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Great Parchment Book Project Wins Top Award

09/05/14

Digitisation project recognised for restoring the fire damaged survey from the 17th century

Derry City Council is pleased to announce that the Great Parchment Book, a partnership project with London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) and University College London (UCL), has received a European Succeed Award Commendation of Merit.

The project to conserve the fire damaged Great Parchment Book began with the digitalization of the book, a project involving a number of international institutions and resulted in establishing the historical significance of the item.

Derry City Council’s own Archivist, Bernadette Walsh has been a key component in working with the agencies and bringing an original folio of the Parchment Book to the Plantation of Ulster exhibition in Derry~Londonderry’s Guildhall.

She said: ‘Reading fire damaged manuscripts is often very difficult due to the fragile nature of the texts, and their distorted form. This groundbreaking project has enabled the virtual flattening and digital restoration of the fire damaged Great Parchment Book of The Honourable The Irish Society, exploring how advanced digitisation methods can help in reading fire damaged texts such as this.’

Philippa Smith from London Metropolitan Archives said, ‘By developing an acquisition workflow to digitise the text, supported by preparatory conservation treatment, and then developing software to explore and flatten the documents, we are able to produce novel digital images of the document which have aided in the transcription of the text. We now hope to make this process and software available to other researchers dealing with similarly damaged texts.’

The winners were selected from 19 nominations world-wide and, due to the high quality of the project, the Board decided to distinguish it with one of two Commendations of Merit.

Succeed is funded by the European Union. It promotes the take up and validation of research results in mass digitisation, with a focus on textual content.

You can find further information about the awards here.