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

SIMS Projects

Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts
The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM) is an online, user-maintained, open-access, collaborative research tool for finding and indexing the world’s manuscripts. Its purpose is to facilitate research for scholars, collectors, and others interested in manuscript studies and the provenance of these unique books.

OPenn contains complete sets of high-resolution archival images of cultural heritage material from the collections of its contributing institutions, along with machine-readable descriptive and technical metadata. OPenn’s digital datasets consist of master TIFF files, web JPEG images, thumbnail images, and XML manuscript descriptions. All data sets are available as free cultural works and as such are released into the public domain or under Creative Commons CC0, CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA licenses. These licensing structures permit users to have unmediated access to any data we provide, from a single image to the entire data set.

“Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis: Toward a Comprehensive Online Library of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in PACSCL Libraries in Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware” aims to digitize the western medieval manuscripts in Philadelphia and make the images and metadata available online under open licenses (CCBY for the metadata, with the images in the Public Domain).

Penn in Hand
Digital facsimiles of many of the manuscripts from the Schoenberg Collection have been available online since 1998. Originally digitized and published by the Penn Library’s Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image (SCETI), new online facsimiles are now made available through Penn in Hand, a site that offers bibliographic information and digital facsimiles for selected collections of manuscript codices, texts, documents, papers, and leaves.

VisColl is a system for generating visualizations of a physical manuscript’s collation. It consists of a data model for modeling of a manuscript (based on quires, leaves in quires, and typology for the leaves (original, missing, added, replaced)), software for building models in a tabular format (published online and expressed in a custom XML schema), and software for generating visualizations from that model, via another online form.

Needham Calculator
The size of a work on paper in the fifteenth century was determined by the choices of scribes, printers, and draughtsmen: they chose paper that came in standard categories, and they manipulated it into standard formats. Based on Paul Needham’s classification of categories of fifteenth-century paper, the Needham Calculator diagnoses the original size of paper used in the creation of manuscripts according to a table of sixty-four “flavors” that indicate the paper’s category (Imperial, Super-Royal, Royal, etc.) and format (full sheet, folio, agenda quarto, etc.).

Digital Mappa (DM)
DM is a digital environment for the study and annotation of images and texts that provides a suite of tools enabling scholars to gather and organize the evidence necessary to support arguments based in digitized resources. Previously known as Digital Mappamundi and hosted by Drew University, DM was originally designed by Martin Foys (formerly Drew University, now University of Wisconsin Madison) for use with medieval maps, but its functional flexibility has the potential to make it an excellent tool for all image-based objects.

Kalendarium is an international project to build a crowd-sourced tool for collecting and identifying the world’s medieval liturgical calendars. The project includes participants from the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the Morgan Library, Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Antwerp, and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Kalendarium will aid users in identifying their calendars and adding to a growing database of the world’s medieval calendars. Our goal is to test a beta version of Kalendarium in 2019.

SIMS has partnered with Fragmentarium, an international digital research lab for medieval manuscript fragments run by a research team at the University of Fribourg. Officially launched in Saint Gall, Switzerland, on September 1st, 2017, the Fragmentarium platform enables libraries, collectors, researchers and students to publish medieval manuscript fragments, allowing them to catalogue, describe, transcribe, assemble and re-use them online.