By design, MACaP combines aspects of the physical and the digital world by making accessible digital images of century-old physical manuscripts from all over the Caucasus, Middle East, and Europe to an international audience in a digital form.
To allow the user maximum flexibility and and still provide ample information and introduction, there will be two different modes of operation by the end of the project: the guided mode will present pre-set workflows (see below) meant to gradually introduce the user to a particular idea (e.g. particular form of writing, layout, manuscript hand) in the form of a lesson; in this mode, longer commentaries, notes, and links are displayed beneath the image, and relevant aspects of each digitised manuscript highlighted. This mode will serve as part of lectures, or as a free-standing digital learning tool.
The alternative is the browsing mode: the user may access and work with the available manuscripts, opening one or multiple at a time, choosing to look at them individually or in tandem (see “co-ordinated images” below). Apart from basic catalogue information, no other data is displayed by default, but annotations are optionally available.
Next to the availability of digital images, the following features in the process of being implemented desirable:
- pre-set workflows: a workflow contains a series of digital manuscript pages or zoom-states of such pages set to appear in a specific order; this may serve to explore, e.g., a manuscript hand, the development of letterforms throughout time, or the development of design features and colour schemes in miniatures. Substantial annotations, links, and commentary will be provided.
- co-ordinated images: in browsing mode, and as a tool in the creation of pre-set workflows, multiple manuscripts may be loaded simultaneously into the Mirador viewer. Defined reference points in the these manuscripts (if present) will optionally effect that zooming in on a feature in one manuscript will cause the same (or a related) feature to be magnified in the second open manuscript. The ability to display multiple images next to one another is of great advantage, since this is often not possible when dealing with physical manuscripts.
- loading external data: individual images and zoom states are accompanied by descriptions, commentaries, explanations, and links (e.g. to zoom-states) site-internally; manuscript information, however, may be loaded from already existing, external TEI-XML files.
- hard-linking: to facilitate sharing and communication, each pre-set workflow and user-created zoom state has a hard-link.
- highlighting: beyond zooming in on particular features, elements of a manuscript (such as a particular letter form) can be highlighted graphically and annotated.Highlighting can be saved, and switched on or off in guided mode.
These tools will allow for the Manual of Armenian Codicology and Palaeography to be used both in a classroom setting for group teaching, as well as by the individual user at home.
Doing justice to MACaP‘s roots in the physical world, we aim to compile a printed Manual of Armenian Codicology and Palaeography in due course.