Limitations of the test environment

Although the Handschriftenportal (Manuscripts Portal) is currently still a work in progress, we would like to share with you the present process and invite you to try out the features which are now available.

Please consider that in this test environment many of the available features, adjustments for mobile devices and some of the displayed information have not been fully implemented yet. The concept being developed aims to initially integrate as many features as possible, even if some of these are still at a rudimentary stage. This method allows for feedback from users early on and can be put to use later in the development process. Please take this opportunity to actively help shape the Handschriftenportal.

We aim to have the features that are absent from the current test environment fully operational by the end of the first project phase (end of 2021 / beginning of 2022). The following lists the most important features to be added step by step:

  • Integrating authority control in search and presentation

 Normalised data is essential to a useful retrieval and properly linked data. The internal authority control service which has partially already been integrated into the back office will not be a part of the features search and presentation in this test environment. Therefore, some entries in the filter may be found twice in slightly varying presentations. By integrating authority data such issues will be resolved in the future.

  • Navigating search results and context

In the list of results the user will find the searched word(s) in their context: Where in the description can the searched word(s) be found? At the moment the user is merely able to open the whole description without the searched word(s) being highlighted in the text. In the future the user will be able to click the context in which the searched word(s) was found and will be directed straight to the appropriate place in the description.

  • Advanced search

Although the button for advanced search is visible, it will not yet be functional in this test environment. In the future the user will be able make use of the simple search, individual search fields, added filters and a more complex search option. For example, a variety of search fields in the advanced search function can be combined by using Boolean operators.

  • Increasing the number of filters and search fields

Currently only select core information, included in most academic descriptions, is used as the basis for filters and the field search function. Increasing the amount of this information will allow for more specific research. For example, there will be search fields for properties such as the incipit, decoration and information on provenance.

  • Searching in specific full text passages

When conducting a full-text search in the test environment, this always refers to the entire text of a description. In the future the user will be able to conduct their search in a specified part of the description.

  • Layout and semantic formatting of the academic descriptions in the workspace

At the moment there is no user-friendly layout of academic descriptions in the workspace. The test environment is there to demonstrate how descriptions and digital copies can be viewed side by side. So far the layout has not been a priority; however, we will be putting special effort into further developing this feature soon.

  • Integrating images of only printed descriptions with OCR texts in the background

These images can be opened in the workspace. The OCR full-texts and normalised searches will complement the images. 

  • Easy navigation of tables of content in descriptions

In the workspace the descriptions are displayed with a basic table of contents in the test run. This list will be greatly extended – we aim to make both main and sub sections accessible.

  • Using multiple workstations

The workspace will incorporate multiple workstations. Users can add as many workstations as they want in order to structure their work according to topic just as when organising physical notes. In due time the data collected in workstations will be saved to the user’s personal account with the option of making their collections available to other users as well as sharing it with the public.

  • Displaying the structured core information of descriptions

In this test environment the academic descriptions can only be viewed without formatting, even if structured, normalised and authority data are available. A simple and clear way of displaying such information will be developed.

  • Displaying descriptions from which the core information for the manuscript was taken

The core information on the overview page of a manuscript can come from different descriptions throughout the Handschriftenportal. The individual sources will be directly revealed. At the moment the information is drawn from merely one description.

  • Permanent identifiers

Individual manuscripts, i.e. cultural heritage objects, will receive permanent identifiers which will refer to the designated overview page. Descriptions as well as digital copies will also be assigned permanent identifiers. In doing so the entire content of the Handschriftenportal will be easy to reference in publications and websites.

  • Information on portal features, contributing libraries, other institutions and projects

Information on other institutions and projects which contribute to expanding our data – as well as on portal-specific topics – is momentarily not included in the test environment. In the future we hope that they will not only help in adding to our database but will also offer a further access point to existing data. The content currently maintained on the project website will be merged with the future Handschriftenportal to provide a consistent presentation.