Reality or Virtuality?

 A collection of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts from the Parker Library at Corpus Christi, Cambridge, has been digitised and is now available on the internet. Take a look. They are a fabulous glimpse into history.  My first thought was how can digital data ever compare with these beautiful pages showing the lost art of illumination, from a time when few could read and even less had access to the expensive inks and vellum parchments. What will we leave behind other than mountains of obsolete system units and monitors and electronic content that’s inaccessible without the means to interpret and display it. But then you realise that without an internet collection we wouldn’t be seeing these manuscripts in the first place. The only ones I’ve seen have been in various museums around the country and the Henry VIII exhibition last year at the British Library (cost in the travel and entrance ticket). So maybe the virtual is better than not having the reality at all.  If you need convincing then the British Library’s Turning the Pages should do it. This digitisation of priceless manuscripts has been online for several years. As well as Leonardo, Blake and Austen, it includes treasures like the changing seasons of the Luttrell Psalter and the stunning anglo saxon Lindsifarne Gospels.  Virtual history doesn’t get much better than this!

pages from the Lindisfarne Gospels

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