The Johns Hopkins Gazette: January 29, 2001
January 29, 2001
VOL. 30, NO. 19


JHU Teams With Oxford To Develop Digital Library Initiatives

Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

The Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins and Oxford University Library Services in the United Kingdom have formed an alliance to develop digital library initiatives. Collaborative efforts will include activities ranging from staff visits and exchanges to joint digitization and publishing projects and combined development of instructional technology initiatives.

"We are delighted to have this exciting opportunity to collaborate with the Oxford libraries in advancing the development of digital library capabilities," said Jim Neal, dean of university libraries at Hopkins. "The digital library programs at each institution will be significantly enhanced and will serve as a model for future global library collaborations."

The Johns Hopkins-Oxford University alliance grew out of a successful earlier collaborative effort associated with the Johns Hopkins Medieval Manuscripts Project. The first phase of this project digitized manuscripts of Le Roman de la Rose, a principal medieval text, from three libraries: the Bodleian Library at Oxford, the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Now in its second phase, the Medieval Manuscripts Project will create new possibilities for digital library scholarly research and services through the creation of digital surrogates.

"It is particularly pleasing to be partnering with Johns Hopkins in the arena of digital library developments," said Reg Carr, director of University Library Services at Oxford. "Both of our library systems have embarked on digital initiatives which have much to gain from closer interworking, in terms of enhanced expertise and collaborative experience. We are confident that our joint efforts will bring mutual benefits to our common support for the scholarly enterprise."

During a March planning meeting to be held in Oxford, members of the joint committee will agree on a tentative schedule of projects. One of the first will likely be a large-scale digitization of the sheet music collections at both universities. The project will enhance the Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins, which consists of more than 30,000 pieces of American popular music and is now online in a searchable database. Computer engineers from both libraries hope to create an optical and audio search engine of the musical notes from the combined collections.