Last week we were delighted to receive an email from Dr. Christoph Egger of the Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung about Ms. Codex 615, a fourteenth-century manuscript from Bohemia of Alain de Lille’s De planctu naturae. Penn purchased this manuscript from Philadelphia bookdealer William H. Allen in 1951, but we knew nothing about its journeys before that. Thanks to our digital facsimile available online, Dr. Egger identified Ms. Codex 615 as formerly MS 478 in the library of Stift Admont, the Benedictine monastery in the town of Admont, in central Austria. The monastery’s library still owns more than 1,400 manuscripts. Our manuscript has the Admont shelfmark on a label on its spine, shown here, and is described in a catalog of the monastery’s manuscripts, itself a manuscript compiled by Jakob Wichner in 1888, which is also fully available online thanks to manuscripta.at. The entry for MS 478 has a note added in pencil recording the sale of this manuscript in 1938 to Brecher, who, according to Dr. Egger, was an antiquarian bookdealer in Brno. For the source of this excellent information, details on more manuscripts from Admont now in other libraries, and a reunion of Ms. Codex 615 with some of its old friends, please see Dr. Egger’s post, “olim Admont,” on the Iter Austriacum blog.
Today we welcome Dr. Megan Cook, Assistant Professor of English at Colby College, to talk about her experience bringing SIMS into her classroom through a Virtual Classroom Visit. We offer VCV’s for instructors an institutions that don’t have their own strong special collections holdings. If you’re interested in a VCV please contact us, but be sure to check with your local librarians first! You might be surprised by what’s available on your own campus.
I teach in the English department of a small liberal arts college in rural Maine. As a medievalist and a book historian, I consider myself hugely fortunate to be teaching at a moment when increasingly large numbers of medieval manuscripts are being digitized and made available online, but even these have their limitations.
Until some friendly donor buys us our own medieval codex, I’m looking for ways to give my students a better sense of the materiality of early books: not only what they look like in a two-dimensional photograph, but how ink sits on parchment, how bindings fall open to a frequently referenced page, how a manuscript sits in the hands.
In the past, I’ve made use of the video introductions to some of the University of Pennsylvania manuscripts available online. This semester, I took things a step farther, and arranged for a virtual visit to Penn’s collections with Dot Porter, a Curator at the Kislak Center for Special Collections at Penn, for my class on the Global Middle Ages. This visit would allow my students to see, up close and in real time, some manuscripts related to our work in the class.
In my class on the global middle ages, we study travel literature from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. Through texts like Marco Polo’s Book of Wonders of the World, Ibn Battutah’s Travels, and the account of Benjamin of Tudela, students come to understand that a significant body of shared knowledge and ideas about the shape of the world circulated among writers of diverse backgrounds in the later Middle Ages. We note, for example, how often discussions of Gog and Magog appear in travel writing when it turns its attention toward central Asia, and trace a fondness for the Alexander stories shared by writers from all three traditions.
Although Penn does not have manuscripts of any of the texts we were reading in class, their collection includes numerous titles in Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew. Dot helped me plan the class by identifying several texts (mostly of the scientific variety) that Penn has copies of in all three languages. A complete list of the manuscripts we looked at is appended to this post.
A note on the tech side of things: at Colby, I’m fortunate to have access to an “experimental” classroom with a series of flat screens mounted on the walls (in addition to the standard LED projector) that can be paired with laptops or other devices using AirMedia. Dot and I wound up using Zoom, which we both found to be a more stable alternative to Skype that offered a higher quality of video connection. We created a group meeting on Zoom, and connected a series of laptops to individual screens in my classroom. With the laptops and their paired screens connected to the group meeting, Dot’s feed was broadcast to four screens around the classroom. Students could gather around individual in groups of four or five, so that no one was more than a few feet away from a screen and could see the details over the feed.
For many of my students, this was the first time they had seen a medieval book being manipulated in real time. Because of the high quality of the connection, they were able to observe small details like the grain of the parchment and the mark where the point of a compass had been placed to make a diagram showing the movement of the stars. We also discussed some of the paratextual elements and signs of use and ownership that accompany almost all medieval books, and which can be minimized or omitted entirely in some digital facsimiles– end papers and binding, as well as marginalia and visible wear on particularly interesting or important pages.
