Technical Details

Questions about the technical work can be sent to Research IT, University of Bristol (,


The Manuscript Pamphleteering in Early Stuart England (MPESE) project contains over 1700 XML documents that represent texts, manuscripts and people. An instance of the eXistdb database is used to store the data and provide a platform for running the application. The data and the source code of the application are available on GitHub. VARD 2 was used to normalize, i.e. modernize spelling, texts with transcripts to improve the keyword searching.


The British Library digitised ~2500 pages of their manuscripts and the TIFF files were processed with ImageMagick on the University of Bristol’s High-Performance Computing cluster to produce Zeep Zoom images. Using OpenSeadragon, the MPESE application provides high-quality photographs of pamphlets next to their transcripts.


It is possible to get different representations of texts by changing the file extension in the URL, for example:




Text (no formatting):

XML (minimum markup, used by VARD 2)

For manuscripts, we only provide an HTML and XML representation:




A Puppet configuration management module was written to deploy the eXist database onto University of Bristol infrastructure. The module was contributed back to the eXist project and is now available to the open source community.