The 10th century is meeting the 21st with the University of Exeter announcing the development of an app that will make medieval manuscripts available to the public. The app, which is being developed in collaboration with interactive museum technology company Antenna International, will allow students and the general public to study manuscripts that until now have been too fragile to be even exhibited.
Unlike in a library, where books are freely accessible, people rarely see these manuscripts as they have to be kept in secure storage. This is partly due to their fragility and high value. The extensive damage to the Exeter Book with its missing pages, glue stains, and partially burnt sections illustrates just how miraculous its survival is. The Exeter Manuscripts project aims to reverse the historic invisibility of these old books, and help Devon to rediscover its written heritage.
The initial stage will be based around Exeter Cathedral’s famous Exeter Book (10th century) which features the Exeter Riddles, a collection of 96 literary mysteries. The book is one of only four surviving manuscripts written in Anglo Saxon. It is more than a thousand years old, but you may soon be able to read it using some very modern technology.
You can read more at the University of Exeter web site at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/research/title_238712_en.html. You can also view a very interesting video of this story on the ITV Westcountry website at http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/story/2012-11-05/app-for-exeter-book/.