Digital Manuscripts Program Manager, Digital Library Systems and Services
When it launched in 2009, the Parker on the Web digital library was among the first full-library digitization projects for medieval materials. Within a short period of time, it became apparent that building portal silos for manuscripts failed to serve the expressed needs of scholarly users while also proving to be a challenge for long-term institutional support and sustainability. Since 2009, the library technology landscape has changed significantly. With the introduction of the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) and shared software like Spotlight (the Blacklight-based exhibits platform) and Mirador (the viewing platform designed for image comparison and interoperability), a component ecosystem has emerged that affords the opportunity to reimagine the manuscript delivery portal as one of many facets for experiencing images of medieval content. Parker on the Web 2.0, the first major rewrite of the site since its initial launch, takes advantage of all of these technologies to provide a rich user experience on a maintainable software platform. The site invites users to engage in cross-repository comparison, reuse and annotation, and serves as a model for the next generation of digital manuscript sites. This presentation will walk through the design and technology choices for the project, user engagement during its development, and future enhancements that make Parker on the Web a dynamic digital collection that can grow with curatorial and scholarly input without putting a strain on the library infrastructure that hosts it.