Online Froissart

Technical Aspects

In the course of the research for the Online Froissart different software technologies were used or specially developed by members of the research team.

All of the textual datasets underlying the website are encoded in XML, a widely used standard for platform-independent encoding of textual data. The transcriptions and translations are conformant to the TEI P5 guidelines. Project-specific practices are detailed in the OFP Guidelines for transcription and markup.

The XML files were generated and manipulated with general-purpose editors, XML editors and scripting languages. The project team was also able to use a library of specialised utilities bundled into an OFTools toolset specially developed for the project by Michael Meredith.

The specialist software package Collate written by Peter Robinson was used to generate the collation data underpinning the collation view of the transcriptions.

The design and implementation of the website was undertaken by Jamie McLaughlin and Michael Pidd at the Humanities Research Institute, which also hosts the site.

The visualisation and manipulation of the image data was handled through the internal viewer developed by Jamie McLaughlin and Michael Pidd, and via the external Virtual Vellum software developed by Peter Ainsworth and Michael Meredith. The Virtual Vellum viewer is used especially to enhance user access to the high-resolution images of the manuscripts made available by kind permission of the libraries concerned. The Manuscripts facsimiles pages were devised by Jamie McLaughlin.

Archival images from the manuscripts were captured as TIFFs. Besançon ms. 865 was digitized over an 11-day period in December 2001 at the Bibliothèque d’Étude et de Conservation, Besançon. The equipment (book cradle, camera and lights) was installed and set up to obtain the maximum image resolution possible and remained in place while the manuscript was photographed over consecutive days. This procedure was followed for all subsequent manuscripts photographed Toulouse and Stonyhurst College by Colin Dunn (Scriptura Ltd.). All manuscripts were photographed under practically identical environmental conditions: ambient light was eliminated by blacking out windows, and the same lighting equipment and configuration was used for all manuscripts. Besançon ms. 865 was photographed with a PHASEONE PowerPhase scanning back attached to a K.B. Canham DLC 5"x4" view camera and 150mm FujiFilm Fujinon lens. All of the above-mentioned manuscripts were photographed with a BetterLight Super8K-2 scanning back attached to a Cambo Ultima 5"x4" view camera and 150mm Rodenstock APO Sironar S lens. Although there was a change in photography equipment from one manuscript to the next, the same photographic parameters were applied. Aperture was F11. Line time (equivalent to shutter speed) was 1/50th sec. Image resolution was 500ppi. The same Kodak Q13 colour reference chart was used for every manuscript. Additionally, a Gretag-Macbeth (now X-Rite) DC ColorChecker reference target was shot for each manuscript. The lighting was high-frequency fluorescent (3 x 55W tubes per light fitting - Philips PL-L2G11) with a colour temperature of 4000°K.

After processing, the archival TIFFs were reduced in size for delivery as JPEG images via the ‘Browse’ view; the JPEG2000 standard was adopted for the Virtual Vellum manuscript viewer (see Inventory of Images).