Since the summer, the University of Pennsylvania library has been taking samples of many of its manuscripts to send to the University of York for collagen analysis. By analyzing the collagen in the samples, the team at York can determine what type of animal the parchment is from (typically goat, sheep, or cow, less commonly however other animals, even rabbit). Over the summer, we published a series of videos inviting people to guess what animals our manuscripts were made from. In the brief video below Kevin Lee, Rare Book Cataloging Assistant, demonstrates for Dot Porter, Curator for Digital Research Services, the process for taking non-invasive samples from the parchment.
Unfortunately, the University of York has not received continued funding for this project, so the University of Pennsylvania will not be sending more samples at this time. However, we do look forward to the analysis of those samples we have already sent. We will share the findings here as soon as we have them!
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