Digital Explorations: Opening the Medieval Manuscript Fragments from the Ripon Cathedral Library

Ripon Cathedral Fragment


‘Digital Explorations’ aims to enhance research culture at the University of Leeds in the field of Digital Humanities through a pilot study focusing on manuscript fragments from the Ripon Cathedral Library housed in Special Collections at the Brotherton Library.

Receiving over 100,000 visitors each year, Ripon Cathedral celebrated its 1350th anniversary in 2022. The Ripon Cathedral Library Collection includes little-studied medieval and early modern manuscripts and printed books. Even less studied, and some as yet unknown, are the fragments found within bindings.

Manuscript studies have received renewed interest in the last two decades largely due to the growing field of Digital Humanities. By applying sustained and focused digital methodologies, ‘Digital Explorations’ will not only significantly contribute to the field in a short period, putting Leeds at the forefront of research in this area, but also create research networks within the University and beyond for future collaborations. Importantly, it will create a model for open research practices. Activities include four training events delivered by international experts as well as four public lectures.


‘Digital Explorations’ promotes a more supportive, inclusive, and collaborative research environment at the University of Leeds by

  1. creating a broader base of research culture stakeholders,
  2. making openly available cutting-edge study of an under-utilised collection relevant to local history and heritage,
  3. expanding the technical skills of Leeds staff and students.

‘Digital Explorations’ will establish standards of digital preservation, data storage and open publishing practices. Invited experts will use Ripon fragments to train staff and students so that further studies and discoveries can be made with in-house expertise at Leeds. In these respects, the project will both address research culture challenges and enhance existing practices and standards at the University.

Publications and outputs

Training workshops (in person):

  • 8-10 March 2023, Wednesday-Friday

Capturing the Wealth in Surface Details: Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) by Dr Bill Endres

  • 29-31 March 2023, Wednesday-Friday 

Multispectral Imaging and Digital Collaboration by Michael B. Toth

  • 3-5 May 2023, Wednesday-Friday

Digital Scholarly Cataloguing by Dr William Duba and Dr Laura Albiero

  • 24-26 May 2023, Wednesday-Friday       

Digital Collections and Exhibits: Creation, Curation and Preservation by Dr Katarzyna Anna Kapitan

Public lectures (hybrid):

  • 8 March 2023, Wednesday, 3.30pm-5pm        

Digitization as Scholarly Intervention and Interpretive Method: Understanding Loss and Need  by Dr Bill Endres

  • 29 March 2023, Wednesday, 3.30pm-5pm            

Revealing History with Interdisciplinary Technology Studies by Michael B. Toth

  • 4 May 2023, Thursday, 3.30pm-5pm          


  • 25 May 2023, Thursday, 3.30pm-5pm            

Researching Manuscripts Through Encoding by Katarzyna Anna Kapitan

All events require registration via the Institute of Medieval Studies Eventbrite account. 

Image credit: Leeds, University of Leeds Libraries, Ripon Cathedral MS Frag. 27.2, recto.

Supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Research England under the Enhancing Research Culture funding stream.