The library website migration to the WMS (Drupal) system was a significant achievement in 2011. Not only was it a success from the standpoint of site organization, it also featured an improved redesign that included many graphical elements. One highlight of the redesign was to refresh the prominent site banner.
After considering numerous banner concepts and reviewing feedback from library staff, the idea was proposed to focus on Rare Books and its collection. The web services librarian in charge of the website and migration, Ed Bilodeau, thought it would be a great opportunity to photograph a rare and unique manuscript. Several unique manuscripts were chosen by the Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, Dr. Richard Virr and these were photographed in a professionally-lit camera room at the back of RBSC.
Although each of the manuscripts was beautifully ornate and interesting in its own right, one image stood out from the rest: the image of St. Jerome examining the pages of a book, much like a visitor to the McGill library would do today. It is from a Book of Hours, Use of Sarum, Flemish or English, c.1450. This image has become emblematic of the McGill library’s incredible collection and is now a signature image on many of its promotional items. The Book of Hours is considered to be from the atelier of Willem Vrelant and is a gift of Sir Thomas and Lady Roddick, 1923.MS 98, Rare Books and Special Collections. Photographing each manuscript was a wonderful and memorable experience. One can easily appreciate the level of detail that can be captured through a lens.
Other manuscripts from Rare Books and Special Collections that were selected to be photographed.