Digitisation of the slides so far collected during the condition survey of the library of the St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Egypt.

Principal Investigator: Professor Nicholas Pickwoad
College: Camberwell College of Arts
Main Funder: Headley Trust Grant Scheme
Date: 2005

The monastery of St. Catherine's in Sinai, Egypt, is the oldest active Christian monastery in the world. The monastery's library holds a unique collection of Byzantine manuscripts. Camberwell College of Arts has undertaken the task of assessing the condition of the manuscripts and offering advice on further conservation work.

During the condition assessment of a manuscript, a number of photographs are taken to record key elements of the binding structure. These include the inside and outside of the boards, the spine and foredge, and the head and tail of the book. In certain cases of unusual or complex elements, detail photographs are also taken.  

The slides collected are stored at Camberwell College of Arts. The total number of slides after the condition assessment has finished will be about 30,000. In order to make this source practical to use, the project has received funding from the Headley Trust to digitise the slides and load them in the project's database.

An important factor of the digitisation process is metadata recording. Metadata is information about the structure of the digital images and the images' content, which will ensure that the images will be a) accessible by future software and b) indexed for effective searching (e.g. with keywords).