Though my students did not necessarily connect what we were looking at with our reading, this small exercise has allowed them to treat the other evidence we’ve looked at with a more critical and informed eye. As we close the semester, we are reading Mandeville’s Travels, the great and highly fictionalized account of a (probably fictional) Englishman’s travels throughout the known world. Mandeville’s Travels was a medieval bestseller, and translated into a wide array of languages. Having seen the manuscripts we looked at with Dot, my students are able to ask smarter questions about what the manuscript evidence can tell us: they want to know if a particular book is illustrated, what other kinds of texts it appears alongside, and even what kind of material it was written on.
Book historians know that these questions matter and these non-textual clues often unlock big mysteries about a work’s origins and circulation. Although our visit with Dot in some ways raised more questions than answers, it certainly piqued students’ curiosity and appetite for more encounters with medieval books.
Manuscripts we looked at during the visit (Penn in Hand is a page-turning view, while OPenn contains data suitable for download and reuse):
The first two manuscripts contain versions of the same text, written in different parts of the world and almost 300 years apart.
LJS 459 Sirr al-asrar
- Penn in Hand: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/5803344
- OPenn: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0001/html/ljs459.html
Origin: Probably written in Mosul, Iraq, between 1193 and 1211 (reign of owner named on f. 1r).
Date: between 1193 and 1211
Place: Mosul?, Iraq
Summary: Early copy of the long form of this popular treatise presented as a letter from Aristotle to Alexander the Great on statecraft, astronomy, astrology, magic, and medicine. The ending of the manuscript is missing; the text breaks off during a discussion of magical alphabets.
Ms. Codex 864 – [Extract from Secretum secretorum]
- Penn in Hand: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/3178055
- OPenn: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0002/html/mscodex864.html
Origin: Written in Germany, 1450-1499 (Zacour-Hirsch).
Summary: A portion of a work purporting to be a letter of advice from Aristotle to Alexander the Great.
The next four manuscripts illustrate the popularity of the astronomical works of Johannes de Sacro Bosco and Georg von Peuerbach over time and across geographical areas.
LJS 42 – Bet Elohim
- Penn in Hand: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/5797761
- OPenn: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0001/html/ljs42.html
Origin: Written in Thessalonikē (Salonika), Greece, 1551 (f. 76r, 168r).
Summary: Commentary on Solomon ben Abraham Avigdor’s Hebrew translation of Joannes de Sacro Bosco’s Sphaera mundi, followed by a commentary on a Hebrew translation, possibly by Almosnino himself, of Georg von Peurbach’s Theoricae novae planetarum, with the assistance of Aharon Afia. This copy was made 5 years after the works were composed in 1546 (f. 168r). Almosnino’s commentary on Sacro Bosco includes the earliest reference in Jewish literature to Amerigo Vespucci and America (f. 23v), among discussion of other geographical discoveries.
LJS 26 – Algorismus : Tractatum de sphaera [aka Sacro Bosco]
- Penn in Hand: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/4646348
- OPenn: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0001/html/ljs26.html
Origin: Written in Italy in the mid-13th century.
Date: between 1225 and 1275
Summary: Treatise on the fundamentals of arithmetic (Algorismus), followed by a treatise on cosmography that describes and illustrates the Ptolemaic model of a spherical earth divided into climactic zones at the center of the concentric spheres of the universe. The second treatise has marginal notes in the same ink and possibly hand as the text, as well as notes in a later cursive hand in faint ink and a bifolium written in this later hand bound in (f. 23-24).
LJS 494: [Marʼeh ha-ofanim]
- Penn in Hand: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/5963091
- OPenn: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0001/html/ljs494.html
Origin: Written in northern Italy in the second quarter of the 15th century (based on watermark information).
