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Technology opens up rare history resources

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Fragile medieval manuscripts detailing the Hundred Years’ War between France and England from 1337 to 1453 have been digitised thanks to a project carried out by The University of Sheffield and IT experts Tribal. The result of this project, known as Kiosque, is currently on show as a core part of a new exhibition at the Royal Armouries in Leeds, UK.

The interactive technology allows digital pictures of the manuscripts to be manipulated in a way that was previously impossible, claims Tribal. This allows viewers to zoom in and out to view the documents and also read some of the stories that appear in the manuscripts in a way that is engaging for ordinary visitors.

Normally these rare and valuable manuscripts, valued at over £3 million, are only available on special request to researchers and not usually accessible to the general public, as the original manuscripts have to be preserved in special storage conditions requiring humidity, light and temperature control. From 2008 Tribal expects to make the software available to organisations across the arts, heritage, museums and libraries sectors.