Digital Archives

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Digital Collections (New Haven: Yale University) <> [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Literary manuscript collections include: James Boswell; Edith Wharton; Edmund Wilson; Eugene O’Neill; Ezra Pound; Gertrude Stein; J.M. Barrie; James Baldwin; Walt Whitman; William Carlos Williams, as well as other more general literary collections.
  • Extremely high quality image.
  • Ability to download images.
  • Basic comparison tool that leads to related manuscripts.
  • User interface is very basic, just the ability to zoom.
  • No contextual paratexts.


Bodleian Library, Bodleian Digital Collections (Oxford: University of Oxford) <> [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Home of many manuscript collections including: Early Manuscripts at Oxford University; The Thomas Gray Archive; William Godwin’s Diary; Shelley-Godwin Archive; First World War Poetry Digital Archive; Wilfred Owen Multimedia Digital Archive; Jane Austen’s Fiction Manuscripts.
  • Each collection differs but all proved high quality images of select manuscripts.
  • Examples: The Shelley-Godwin Archive has a neat transcription tool that allows the reader to toggle the transcription in a separate box. The First World War Poetry Archive has a more basic interface but provides more contextual material and supporting images.


Cornell University Library, Digital Collections (Ithaca: Cornell University) <> [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Most notable for the Cornell Wordsworth Collection, though also has digitised versions of The Divine Comedy, and various online exhibitions.
  • The interface is very basic, with the ability to turn manuscript pages, but not a sophisticated as the British Library’s website.
  • Manuscripts that have been digitised are a small selection of the holdings.


Harry Ransom Center, Digital Collections (Austin: University of Texas) <; [Accessed 8 October 2014]

  • Limited selection online, including: David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King manuscript; Lewis Carroll Photography Collection; Bronte Family Collection; Sherlock Holmes Collection; Evelyn Waugh’s Victorian Blood Book. This is accompanied by various digital archives of photographs and artwork.
  • High quality images.
  • Some good contextual information about the relevance of the specific manuscripts.
  • Interface is very basic, with the ability to zoom in only.


Huntington Library, Huntington Digital Library (Pasadena: Huntington Library) <> [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Limited selection online including: Shelley’s Notebooks; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales; Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.
  • Images are a little small, but there is a zoom function.
  • Only additional material is bibliographic data.
  • Interface is the same as the Ransom Center’s.


John Rylands Library, Image Collections (Manchester: University of Manchester)  [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Not many literary manuscripts in the collection.
  • High quality images.
  • Basic user interface.


Lichfield Cathedral, Digitized Illuminations (Lexington: University of Kentucky) <> [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Notable for the unique digitisation approach, attempting to recreate the 3D aspect of the illuminated manuscripts.
  • Users can manipulate the digital image, both zooming in and out and turning the manuscript around.
  • Images, perhaps due to the ongoing nature of the project, are rougher than some digitisation projects.


National Library of Scotland, Digital Resources (Edinburgh: NLS) <> [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Some digitised manuscripts including: Robert Louis Stevenson; Robert Burns etc. Many of the digital resources here are in-depth biographies and contexts for Scottish authors, including Muriel Spark.
  • Very basic user interface. Images cannot be manipulated at all.
  • Images are not as good quality as other digital resources.


National Library of Wales, Digital Gallery (Aberystwyth: NLW) <> [Accessed 9 October 2014]

  • Digital manuscripts by writers including Dylan Thomas and John Cowper Powys. There are also many manuscripts from the Early Modern Period, the Middle Ages and the Early Ages.
  • Image quality is high.
  • User interface is basic, but does allow zooming in to the text.
  • There are several paragraphs of contextual writing for each manuscript.

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