Date: between 1425 and 1450
Summary: Hebrew translation of a fundamental treatise on medieval astronomy and cosmology [ed. Sacro Bosco] that describes and illustrates the Ptolemaic model of a spherical earth divided into climactic zones at the center of the concentric spheres of the universe. Followed by Ruaḥ ha-ḥen, a 13th-century philosophical work that was a popular introduction to science, here attributed to Yehudah ibn Tibon. It has also been attributed to Jacob ben Abba Mari ben Samson Anatoli and Zeraḥyah ha-Yeṿani. Occasional marginal notes. Final page contains Hebrew notes and pen trials by various hands (f. 22v).
LJS 64: [Illustrations to Georg von Peurbach’s Novae theoricae planetarum]
- Penn in Hand: http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/4809379
- OPenn: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0001/html/ljs64.html
Origin: Written in northern Italy, probably Padua, in the mid-16th century.
Date: between 1525 and 1575
Place: Padua?, Italy
Summary: Diagrams, many with moving parts, designed to accompany the work Theoricae novae planetarum by 15th-century Austrian astronomer Georg von Peurbach, who taught at the universities in Padua and Ferrara. The diagrams demonstrate increasingly complex planetary motion. An early 17th-century inscription on the first flyleaf refers to an edition of Peurbach published in Venice in 1616.
Thanks to “The Arabic original of (ps.) Māshā’allāh’s Liber de orbe: its date and authorship” (British Journal for the History of Science 48.2 (June 2015), p. 321-352) by Taro Mimura, associate professor at Hiroshima University, Japan, new information is available about LJS 439, formerly cataloged as an unidentified 14th-century cosmological treatise. Using the digital facsimile of LJS 439, Dr. Mimura was able to identify this manuscript as one of two known copies of the 10th-century Arabic original of the Book on the Configuration of the Orb. The other copy is Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Ms. or. oct. 273. The Arabic work was previously known only through Maimonides’s use of an example from it and through Latin translations. Dr. Mimura attributes the text to Dunash ibn Tamim, a student of Fatimid court physician and philosopher Isaac Israeli, and he is preparing an edition of the Arabic Liber de orbe based on these two manuscripts.
The Penn Libraries is proud to announce the launch of the first Massive Open Online Course Collaboration (MOOC) from the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies: “The History of Medieval Medicine through Jewish Manuscripts.”
Launching on June 1st, this online mini-course is a general introduction both to medieval medicine and to the value of manuscript study taught by Professor Y. Tzvi Langermann, Professor of Arabic at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University and last year’s Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies-Herbert D. Katz Center Jewish Manuscript Studies Fellow. Professor Langermann presents a case study that builds from a unique manuscript codex produced in the 15th century containing three important medical manuscripts in Judeo-Arabic (Arabic in Hebrew characters). Compiled in Sicily by a physician identified as David ben Shalom, the manuscript bears witness to the rich cultural exchanges among Latin, Jewish, and Arabic communities during this time, especially in the sciences. In this course, Professor Langermann not only walks the student through the basics of medical knowledge, training,
and practice in the Jewish Middle Ages and beyond, but also shows how clues gleaned from elements of a particular manuscript (such as marginal notes, mistakes, and handwriting) shed light on the purpose, use, and readership of these texts. The course includes eight 5–7 minute long video lectures that explore the highlights of this extraordinary manuscript.
“The History of Medieval Medicine through Jewish Manuscripts” is offered free to anyone with an internet connection at http://www.edX.org (search the term “Langermann”). The course is self-paced and takes about 2 hours to complete. The content will not be inaccessible to the novice, but the nature of the material and the level of scholarship should interest graduate students and colleagues from a range of disciplines. There is an active discussion forum, and a link to the full manuscript in digital form. The course will initially be monitored by a TA with specialties in medieval Jewish history, and Hebrew and Judeo Arabic language. Professor Langermann himself will also occasionally participate in the discussions and respond to student queries.
At this moment the Penn Libraries are embarking on a search for a senior conservator and eagerly anticipating the September opening of a new, 3,500-square-foot conservation lab in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. It’s a good time for a story about what conservation can do.
For some students, a 600-year-old manuscript works its magic on their imagination and curiosity even if they can’t read what’s written on its pages. But, not surprisingly, being able to make out even a few lines of text takes students to another level, slowing them down to experience script and page layout for themselves. So opportunities to read open up more pedagogical possibilities for faculty. Students with skills in Latin or Italian have an abundance of choices among the manuscripts of the Kislak Center. Students with skills in French or German have a respectable array from which to choose. But for students whose needs would be best met by early English manuscripts, we have only a precious handful — five manuscripts.
Middle English manuscripts are now extremely difficult to acquire, and we are fortunate to have these five manuscripts from acquisitions of the 1940s and early 1950s. But they had hard lives before coming to the library, all but one having been rebound by owners of past centuries, often trimmed to fit into not particularly durable new bindings, and at the library the manuscripts continue to work hard for students, faculty, and library staff.
Thanks to a gift from long-time Libraries friend Bruce McKittrick and the work of Richard Homer, a conservator at Philadelphia’s Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), one of these manuscripts is newly useful for research and teaching. It has a solid new binding that better reflects the probable weight and shape of the manuscript’s original binding and that provides stability, flexibility, and protection for the manuscript inside. Continue reading
Philadelphia, PA, January 6th, 2016—The Penn Libraries is proud to announce their role as online host and one of the leaders in a partnership that will create the country’s largest regional collection of digitized medieval manuscripts. This role is made possible through a grant of almost $500,000 awarded to Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis, a new project organized by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) and funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The project, involving a total of 15 partner institutions, and led by the Penn Libraries, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and Lehigh University, will complete the digitization and online presentation of virtually all of the region’s medieval manuscripts – a total of almost 160,000 pages from more than 400 individual volumes. PACSCL first showcased the variety and depth of Philadelphia collections in a 2001 exhibition, “Leaves of Gold: Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections,” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibition and its associated catalogue drew heavily upon the manuscripts to be digitized in this project and sparked a surge in scholarly interest in the Philadelphia collections.
The manuscripts in this project range from simple but functional texts intended for the students of science, philosophy, and religion to jewel-like works of art in the collections of such institutions as Bryn Mawr College, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum.
Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis’ images and metadata will be hosted by the Penn Libraries’ manuscript portal, OPenn (http://openn.library.upenn.edu). The images will be released into the public domain at high resolution and available for download (by the page, manuscript, or collection) with descriptive metadata. “Penn Libraries is thrilled to be collaborating with the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to create data on the Middle Ages for the twenty-first century from American collections,” remarked William Noel, Director of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Penn Libraries.
The project participants include the following area libraries and museums: Bryn Mawr College, Chemical Heritage Foundation, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Franklin and Marshall College, Free Library of Philadelphia (lead contributor and co-principal investigator) Haverford College, Lehigh University (principal investigator, fiscal agent, and dark archive), Library Company of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rosenbach Museum and Library, Swarthmore College, Temple University, University of Delaware, University of Pennsylvania (OPenn host and lead imaging/metadata center), Villanova University.
About the Penn Libraries
The Penn Libraries serve the world-class faculty and students of Penn’s 12 schools. The Libraries’ collections comprise more than 7 million volumes, over 100,000 journals, some 2 million digitized images, and extraordinary rare and unique materials that document the intellectual and cultural experience of ancient and modern civilizations. Through our collaborative relationships, we supplement Penn’s great local collections with physical access to the Center for Research Libraries (approximately 5 million items), the combined holdings of the Ivies (more than 70 million volumes), and exclusive electronic access to some 2 million public domain titles in the HathiTrust. Today, the Libraries play an instrumental role in developing new technologies for information discovery and dissemination and are noted for groundbreaking work in digital library design. To learn more about the Penn Libraries, visit http://www.library.upenn.edu.
By Jesse McDowell
Certainly the book I was assigned in Will Noel and Dot Porter’s course in Rare Book School, “The Medieval Manuscript in the Twenty-First Century,” ascribed to the course’s title quite seemingly. I spent my time working with a nicely old Carolingian manuscript from 9th-century France, LJS 101. Like many medieval manuscripts, this one has been bound more than once, and so came the use of text-matching and open data to literally restructure the original physicality of the book in digital form.
LJS 101 is a parchment manuscript bound in 10 quires containing Boethius’s Latin translation of Aristotle’s De interpretatione (On Interpretation). It originates from north-central France, most likely the abbey at Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire (also known as the Abbaye de Fleury).
However, the book contains more than a translation. Though LJS 101 originates in the 9th-century, it contains replacement leaves added to the beginning and end in the 11th-century (current fols. 1-4 and 45-64), with seemingly the same hand correcting the first scribe in his translational slips. Also in the 11th century, color was added to existing initials and to diagrams charting Aristotle’s formal connection between language and logic. Though my narrative does not perform anything close to a textual study, we’ll call these two scribes Scribe A (9th-cent hand) and Scribe B (11th-cent hand) in the same vein as textual critics.
Scribe A composed the body of the translation itself from folios 5-44. Scribe B’s contribution is sparser, his hand (as mentioned above) showing complete replacement leaves at folios 1-4 and 45-64, as well as added corrections and glossed material throughout the manuscript. Scribe B introduces new genres in folios 45-64 (as the catalogue describes):
“the Perihermeniae attributed to Apulieus, a poem by Decimus Magnus Ausonius on the seven days of Creation, a sample letter of a monk to an abbot with [more] interlinear and marginal glosses, and other miscellaneous verses, definitions, and excerpts.”
What is most striking about Scribe B’s contribution to this manuscript is the firm variety which it comes with. We know that Carolingian miniscule became a widely used script to compose codices for professional and educational purposes from the 9th to the 13th-century. Scribes used this script widely on into the 12th-century for a variety of reasons, right when books were being produced by a number of different workers in the secular world. The script itself became codified and sharpened as a professional way of composing. If we can approximate the burgeoning use of Carolingian miniscule to c. 800, then we can hypothesize that Scribe A was quite new at this script. Indeed, the spaces between words are much clearer in Scribe B’s contributions in fol. 1-4 and 45-64, as this is one chief characteristic of a well-practiced hand.
In attempting to establish the structure of the book, there seemed to be a discrepancy between my collation formula and that determined by the cataloguer. The manuscript contains a 19th-century foliation and has prickings throughout, though this proved fruitless when trying to establish just how many gatherings the bound object contained. Initially the collation differences presented a problem in establishing structure. In short, the catalogued information accounted for 9 quires to the 10 I came up with over and over again in my own count.
We were both accounting for the same number of leaves in the manuscript. We also both noticed a discrepancy in the current 2nd and 3rd quires. Herein was the problem: with some help from Will Noel, I discovered that the current quires 2-3 were misplaced. The first problem was that Gregory’s Rule – hair side of parchment always faces hair side – was broken, at 8v-9r. Under my collation, there was no way to tell where the ‘missing’ leaf was.
Codicologists meet problems with incorrect binding all the time, and while this binding and foliation didn’t account for the discrepancy in the leaves, re-examination of the book eventually did. The manuscript’s current binding comes in an English diced Russia leather for Sir Thomas Phillips in the 19th-century. The watermark on the pastedown shows a shelfmark for ‘J. Whatman 1832.’ This could very well be a manifestation of the use of old books by antiquarians in the 19th-century who, not well understanding the nature of medieval codices, re-bind and re-label them into new codices for personal keepsakes and exhibition. Elizabeth Kolbert writes to this reality of antiquarians and aristocrats housing artifacts and even fossils in the 19th-century as collectors, rather than researchers. Alas, this seems to epitomize the life of most old books in the hands owners who do not expose them to research. In the same vein, we should not keep books from being digitized. According to Tim Stinson‘s research, less than 2% of the entirety of medieval manuscripts in the world have been digitized. Though this statistic is now a few years old, we might be able to look to the future of accessible manuscripts with a sense of positivity, as recently the Vatican Library put over 4,000 of their manuscripts online for free. But what does this mean for the researcher? Certainly the step now is to not just digitize quickly, but release the manuscripts as Open Data (not with restrictive licenses), as Penn has done with their collections in OPenn.
In the case of LJS 101, I couldn’t examine this central problem of a missing folio without digital images and access to 19th-century editions. I had to find where the text matched up after 8v— for it was not the current 9r. It was time to search for a relatively modern edition of the Latin text itself to reconcile the discrepancy. I found an 1877 edition in HathiTrust (ed. Karl Meiser).
