The Parker Library at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge houses an extraordinary and unique collection of texts and manuscripts collected over the lifetime of Matthew Parker in the 16th century and entrusted to the college in 1574. From the sixth-century Gospels of St. Augustine to records of the English Reformation under Henry VIII, the library is home to some rare literary treasures indeed.
Earlier this week, Corpus Christi College and the Stanford University Libraries released Version 1.1 of Parker of the Web an interactive, web-based workspace created to facilitate access to and study of the manuscripts of the Parker Library.
While some features do require subscription to access, the availability of these manuscripts online offers the opportunity to explore for ourselves some of the key manuscripts in British history. A particular pleasure for me was the chance to explore King Alfred’s translation of Pastoral Care and the earliest copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (dated to around 890AD). Reading texts in translation, even with the vernacular alongside, is quite a different experience to looking at the document in its original form!
The Parker Library joins many others the world over who are digitising their collections, making previously inaccessible documents and texts available to anyone who has an Internet connection. I’m looking forward to seeing how The Parker Library, alongside the British Library and other institutions, will develop their web presence into the future.