Experts from The University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library visit a beautiful seventeenth century mansion to capture its world famous Canterbury Tales manuscript, The Petworth Chaucer, on camera.
It is part of a 18-month project – funded by JISC – which showcases The University of Manchester as one of the country’s leading centres for digitisation of rare books, manuscripts and archives.
The Petworth edition of the famous stories was hand written between 1420 and 1450, just a few years after they were first conceived by Geoffrey Chaucer.
The Tales relate a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims to create an ironic picture of 14th century English life.
It is thought the manuscript has been at Petworth for at least four hundred years.
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The Centre of Digital Excellence will support universities, colleges, libraries and museums which lack the resources to carry out the specialised work.
Assistant Librarian Carol Burrows, from The University of Manchester, manages the project. She said: “We’re very excited to be working with the National Trust to launch this project.
“No other organisation in the north of England specialises in the object-centred digitisation of heritage materials.
“As the set-up costs of such facilities are prohibitive for most institutions, many can’t afford to carry out this sort of work.
“Over the eighteen months, we will be investigating whether a Centre for Heritage Digitisation, based within The University of Manchester, will work as a commercial concern.
“By locating the Centre within the University we will be able to draw on our exceptional body of skills and expertise.”
Ben Showers, programme manager at JISC, said: ” What makes this project so exciting is that not only will the John Rylands Library be working with other organisations to make available online some rare and important scholarly works.