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


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Manuscript Road Trip: Reconstructing the Beauvais Missal

The latest Manuscript Road Trip post by SIMS friend Lisa Fagin Davis announces a new adventure in digital fragmentology.

Manuscript Road Trip

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

If you’ve been travelling with me on this virtual road trip around the United States, you have almost certainly come to know the dismembered beauty known as The Beauvais Missal. I’ve mentioned it many times and shown you several different leaves found in various collections. And I’ve ruminated about the possibility of digitally reassembling this masterpiece of thirteenth-century illumination. Well, it’s time to stop dreaming and start doing.

Cleveland Museum of Art, ACC. 1982.141 verso Cleveland Museum of Art, Acc. 1982.141 verso

Working with the “Broken Books” project at the St. Louis University, I have begun a digital reconstruction of the Beauvais Missal. The “Broken Books” project will result in the development of a platform for reconstructing broken books as well as the establishment of a metadata structure designed specifically for manuscript fragments and leaves. My Beauvais Missal project will serve as one of several case studies in…

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Manuscript Road Trip: Otto Ege, St. Margaret and Digital Fragmentology

The latest Manuscript Road Trip post by SIMS friend Lisa Fagin Davis is a great example of bringing manuscript culture and modern technology together, as well as a fun detective story.

Manuscript Road Trip

The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r The Flight into Egypt, Walters Art Museum, MS W.188, f.112r

This week, I’m going to get off the virtual superhighway to share a discovery. Digital publication seems appropriate given that most of this work was conducted using online resources and images, making this a great case study for digital humanities research and the newly-christened field of “digital fragmentology.”

I wear many hats at the moment: Acting Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America, blogger, professor of library science, and medieval manuscript consultant. In the latter role, I have for some months been cataloguing the manuscripts belonging to the Five Colleges consortium of Western Massachusetts (Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, Smith, and the University of Massachusetts – Amherst). Smith and U. Mass. each happen to own one of the leaf collections compiled by Otto Ege titled “Fifty Original Leaves of Medieval Manuscripts”  (if you need to be brought up to speed, take a look at my Ege…

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Manuscript Road Trip: The Granite State

The next entry from Lisa Fagin Davis’ tour of medieval manuscripts in the USA!

Manuscript Road Trip

If you’ve ever tried to drive across Maine from east to west, you’ll understand when I tell you that this virtual road trip will be taking some liberties with the U.S. highway system. But nonetheless, heading west from Brunswick, Maine, we now find ourselves crossing the White Mountains of New Hampshire and driving up to the main green of Dartmouth College in Hanover. Blog map

The green is dominated by the spire of Baker Library, to the right of which you will find the new Rauner Special Collections Library.

Dartmouth College is the smallest of the Ivy League institutions, an idyllic New England campus that occupies a special place in the hearts of its graduates. It is also the largest repository of pre-1600 manuscripts in New Hampshire, with nearly 150 codices and two dozen leaves. Most of the manuscripts have been digitized and catalogued, and are available online here. It’s a…

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Manuscript Road Trip: Day 1

First in a new series by Lisa Fagin Davis, introducing collections of medieval manuscripts from across the United States.

Manuscript Road Trip

There has been increasing interest in recent years in identifying, classifying and cataloguing medieval manuscripts in North American collections. With my friend and colleague Melissa Conway (Head of Special Collections at UC-Riverside), I have been working for nearly twenty years on this very topic. Our preliminary Directory of collections in the United States and Canada with pre-1600 manuscript holdings is available as a searchable PDF through the Bibliographical Society of America, at http://bibsocamer.org/wp-content/uploads/Conway-Davis-Directory-11.2014.pdf.  It’s a great place to start if you’re looking for manuscripts in North American collections.

Over the course of our work, Melissa and I (with the help of more than 200 contributing curators and scholars) have identified 20,000 codices and 25,000 leaves in nearly 500 collections. Many of these have not been catalogued in any significant way; students, take note, there is a lot of cataloguing work to be done! On the other hand, an increasing number…

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