'Wood and Ceramic: Introducing digital methods with Classics Library special collections'

The Combined Classics Library holds over 150,000 volumes on Greco-Roman antiquity, including a number of special collections. One is the Wood Archive, a collection of diaries, notebooks, sketchbooks and published works relating to a tour of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant, made by between May 1750 and June 1751 by the classical scholar Robert Wood, the archaeologists John Bouverie (who died during the tour) and James Dawkins, and the draughtsman Giovanni Battista Borra. Another is the Ehrenberg Bequest, a collection of antiquities, mostly ceramics, bequeathed to the Institute of Classical Studies in 1976 by Victor Ehrenberg, on the understanding that the collection was to be used for teaching and handling.

As part of a digitisation programme by the library we are looking at ways to make these collections usable and accessible online as well as in person.

Digital photographs of the Wood notebooks have been used in both research and engagement projects, involving the annotation of places and other named entities in the texts using the Recogito platform, allowing researches and members of the public to identify references in the diaries for display and querying on a map or other semantic web interfaces. A programme of 3D scanning of the objects in the Ehrenberg collection, with a view to uploading them all to the Sketchfab 3D platform, is involving students and others who receive training in 3D methods, cataloguing of object data, and includes links from the Classics Library catalogue to the only 3D models.

This event will involve short presentations on the history of the collections, their unique features, and some of the novel uses to which the digital models have been put, demonstrations of some of the platforms used, and questions and discussion with the participants.


Author: Institute of Classical Studies

Speaker(s): Joanna Ashe, Jen Baird, Gabriel Bodard, Aaron Fordwoh, Paul Jackson, Valeria Vitale, Alicia Walsh

Organisations: Institute of Classical Studies

Event date: Thursday, 1 July 2021 - 5:00pm