iGuana is truly honoured to be able to contribute to the Mmmonk project as a trusted and experienced partner for professional digitization of precious and fragile medieval manuscripts from different important abbeys of medieval Flanders, Belgium.
Mmmonk stands for Medieval Monastic Manuscripts – Open – Network – Knowledge. The project is a collaborative effort between Bruges Public Library, Ghent University Library, the Major Seminary Ten Duinen in Bruges and the Diocese of Ghent. Mmmonk has been awarded grants from the Flemish Government (Department of Culture, Youth and Media). The goal of the Mmmonk project is to provide sustainable and open digital access to more than 700 professionally digitized medieval manuscripts of the abbeys of Ten Duinen, Ter Doest, Saint Peter’s and Saint Bavo’s via the Mmmonk platform using the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF). The scanned & digitized images and metadata made available through the Mmmonk virtual library and knowledge platform will serve as invaluable educational content, to encourage innovation and enhance digital research on monastic manuscripts, and to contribute to the creation, accumulation and dissemination of knowledge.
The core collection of the surviving medieval manuscripts from the libraries of the aforementioned abbeys date from the 7th to the 15th century and are widely recognized as Flemish Masterpiece (Vlaams Topstuk).
Digitization of Manuscripts at Bruges Public Library & Major Seminary Ten Duinen
iGuana has been awarded the contract for professional scanning and digitization of the precious medieval books and monastic manuscripts in the Mmmonk collection. Our team is thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Mmmonk project and to contribute to the preservation of Flanders’ cultural heritage. As a specialist in the digitization and preservation of cultural heritage collections with extensive experience scanning and digitizing rare, fragile and valuable books, iGuana was able to provide in-depth expertise, trained personnel with knowledge of Metamorfoze preservation guidelines, and top-of-the line scanning & digitization equipment for this project.
On-site Digitization of Manuscripts by Trained iGuana Personnel
Due to the value, historical & cultural significance and fragile condition of the manuscripts that iGuana had to digitize and continues to digitize until this day, all scanning & digitization has to take place on site at the Bruges Public Library and the Major Seminary Ten Duinen in Bruges.
Before the first manuscript could be digitized extensive preparation work had to be performed by both, the Mmmonk project team and the iGuana project team. This included, among other things, individual review, examination and selection of manuscripts eligible for digitization on the basis of the “Checklist for Digitization of Manuscripts”, determination of the maximum allowable opening angle, and a lot of other preparatory work, analysis and research. In addition, extensive testing, customized set-up and calibration of iGuana scanning equipment had to take place.
To date, over 400 manuscripts / books have been scanned by iGuana, an equivalent of 150 000 pages, and digitization is done in accordance with strict protocols and in line with Metamorfoze preservation guidelines.
Sample of Scanned Images of Digitized Manuscripts
Among the digitized manuscripts are a number of very special ones. A sample of scanned images of a few of these manuscripts is provided below. Feel free to learn more about each of these beautiful manuscripts by clicking on the links provided (where available) and enjoy the wonderful images!
Custom Qidenus Book Scanner Installation & Calibration
iGuana’s cultural heritage digitization experts, solution designers and technical service engineers designed, set up and calibrated a custom Qidenus book scanner installation tailored specifically to the needs and requirements of the Mmmonk project. Given iGuana’s extensive experience setting up fully customized scanner installations from scratch and calibrating them to comply with Metamorfoze preservation guidelines, our team utilized Qidenus expertise in building world-leading V-shaped book scanners to design a custom repro station scanner for the project.
The Qidenus book scanner installation has no mechanical parts, no glass plate, features 2 high-end cameras, special LED lighting with no UV / IR radiation, etc., all designed to handle extremely sensitive, very old materials. A special book cradle with an opening angle of 100°, one horizontal side and one adjustable side properly support books with different opening angles and help take care of the fragile spines of the manuscripts.
Video Report on Focus WTV
Mmmonk Project Video
This beautiful informational video published on the Bruges Public Library YouTube channel and prominently featured on the Mmmonk website depicts a monastic manuscript which is more than 700 years old.
The video talks about 734 manuscripts from different medieval abbeys in Flanders that are currently being digitized and which form part of the invaluable collections of Bruges Public Library (Openbare Bibliotheek Brugge), Ghent University Library (Universiteitsbibliotheek Gent), the Major Seminary Ten Duinen in Bruges (Grootseminarie Ten Duinen in Brugge) and the Diocese of Ghent (Bisdom Gent).
These manuscripts will be made available through the Mmmonk rich virtual library platform using IIIF. IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) represents a set of open standards that help cultural heritage institutions, archives, museums, libraries, etc. to manage and share digital collections.
Scanning of a Manuscript by iGuana
Watch this short video of the iGuana scanning process which was featured in the article about manuscript digitization at the Major Seminary Ten Duinen and published by Diocese of Bruges.
Related Mmmonk Project Publications & Additional Reading
For additional details regarding the different phases of this project, please refer to the following publications available on the websites of Bruges Public Library, Mmmonk & Diocese of Bruges: