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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