DS 2.0 Project

DS 2.0 is the project carried out between July 2020 and March 2023 to reimagine and rebuild the Digital Scriptorium database as the platform for an  inclusive, online union catalog based on Linked Open Data principles and practices for all pre- and early modern manuscripts in the United States. In July 2020, with the University of Pennsylvania serving as our administrative sponsor, DS was awarded a National Leadership for Libraries grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Staff at Penn Libraries’ Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies led the redevelopment process in consultation with DS member institutions and stakeholders.

Additional support for the DS 2.0 Project was generously provided by these DS Member institutions in 2021:

  • The Bancroft Library, University of California Berkeley
  • Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library, Yale University
  • Columbia University Libraries
  • Houghton Library, Harvard University
  • The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
  • Princeton University Libraries
  • Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside

DS 2.0 Principles

The result of the project is the Wikibase DS Catalog now available through the DS website.

DS 2.0 was initiated in response to challenges related to the sustainability of the previous DS technical platform. Beginning in 2019, under the leadership of then DS President and Executive Director Debra T. Cashion (Saint Louis University), the DS Board of Directors determined to fundamentally rethink the technical platform of the DS database to create a low-cost, low-barrier platform to support DS’s goal to create an open access, online national union catalog. To guide development, the DS Board established the following principles for redevelopment:

  • As a national union catalog, DS 2.0’s primary function will be to enable researchers to find pre- and early modern manuscripts in US collections and will expand its scope to include manuscripts from all scribal cultures and traditions
  • DS 2.0 will require minimal standards for data entry. Metadata only identifying a manuscript’s location in an institution will be sufficient to create a record. As new knowledge emerges, records can be updated.
  • Member institutions will create and manage their own structured manuscript metadata in their institutional formats. DS 2.0 will use what members provide and will not correct or add to a member’s metadata.
  • DS 2.0 will not host or require images, but will provide functionality to view images in the platform when images are available. DS 2.0 will work with members to find hosting solutions as needed.
  • DS 2.0 will enhance metadata with Name, Place, and in-house Manuscript ID Authorities and will make DS 2.0 data available for reuse.

DS has preserved copies of the original DS Catalog metadata and images in its Zenodo Community and on the Internet Archive. More information documenting the process and results of the DS 2.0 project, now known as the DS Catalog, can be found on our Research and Documentation page.

DS 2.0 Project Team

Project Director
  • Lynn Ransom, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
Project Manager
  • L.P. Coladangelo, College of Communication and Information, Kent State University & Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries (from March 2022)
  • Emma Cawlfield Thomson, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries (July 2020 – March 2022)
Technical Advisor
  • Doug Emery, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
Wikibase Data Model Developer
  • Mikko Koho, Aalto University (July 2020 – December 2021)
Web Architecture, Design & Development
  • Ben Bakelaar, Human Experience Systems
  • Monica Genuardi, Human Experience Systems
  • Irene Geller, Human Experience Systems
DS 2.0 Steering Committee
  • Debra Taylor Cashion, Saint Louis University
  • Ray Clemens, Beinecke Library, Yale University
  • Lisa Fagin Davis, Medieval Academy of America
  • Andrew Hicks, Cornell University
  • Elizabeth Hebbard, Indiana University-Bloomington
  • Daniel Gullo, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library
Penn Libraries Consultants
  • Jim Hahn, Head of Metadata Research
  • Amey Hutchins, Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian
  • John Mark Ockerbloom, Digital Library Strategist & Metadata Architect
  • Kelly Tuttle, formerly Project Cataloger, Manuscripts of the Muslim World (through March 2021)
  • Sean Quimby, Associate University Librarian & Director of the Jay I. Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
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