The initial stage of the on-line Sinaiticus project is (as already noted) here. The initial stage includes all the leaves currently in Leipzig (43 leaves = 86 pages), comprising portions of 1 Chronicles, 2 Esdras, Esther, Tobit, Jeremiah, and Lamentations. In addition from the British Library portions we have Psalms and Mark's Gospel, as well as additional BL leaves of the books mentioned above. A complete list of available pages (with links) is here.
There are some great things about this web-site:
- The web site is very clear, and it is easy to navigate to get to a particular passage. You can choose what to have displayed (image, transcription, translation, conservation notes).
- The photos are excellent. Very zoomable, excellent detail etc. The raking light option is helpful for whole pages (esp lining techniques etc.) - although these are not, as far as I can see, zoomable. [22.8.08: good news these images are zoomable now.]
- The extra information (when available) is generally interesting. (I confess to being most interested in the photos and the conservation notes.)
- Having all the Leipzig pages is very valuable, since the preservation of the Leipzig pages has long been talked about as a problem. It is also possible to compare the images from London with the images from Leipzig. For example, Quire 34, folio 8 verso (1 Chron 10:11 - 11:22) is in the British Library; while Quire 35, folio 1 recto (1 Chron 11:22 - 12:18) is in the Leipzig University Library. The technical people have done a great job in ensuring precisely the same standards for photos taken in different places at different times. It just looks like you move from one page to the next. The Leipzig pages may not have fared so well in terms of preservation, but they are easily readable and the magnification works fine. (There is a bit more difference to be observed if you compare Quire 37 folio 3 verso (Tobit 1:7 - 2:2; Leipzig); with Quire 37 folio 4 recto (Tobit 2:2 - 3:5; London) - the Leipzig sheet is greyer with much less colour and definition, I can't say whether this is a preservation issue or has some other cause).
Some things I have been a little frustrated with so far (perhaps some of you can work out whether/how these things can be done):
- I wish there was an option to see larger pictures without all the other stuff - at the lowest magnification I somehow can't even get a whole page at once (on either of my two large screens - perhaps I need a giant screen?). I would like to have a whole screen option for the pictures (the fullscreen button on the left helps only a little).
- You can't seem to get whole openings, i.e. eight columns, to get the (intended?) perspective of the codex. Well you can by having two windows at once, but they won't sync.
- The only way to get front and back of a page up at the same time is to open two windows, but they (obviously) also don't stay in sync. I wanted to do this to check bleed-through options in some of the less clear pages (e.g. Mark 16). That is probably pretty hard to programme.
- It would be nice to be able to get access to the raw photos for some playing around in Photoshop - that would help with some readings, with bleed through, etc. At this stage the images are all protected and packaged - you get access on their terms. Fair enough for the BL et al at this stage, but hopefully there might be ways to get access to the photographs at some point in the future.
- The print option doesn't work at all for me, and doesn't give you much control over what part of the image or at what magnification you want.
- I can't seem to find out any details about the digital photography. The web-site says: "To make sure that the images produced were consistent, common standards and imaging practices were established across all venues by the Technical Standards Working Party. The recommendations included equipment (cameras, camera software, lighting, lenses, etc.) and processes (setup, colour profiling, etc.)." So you can find out who was on the TSWP, but you can't find out what the technical standards actually are. Seems curious.
- Something similar could be said about the "Conservation" aspect. The web-site seems to say that although one of the aims of the project was "to devise a strategy that protected the leaves from any possible harm and preserved them for the future" this has not actually happened as yet, since "Conservation treatment of leaves was strictly limited to what was required to stabilise them for imaging." Meanwhile the team produced an "internationally-agreed terminology for describing and analysing the physical features of a manuscript and, together with the images made available by the project, has produced a model for conservators and scholars around the world" - but again, as yet I can't see that anyone can get access to this "terminology".
Hopefully some of these are slated for later iterations of the web-site.