International Journal on Digital Libraries

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 3–16 | Cite as

SharedCanvas: a collaborative model for digital facsimiles

  • Robert Sanderson
  • Benjamin Albritton
  • Rafael Schwemmer
  • Herbert Van de Sompel


In this article, we present a model based on the principles of Linked Data that can be used to describe the interrelationships of images, texts and other resources to facilitate the interoperability of repositories of medieval manuscripts or other culturally important handwritten documents. The model is designed from a set of requirements derived from the real world use cases of some of the largest digitized medieval content holders, and instantiations of the model are intended as the description to be provided as input to collection-independent page turning and scholarly presentation interfaces. A canvas painting paradigm, such as in PDF and SVG, was selected due to the lack of a one to one correlation between image and page, and to fulfill complex requirements such as when the full text of a page is known, but only fragments of the physical object remain. The model is implemented using technologies such as OAI-ORE Aggregations and Open Annotations, as the fundamental building blocks of emerging Linked Digital Libraries. The model and implementation are evaluated through prototypes of both content providing and consuming applications. Although the system was designed from requirements drawn from the medieval manuscript domain, it is applicable to any layout-oriented presentation of images of text.


Annotation Medieval manuscript  Digital facsimile Linked Data Data model 



This research was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through the “Open Annotation Collaboration” grant and the “Defining a Modular and Interoperating Environment for Collections of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts, Tools and Users” grant. The authors would like to thank the participants at the DMSTech meetings, and the institutions that own the manuscripts for allowing their use in this publication, including Christopher De Hamel, Donnelly Fellow Librarian, and the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Sanderson
    • 1
  • Benjamin Albritton
    • 2
  • Rafael Schwemmer
    • 3
  • Herbert Van de Sompel
    • 1
  1. 1.Research LibraryLos Alamos National LaboratoryLos AlamosUSA
  2. 2.Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.e-codicesFribourgSwitzerland

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