The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at Penn brings manuscript culture, modern technology and people together.


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7th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age

November 6-8, 2014
Collecting Histories

In partnership with the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies is pleased to announce the 7th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age. This year’s symposium highlights the work of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts by bringing together scholars and digital humanists whose work concerns the study of provenance and the history of collecting pre-modern manuscripts. The life of a manuscript book only just begins when the scribe lays down his pen. What happens from that moment to the present day can reveal a wealth of information about readership and reception across time, about the values of societies, institutions, and individuals who create, conserve, and disperse manuscript collections for a variety of reasons, and about the changing role of manuscripts across time, from simple vehicles of textual transmission to revered objects of collectors’ desires.  The study of provenance is the study of the histories of the book.

For more information and to register online, go to

 http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/lectures/ljs_symposium7.html


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 27 – Algorismus

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 27,  Algorismus, by Pietro Paolo Muscarello. The manuscript was written in Italy in 1478, in Italian, and it is a Pedagogical treatise on commercial and practical arithmetic, with extensive use of arabic numerals and problems illustrated with scenes from daily life.

See the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 225, Litterarum simulationis liber.

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 225,  Litterarum simulationis liber, by Michael Zopello. This manuscript was written in Rome between 1455 and 1458, in Latin and Italian. It was a presentation copy for Pope Callistus III of a work on cryptography that describes two systems: in the first, Italian words beginning with one letter are all represented by Italian words beginning with another letter; in the second, signs or symbols represent letters or entire Italian words (titles, city names, and numbers).

See the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 226, Certain astrological and astronomical figures

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s  LJS 226, Certain astrological and astronomical figures: cut out of a manuscript book dated 1410. The manuscript is in Latin and was written in England and Spain ca. 1410. It is a collection of astrological and astronomical diagrams gathered from 3 earlier manuscripts.

See the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 220, Recueil de diverses recettes médécinales

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 220,  Recueil de diverses recettes médécinales. The manuscript was written in France, between 1475 and 1490, in Middle French, with some sections in Latin. It is a collection of medical preparations for a wide variety of ailments, including headaches, eye problems, toothaches, animal bites, gout, and pleurisy, with more general introductory material on the four elements, the four humors, the signs of the zodiac, and the planets.

See the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand.

 


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Visualizing the Construction of Manuscripts, through Collation and Video (DigiPal IV Symposium)

It’s been a month now since the fabulous DigiPal IV Symposium, and I’ve been meaning to share the video of my own contribution to that event since I returned to Penn in early September. My talk is “Visualizing the Construction of Manuscripts, through Collation and Video,” and introduces two projects that we are actively undertaking here at SIMS. The first is a visualization system for the physical collation of medieval manuscripts (see some example results, and our slightly out-of-date source code on GitHub), and our ongoing project to create videos about manuscripts in our collection.

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 57, Astronomical anthology

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 57,  Astronomical anthology, a collection of astronomical texts . The manuscript was written in Catalonia ca. 1361 in Hebrew and it includes a copy of a treatise on the calendar originally compiled for Pedro IV, King of Aragon, with an almanac of oppositions and conjunctions of the sun and moon and predictions of lunar and solar eclipses; four short works by the 12th-century scientist Abraham Ibn Ezra on an introduction to astrology, choosing the most auspicious moment for a given activity, the zodiac, and astrology concerning humankind collectively; and a Hebrew translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest, with numerous tables, diagrams, and illustrations.

See the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand.

 


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Volvelles: LJS 64, Illustrations to Peurbach, p. 4, Theorica motus orbis supremi super cetero mundi

Over the next several months, we’ll be creating Vines (short six-second videos) and animated gifs of all the moving volvelles in our copy of Illustrations to Georg von Peurbach’s Novae theoricae planetarum, LJS 64. This project has a few different aims. First, we’d like to show off one of the gems of our collection. This mid-16th century manuscript was created entirely by hand, to illustrate the theories of planetary motion described in Peurbach’s work. Volvelles are rotating diagrams that illustrate motion through the use of rotating circles. Although the volvelles in LJS 64 start out fairly simply (the volvelle shown in this post is a single piece of paper) as the book progresses they become more complex, and include layered circles, some of those layers having varied rotation points, and some with cut-outs that show the layers underneath. A facsimile of the manuscript is online at Penn in Hand, so you can page through a get a sense of what the volvelles look like – but those volvelles won’t move.

To get a sense of how the volvelles function, we’re creating two different virtual versions of each. One is an animated gif, created by layering and animating still images of the volvelle in Photoshop. The second is a short video, created using the Vine app, which shows a hand moving the pieces of the volvelle in real time. The more complex diagrams may require multiple Vines to show the complete movement. This leads us to the final aim of this project: to illustrate how different a fully virtual, contrived interaction with a physical object (an animated gif) is different from a hands-on interaction with that same object. Although the animated gif and the video ostensibly show the same thing, they are substantially different. And although the video supposes to show “here is how it looks in real life,” it still isn’t the same experience that you would have if you were sitting at the table moving the volvelle yourself.

Without further ado, here are our first virtual volvelles. This volvelle is captioned Theorica motus orbis supremi super cetero mundi (Theory/observations of the motion of the highest orb/body above the rest of the world.)

Animated gif, Theorica motus orbis supremi super cetero mundi, p. 4

Theorica motus orbis supremi super cetero mundi, p. 4

Theorica motus orbis supremi super cetero mundi, p. 4

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