.

Similarly, the inscription tells us this is an icon of the Anastasis (Greek for Resurrection), transliterated into Cyrillic lettering and the computer understandably had some difficulty making sense of it.

My annotations I hope clear up who and what the main characters and actions featured in the icon represent according to convention. In doing so, I used some different annotation options, including for many figures, the freeform tool that allows one to trace around a non-geometric shape, such as a person. Here are examples of this being used for Kings Solomon and David, John the Baptist, Adam, and Eve. After the shape is drawn, it can be adjusted by moving the points to better match the contours of the figure.

I also used this freeform tool around the mandorla (almond) shape surrounding Christ.

the mandorla representing the uncreated light that illuminates the darkness of Hades.

I also used the line tool to trace around the doors of hades broken under Christ’s feet, naturally in cruciform shape. This tool draws straight lines between points, making it well suited for this shape.

line tool being used to annotate the broken gates of Hades under Christ's feet.

For other features I used simpler shapes used earlier, like the circle here used to call out the binding of Satan, and the same tool being drawn into a long oval to explain what the inscription means.

The IIIF manifest with my annotations is:

Scholar’s Workbench is a useful feature on the METAscripta website that allows annotation of IIIF images. This post documents some of my first experiments using Scholar’s Workbench, using Bodleian Library MS. Laud Misc. 250. The current binding of Laud Miscellaneous 250 combines two manuscripts, the first being a 14th century MS of 40 homilies on the gospels by Gregory the Great, the second being a twelfth century MS of the first 10 of John Cassian’s Conferences. It is the latter of these, and only one folio of it that needs particular introduction for the purposes of this post.

Upon registering for a METAscripta Scholar’s Workbench account, I looked through the listings of institutions using IIIF, which Scholar’s Workbench works with. Among these was the University of Oxford which includes the Bodleian Library and all their digitized manuscripts. Finding MS Laud Misc. 250, I followed the directions to copy the IIIF manifest link. This link was easily pasted into my first Workbench collection (of which I changed the name to John Cassian, Conferences), and the MS was there in the collection.

Once the manuscript was in my collection, clicking on the image brought me to the viewer where I toggled annotations on and started to annotate by selecting rectangles and circles, drawing such shapes around aspects I wanted to make note of, and entering text into the box that appears once such a shape is drawn.

I chose to do all of my annotations on a single folio – 112 recto – primarily for reasons of convenience. This particular folio is fascinating, for as noted in my longest annotation, it gives witness to the conferences being out of order, and not in a way of the quires being mis-ordered during binding, but that it was written this way. Conference 3 ends on this folio, and Conference 6 picks up directly from it, barely skipping a line between the two. 

The script is a transitional protogothic one, and several of my annotations reflect aspects of this, i.e. multiple forms of letters like d and s and fusion between double letters. 

The IIIF manifest link with my annotations is

The Scholar’s Workbench seems thus far to be a good way to do annotations of manuscripts, and all the annotations can be viewed as a list, which is particularly convenient especially for displaying differences in letter forms. 

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