The Visionary Cross Project announces a free beta test of its viewer for the Ruthwell Cross

You can access the test viewer at the following URL:

About the test

We are using this test to gain initial feedback on usability and use cases for the viewer including corrections, and advice for further development, treatment and discussion of potential uses. As a result we are particularly interested in:

  • Suggestions for improvement and additional features that you would like to be added for it being a useful product for all the intended users.
  • Comments on shortcomings or problems with the viewer quality.
  • General feedback and comments on the viewer

We will be collecting comments via a simple feedback questionnaire at the end of your session. The data we collect will be used to assist us refactoring the interface for future official release. Nothing will be shared with third parties or used for other purposes.

Potential use cases

We anticipate that this edition of the cross will be useful for teaching, popularisation activities and self-study. The edition provides a moderately detailed 3D representation of the Ruthwell Cross (optimised for use over the web) that can be rotated and manipulated by the user in various ways (zoom in, turn on and off colour, rotate horizontally and vertically, and examine with a “light source” that can be used to throw features into relief). Annotation aimed at the lay person is associated with each face of the cross and its panels.

Licence and copyright

The material in this viewer is being released under a Creative Commons Attribution Only 3.0 licence (CC-BY). This means that you can Share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format) and/or Adapt (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially) provided you give appropriate credit (as indicated on the beta test site), provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. Use of the Beta test is free of charge.


About the project

The Visionary Cross project is an international, multidisciplinary research project whose principal objective is the development of a new kind of digital archive and edition of texts and objects associated with the Visionary Cross tradition in Anglo-Saxon England. The material this project represents includes some of the most studied and most popular artefacts from the Anglo-Saxon period: the Ruthwell Cross, Bewcastle Cross, Brussels Cross and Vercelli Book Dream of the Rood and Elene poems.

Taking its cue from recent developments in digital editorial theory and practice, the project takes a data-centric, distributed, and generalisable approach to the representation of cultural heritage texts, objects, and contexts in order to encourage broad scholarly and popular engagement with its material.

This is a collaborative project between University of Lethbridge, University of Leeds, Università degli Studi di Torino, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, ISTI-CNR, Pisa.

We are now collecting and publishing these digital representations as part of a thematically organised, Open Access, and extensible, multimedia digital library. We will also develop two other forms of mediated access: a research/educational edition aimed at researchers and students and a more popular interpretative portal designed to work with tourism and cultural heritage outreach activities. We intend to release the final version aimed at:

  • General public/ tourists
  • Scholars working with the artifacts involved
  • Lecturers/Teachers for pedagogical usage

The project has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (O’Donnell, PI), the University of Lethbridge CREDO (O’Donnell, PI), the University of Leeds (Karkov, PI), and the Università degli Studi di Torino (Rosselli Del Turco, PI).


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