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


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 195 – Medical miscellany

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 195, Medical miscellany. This manuscript was written in Germany, between 1450 and 1499, in Middle High German, with some Latin. It is a Medical compilation with a particular focus on the plague, but also including information on diseases of different parts of the body, urine, medicines, laxatives, water and wine, and the making of pigments for painting and inks for writing.

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

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 198 – De simplicibus

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 198, De simplicibus, by Arnaldus, de Villanova. This manuscript was written in Spain, between 1350 and 1380, in Latin, and it is a disbound manuscript of compilation of simples (medicines made from one component) in 85 chapters with lists of plants for general medical functions and for treating specific parts of the body.

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

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 211 – Roger Bigod deed

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 211, a deed of three grants of land by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. The deed was written in Latin between 1201 and 1205, and it is a record of 3 grants of land in Suffolk by Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk, to the sons of magister William de Risinges (Walter, Simon, Eustace, and Peter), for which Bigod received a riding horse, a windmill with a rood of land (possibly the earliest mention of a windmill in Suffolk), and an annual fee.

See the full online facsimile of this work in Penn in Hand. Get access to the raw digital data (high-resolution images and a TEI/XML manuscript description) on OPenn. Download a copy of the video from ScholarlyCommons.

 


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OPenn:  Primary Digital Resources Available to All through Penn Libraries’ New Online Platform

The Penn Libraries and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies are thrilled to announce the launch of OPenn: Primary Resources Available to Everyone (http://openn.library.upenn.edu), a new website that makes digitized cultural heritage material freely available and accessible to the public.  OPenn is a major step in the Libraries’ strategic initiative to embrace open data, with all images and metadata on this site available as free cultural works to be freely studied, applied, copied, or modified by anyone, for any purpose.  It is crucial to the mission of SIMS and the Penn Libraries to make these materials of great interest and research value easy to access and reuse.  The OPenn team at SIMS has been working towards launching the website for the past year.  Director Will Noel’s original idea to make our Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts open to all has grown into a space where the Libraries can collaborate with other institutions who want to open their data to the world.

OPenn launches with the entire corpus of manuscripts donated to the Penn Libraries in 2011 by SIMS founder Lawrence J. Schoenberg and his wife Barbara Brizdle Schoenberg.  The Schoenberg Collection features manuscripts from all over the world, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  To interest the public in the visual splendor of materials on OPenn we have uploaded some images from the Schoenberg Collection onto Flickr at http://tinyurl.com/mm84j7s, with links in the records to OPenn.

More datasets, including manuscripts from the University of Pennsylvania’s own holdings and items from other institutions, will be added to the site in the near future, so stay tuned.  Historic diaries from a variety of institutions belonging to the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) are next in line for inclusion on OPenn.  Many of these documents are unknown while others are celebrated, such as the Union League’s Tanner manuscript: a firsthand account of the events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Images of the manuscripts are currently available on OPenn at full resolution, with derivatives also provided for easy reuse on the web.  Downloading, whether several select images or the entire dataset, is easily accomplished by following instructions or recipes posted in the Technical Read Me on OPenn.  The website is designed to be machine-readable, but easy for individuals to use, too.

SIMS’ very own Dot Porter has already used the dataset to create e-books from the images and metadata on OPenn.  You can download the e-books in the free and open epub format at Penn Libraries’ Scholarly Commons.   She has also used the Internet Archive BookReader, an open source online page-turning book reader, to generate online versions of each manuscript.  An example using LJS 225, Litterarum simulationis liber, can be seen at: http://dorpdev.library.upenn.edu/BookReaders/ljs225/#page/4/mode/2up .  You can search and browse manuscripts in OPenn (along with digitized manuscripts from The Digital Walters) here:  http://viewshare.org/views/leoba/openn-and-digital-walters/.  These formats serve as excellent tools for raising awareness of manuscript culture and for showcasing manuscripts’ unique graphics and aesthetic appeal.  OPenn also enables rigorous study and scholarly discovery by increasing ease of study for researchers interested in these manuscripts.  For instance, images of individual pages can be manipulated to re-create the order in which the pages were written, as opposed to the order in which they were collated for binding, providing leeway in exploration that researchers might not have otherwise.

These are just a few ways the data can be manipulated, but we anticipate surprises once scholars and researchers begin using data on OPenn.  We hope you are inspired to reuse OPenn data and to share your project with the world.  If you have any questions or comments, send us an email at openn@pobox.upenn.edu.


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 215 – Scientific miscellany

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 215, a scientific miscellany compiled by Imbert Fentryer. The manuscript was written in France in 1511, and it is a compendium of astrological charts; astronomical and astrological tables; treatises on astronomy and geometry and instructions for making dyes and pigments and medical preparations.

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

 


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Manuscript Monday: LJS 220 – Recueil de diverses…

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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Fellowship Awarded

Announcing the first recipient of the combined SIMS-Katz Center Fellowship in Jewish Manuscript Studies and the David B. Ruderman Distinguished Scholar Fellowship

SIMS and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies are delighted to announce the first recipient of the combined Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies-Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Fellowship in Jewish Manuscript Studies and the David B. Ruderman Distinguished Scholar Fellowship. Tzvi Langermann, Professor of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an internationally recognized authority on Hebrew and Arabic medicine and the study of scientific manuscripts, will be in residence in the summer of 2015 to research and catalog a 15th-century Sicilian medical miscellany containing texts and notes written in Judeo-Arabic, Hebrew, and Arabic. The manuscript is UPenn MS Codex 1649, a recent addition to the Penn Libraries’ extensive collection of medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts. It is believed to have been compiled by David ben Shalom, a Jewish physician active in Sicily at this time.

Of particular interest is a 15th-century copy of a treatise written in Judeo-Arabic by the 10th-century Persian physician ʻAlī ibn al-ʻAbbās Majūsī (also known by the Latinized name Haly Abbas) entitled Kāmil al-sināʻah al-tibbīyah or Complete Book of the Medical Art. In addition to this fundamental treatise on medical practice in the Arabic world, the manuscript also contains fragments of an unknown 15th-century Hebrew medical treatise and 19th-century notes in Arabic, Samaritan, and Hebrew. These notes were likely added to the manuscript when it was rebound in Ottoman Palestine.  The journey of the manuscript through time and across geographies is a striking testament to the multicultural currents underlying the practice of medieval and early modern medicine the Mediterranean world.

The SIMS-Katz Center Fellowship in Jewish Manuscript Studies presents an exciting opportunity to join the two institutions together in an effort to bring scholars to the Penn Libraries to research the university’s rich holdings in Judaic manuscript material. Fellows will share their discoveries and expertise at a public lecture to be held during or after their fellowship.  Details of Professor Langermann’s lecture in the fall of 2015 will be announced in August.

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