The end of the current 8v contained text that correlated with that of the current 12r.
So, the text at bottom of 8v reads (from above):
quod significat subiectum est quocirca unū[m] quoque
where the matching text at the top of 9r doesn’t match up to what follows in the 1877 edition:
reterea non quod nos intelligum eequum
The text itself notified us of where Gregory’s Rule had been broken—where that of leaf 8r in the currently bound manuscript actually coincides with 12v. What essentially occurred was a mis-binding and foliation done in the 19th-century where the currently bound 12v should ideally be 7v. The text at the bottom of 12v currently reads
apud Scythas amara nec acida, sed apud ipsos quoque
and the following text on 13r doesn’t correlate:
p[er] mixtio ista significat; Quod si unum significant to [to]ta p[er] mixtio pars inde separate nihil extra designat;
From the 1877 Latin edition the correct text after ipsos quoque is sunt dulcia et apud omnes, thus
[last line 12v]: apud Scythas amara nec acida, sed apud ipsos quoque [begin 8r]: sunt dulcia et apud omnes gentes eodem modo: ita quoque omnia nomina si naturaliter essent, isdem omnes homines uterentur.
This is but one example of how the text within the manuscript hadn’t matched up correctly. Instead of continuing to chart out the discrepancies, I’ll explain how I rendered a collation based off these findings. The text was the governing factor in matching up folios in the right order, and on this more minute level, we can see how it logically makes sense to re-puzzle a book whose folios are out of order. On a more general level, all that happened here was that quires 2 and 3 had been separated where they should have been bound together. If rebound, the second and third quire should simply be ‘quire 2.’ Based off the 19th-century foliation, the current folio 5 should ‘ideally’ be 1, 9 should be 2, 10 should be 3, and so on (for of course 8 folios in the quire).
As I presume, Penn isn’t in the business of physically rebinding a 9th-century book, especially when the current binding is in great condition. If we wanted to see this book as it was originally bound, or at least how it was bound before 1832, how could we reposition the folios against the foliation in the upper right-hand corner? We could certainly sit down with a pen and notebook and draw up a new collation, but what if we want to read the text from leaf to leaf as if it was in a correct order?
The interface I used to visualize such a structure was the digital visualization collation, a system initially developed by a collaborative team led by Dot Porter, to visualize collation diagrams based off of a model, rather than by counting and charting by hand. We were informed during our course discussions on collation that this system had been created for visualizing collation models, but we soon learned it can do so much more. At its core, this program provides something that fundamentally invigorates collation methods for medievalists; it can also wear many hats. It can allow for the repurposing of different outlets of methods at the very outset.
The repurposing I refer to came about when I was able to recreate a binding that reflected the original quire structure. Instead of laying out the entire structure online, I used the program to visually capture what couldn’t be imagined without both the digital images and the visualization program. For instance, since the program automatically begins at “Quire 1” with every collation formula, the screenshots provided render “Quire 1” where I am actually visualizing quire 2, a quire 2 that currently doesn’t exist in the book itself.
First we will see quires 1-3 as the book is currently bound. Scribe A added these leaves making up fol. 1-4 for an introduction and the decorating of a beautiful initial, and what follows is what you would see if you walked into Kislak Center and opened up this book upon request.
Currently bound quires 1-3, Q1:
Currently bound Q2:
And currently bound Q3:
These are screenshots of the visualized quires; they are live online here.
Now onto the digital reconstruction. If you were to walk into the Kislak Center and gaze upon this book, you couldn’t read the book straight through with matching Latin unless you were accompanied by this corrected version:
Here is the live online visualized quire for the reconstruction, and below is the screenshot:
What this small foray reveals is the strikingly fundamental role that digital scholarship, and digitizing itself, can play in medieval studies. What’s more, this demonstration solicits but one aspect of what the digital world can offer. In the case of transcription practice, data-mining, and textual editing, programs like T-PEN and of course TEI-texts have seriously revitalized what we can see when we evaluate texts and ask the same fundamental questions in order to conduct research. Their value does not necessarily lie in that the programs make life easier, for surely they do, but more that they create a distinctly different paradigm one can adopt when doing scholarship of any kind with any old book.