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Teaching with Special Collections

Show original items from the Special Collections in courses and lectures

Teachers may use original items from the Special Collections in the lecture rooms of the University Library. To book a lecture room and obtain permission to use items from the Special Collections please fill in the online form. Requests need to be made at least two weeks in advance.

It is recommended to use the overhead visualizer for displaying the objects during lectures. The visualizer can also be used for online lectures.  The visualizer may only be used after instruction. 

The next visualizer training session will be on July 5,  from 11h30 to 12h30. For more information about the training and how to enroll, please see courses

Read Handleiding voor docenten and  Hanteerinstructie voor objecten before your lecture. During the lecture only the teacher is permitted to handle the objects. The number of objects to display must be limited. Exceptions only after approval of the curator.

English subtitles are available for the video below.

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Overhead visualizer

Leiden University Libraries provides an overhead visualizer for use during lectures. This device gives teachers the opportunity to enrich their presentations with material from the Special Collections. Books, manuscripts, prints, drawings and photographical material can be displayed live on screen, both in the UBL lecture room and during online classes.

The overhead visualizer makes various forms of interactive teaching possible:

  • The device has a high-quality camera. This makes it possible to show details that are hardly or not visible to the naked eye. Therefor students do not have to stand shoulder to shoulder in order to view the material properly.
  • Students can watch the lecture live via Teams or Kaltura Live.
  • Teachers can zoom in and out in a user-friendly way, and freeze the screen to compare prints on consecutive sheets of a book.
  • During the lecture, teachers can take snapshots and short videos and store  them on a USB stick for later use.
  • It is also possible to book the visualizer to record videos in preparation for a lecture.

Digital Manuscripts in the Classroom

Digital Manuscripts in the Classroom is an educational resource on medieval manuscripts and an initiative of Erik Kwakkel, former Scaliger Professor at Leiden University. The website provides a means to integrate medieval manuscripts in the classroom through short introductory texts aimed at non-experts. Integrated questions prompt students to examine certain aspects of the manuscripts, which they can view in digital form, using the separate window at the top of each web page.

All manuscripts presented on the website were selected from Leiden’s Special Collections by Erik Kwakkel and digitised by library staff, thanks to funding made available by the then Rector Magnificus of Leiden University Carel Stolker. The website was designed and realised by the library’s Centre for Digital Scholarship.

At this moment three ‘educational routes’ (containing 24 manuscripts each) cover the following subjects: Books for Professional Use; Liberal Arts and Education; Religion and Devotion. Hopefully, other subjects can be added in due time, with the help of teachers and students.

Digital Manuscripts in the Classroom also incorporates Quill, a former website about particular aspects of medieval book production – created in 2014. The Quill information is reshaped into two webpages Quill: Introduction and Quill: Glossary.

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