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

SIMS Staff

Jessie Dummer, Digitization Project Coordinator
Upon graduating from college, Jessie found herself working part-time processing the correspondence of James T. Farrell at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Penn. She enjoyed this life so much, she went to library school to work with Special Collections. Now she spends her time managing digitization projects and exploring the wonderful world of metadata.

Doug Emery, Programmer
A lapsed humanist, Doug has spent the last 12 years working as a computer programmer, notably on the Archimedes Palimpsest and The Digital Walters. He spends much of his time thinking about how people collect, share, and use digital manuscript data, and then building tools to aid in those efforts. He also has a dog.

Mitch Fraas, Curator of Special Collections
A historian of law and British India by training and inveterate archive fan. Interested in the movement of books and manuscripts over time as well as the histories of libraries and reading. He is also the co-director of the Penn digital humanities forum.

Nicholas Herman,Curator of Manuscripts
Received his doctorate in 2014 from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, with a dissertation focusing on the French Renaissance court painter, Jean Bourdichon. Prior to arriving at Penn in 2016, Dr. Herman held fellowships at the Université de Montréal, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From 2007 to 2010, he worked in the department of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York. He has contributed to numerous catalog and exhibition projects in Europe and North America, and has published articles in Word & Image, Burlington Magazine, and Manuscripta. At Penn, his teaching and research focus on manuscript illumination and its intersection with other media in fifteenth- and early-sixteenth-century Europe.

Amey Hutchins, Manuscripts Cataloger
Former classicist who turned out to love handwritten Latin and controlled vocabularies, and so became a manuscripts librarian. Cataloger of the Schoenberg Collection, a job that has been an education in itself.

David McKnight, Director, Rare Books and Manuscripts Library
At the present time, David is the Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.  He has been involved in the creation of numerous digital collections in academic library settings since 1996.  He has been the recipient of a number of public and private grants and he has served as a digital library consultant at the local, regional and national level.  David is also a rare book librarian and book historian with a particular interest in the history of late 19th and 20th century avant-garde publishing including the creation, dissemination and reception of little magazines and literary presses.  A chronic book collector, he is now focused on tracing and collecting books about the greatest band that ever was: The Beatles. He is currently planning an exhibition about the Fab Four entitled: Tomorrow Never Knows: The Beatles in Text and Image. The exhibit will open in February 2014.

Dennis Mullen, Digitization Specialist
Trained as a Music Librarian. Cataloging led to working with databases and then programming, technical documentation, user documentation,  online Help systems, applications interface design and finally graphics and web development. Ten years experience in online presentation of books and manuscripts. My most recent online project is the Jesselson-Kaplan American Genizah Project.

Will Noel, Director, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies and Director, Special Collections Center
When he was five years old, Will was seduced by medieval tales of derring-do, and he was  awestruck when, at the age of sixteen,  he realized that ancient manuscripts actually existed. He never quite got over it, and so he became a student. He only got his first job at the age of 32, as a curator of illuminated manuscripts. He has written books, curated exhibitions, and directed digitization projects. Fearless leader of the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies, he is also Director of the Special Collections Center. Watch out! Will preaches the Gospel of Open Data when ever he gets the chance. More on him at

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services
Trained as a medievalist and librarian, lover of manuscripts, seduced by the promise of digital technology. Interested in what it means for a physical object to be made digital, current research on how medievalists use digital resources. @leoba on Twitter.

Lynn Ransom, Curator, SIMS Programs
A lapsed art historian who now devotes her time to all manuscripts, from the beautiful to the mundane, and to helping others find them. Interested in scholarly community-organizing and committed to spreading the good news of manuscript studies. Manages the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts@schoenbergdb on Twitter.

4 thoughts on “SIMS Staff

  1. Pingback: Libraries Supporting Digital Scholarship: The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies as an Object Lesson |

  2. Pingback: Manuscript Road Trip: The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies | Manuscript Road Trip

  3. Pingback: 2016 Symposium on 'Words & Deeds' -

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