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Project Director

  • Columba Stewart


From vHMML about page (accessed 2018-11-16):

vHMML (Virtual Hill Museum and Manuscript Library) offers resources and tools for the study of manuscripts and currently features manuscript cultures from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The site houses high-resolution images of manuscripts, many of them digitized as part of HMML’s global mission to preserve and share important, endangered, and inaccessible manuscript collections through digital photography, archiving, and cataloging. It also contains descriptions of manuscripts from HMML's legacy microfilm collection, with scans of some of these films.


vHMML is an initiative of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library. The project began as a partnership between HMML staff and developers from the Center for Digital Humanities at Saint Louis University (James Ginther, PI) and the Carolingian Canon Law Project at the University of Kentucky (Abigail Firey, PI), with initial support from a 2012 National Leadership Grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, supplemented by the Arcadia Fund.

vHMML 1.0, with School, Lexicon, Reference and Folio, launched in October 2015. The first three components were developed by Chad LaVigne of Solution Design Group (sdg) in Golden Valley, Minnesota. The team at the University of Kentucky developed Folio using the rich tools of Scriptorium, the digital environment they designed for collaborative research on manuscripts.

vHMML 2.0 with Reading Room launched in August 2016. Even before the launch of vHMML 1.0, the HMML team was working on a virtual Reading Room that would be the centerpiece of vHMML 2.0. The task required a comprehensive makeover of OLIVER, HMML's online manuscript catalog first developed in the late 1990s. The choice of Mirador, a IIIF-compliant image viewer, and the creation of a new metadata schema to replace OLIVER, put Reading Room at the forefront of developments in manuscript description for digital environments. Reading Room was funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. The new catalog database that replaced OLIVER was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Improvements to vHMML 2.0 were released in the spring of 2018 as the initial results of a Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

vHMML 3.0, a complete reworking of the project with added data-sharing features, was launched in a series of releases between April and September 2018. The new design is optimized for simpler navigation and easier access to search options. Content across the site, including metadata in Reading Room, is now discoverable in web searches as a result of Search Engine Optimization. The new Data Portal and associated vHMML DH site realize HMML's commitment to sharing its metadata with researchers in the most user-friendly manner possible.