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

SIMS Staff

Jessie Dummer, Digitization Project Coordinator
Jessie has worked as Digitization Project Coordinator at Penn Libraries since 2010, first for the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image and then for the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies since 2013. She has managed mass digitization projects from image capture to online display. She was an integral part of the team that launched OPenn in 2015 and continues to manage quality control of images and metadata added to OPenn, including those from grant-funded projects like Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis and Manuscripts of the Muslim World. She is also responsible for managing the ingest of digital assets of legacy projects into Penn Libraries’ digital repository. Jessie holds a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Drexel University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Doug Emery, Programmer
Doug Emery oversees data operations for SIMS and provides programming, supervisory, and consultative support for most of SIMS’s digital projects, including the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts and Penn Libraries’ OPenn website ( He is the architect and manager of OPenn, a site that hosts full-resolution images of 6,500 books and manuscripts from thirty-five collections and repository in the U.S. and England, including Penn Libraries’ medieval and renaissance manuscripts and the Lawrence J. Schoenberg collection of manuscripts.

Doug has been working in the technology field since 1998 and on cultural heritage digital projects since 2005, when he began working as data manager for the Archimedes Palimpsest project. Since 2005, he has served at data manager for the multispectral imaging projects of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest, the Livingstone Diaries, the 1507 Waldseemüller Map, and the Sinai Palimpsests, architecting those projects’ digital workflows and datasets. He managed the data for the Walters Art Museum’s manuscript digitization projects and authored its Digital Walters website, prior to his joining Penn Libraries in 2013.

Doug’s educational background is in religious studies, English and American literature, and languages and literature of the Ancient Near East.

Emma Cawlfield Thomson, Project Coordinator, Schoenberg Database
Emma began working on the Schoenberg Database in 2011, first as a researcher creating new data and now as the project coordinator, where she approves all new records, manages the internal SDBM authority files, produces instructional content, and helps people use and contribute to the database. She holds a MS in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University and a BA in Religion from the New College of Florida.

Mitch Fraas, Curator of Special Collections
Mitch Fraas is Curator, Special Collections at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. He holds doctoral and master’s degrees in history from Duke University and earned his bachelor’s degree at Boston College. His doctoral dissertation examined the legal culture of British India in the 17th and 18th centuries. He has been a fellow of the Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to the history of law and imperialism, he is especially interested in the history of printing and the book and in the digital humanities, as well as the future of scholarly publishing and copyright.

Nicholas Herman, Curator of SIMS Manuscripts
Nick is Curator of Manuscripts at the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, and Medieval Studies Librarian. His teaching and research focus on manuscript illumination and its intersection with other media in fifteenth- and early-sixteenth-century Europe.

Nick 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, Nick has held fellowships at the Université de Montreal, 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 and Museum in New York. He has contributed to numerous catalog and exhibition projects in Europe and North America, and has published articles in Word and Image, Burlington Magazine, and Manuscripta.

Amey Hutchins, Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian
As a manuscripts cataloging librarian, Amey describes manuscripts from the ninth to the nineteenth century for Penn’s online catalog and provides metadata for other SIMS projects, with the goal of making the manuscripts visible to a wide audience. She also is a member of the teaching team for the SIMS summer course in manuscripts skills for graduate students. Amey has an A.M. degree in Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.L.I.S. degree from Drexel University.

Aylin Malcolm, 2018-2019 Graduate Student Fellow & Editorial Assistant for the SIMS publication Manuscript Studies
Aylin is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Pennsylvania and the editorial assistant of Manuscript Studies, the journal of the Schoenberg Institute. Having received an MA in English from Ohio State (2016) and a BA&Sc. in Environment from McGill (2014), Aylin is currently working on poetry and scientific writing in the late medieval west. For more information, visit

David McKnight, Director, Rare Books and Manuscripts Library
As Director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML), David is responsible for insuring stewardship, management, discovery, and preservation of the collection and for maintaining the visibility of RBML within and outside of the Penn community. At the Penn Libraries, he has also served as Curator of the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image.

Before coming to Penn, he headed the Rare Books and Special Collections Division at McGill University Libraries and was the Principal Librarian at McGill’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library. David holds a B.A. in Honours Classics and History from McGill University, an M.L.I.S. from McGill, and an M.A. in English from Concordia University.

Dennis Mullen, Digitization Specialist
Dennis has worked with the Lawrence J. Schoenberg collection of manuscripts since 2006. As a librarian and web site developer he helped create the original online versions of the manuscripts and developed the first online version of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts. He has also created online exhibitions and catalogs that feature the Schoenberg collection. His more recent responsibilities include designing and maintaining the SIMS website, maintaining the SIMS YouTube channel and editing videos that appear there, and developing touch screen applications and online presentations for the SIMS exhibits here at the Penn Library.

Will Noel, Associate Vice Provost for Special Collections & External Strategic Partnerships and Director of the Kislak Center & the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
Will oversees the collections, research services and public programs of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. As founding Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Will orchestrates its integration with Penn’s broad primary-source holdings and guides the programs that will support scholarship in the many disciplines that draw on the Libraries’ rare and unique materials. A specialist in the fields of Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman manuscripts, Will came to Penn in 2012 from The Walters Art Museum where he had been Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books since 1997. Will has groundbreaking experience in the application of digital technologies to manuscript studies and is especially well known for directing an international program to conserve, image and study the Archimedes Palimpsest, the unique source for three treatises by the ancient Greek mathematician. With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities he built the Digital Walters, an open access library that presents full digital surrogates and catalogs of illuminated Islamic, English, Dutch, Central European, Armenian, Byzantine, Ethiopian and Flemish manuscripts. Will has published extensively, including a book with co-author Professor Reviel Netz, The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity’s Greatest Scientist. After receiving his Ph.D. from Cambridge University England, Will held positions at Downing College, Cambridge University, as Director of Studies in the History of Art; and at The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, as Assistant Curator of Manuscripts. He is on the faculty of the Rare Book School of the University of Virginia, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History of Art at Penn.

Dot Porter, Curator of Digital Research Services
As Curator of Digital Research Services in the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Dot Porter participates in a wide-ranging digital humanities research and development team within the context of a special collections department. Dot’s projects focus on the digitization and visualization of medieval manuscripts.

Dot holds Master’s degrees in Medieval Studies and Library Science and started her career working on image-based digital editions of medieval manuscripts. She has worked on a variety of digital humanities projects over a decade-long career, focusing on materials as diverse as ancient texts and Russian religious folklore, providing both technical support and scholarly expertise. From 2010 until March 2013, she was the Associate Director for Digital Library Content and Services at the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries, where she led in planning and implementing new services to support librarians and faculty in the creation of digital projects. She has also worked for the Digital Humanities Observatory at the Royal Irish Academy, and the Collaboratory for Research in Computing for Humanities at the University of Kentucky. @leoba on Twitter.

Lynn Ransom, Curator, SIMS Programs
Lynn Ransom joined Penn Libraries in February 2008 as the Project Manager for the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts and is a founding member of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies. Lynn holds a B.A. in art history from the University of the South and an M.A. and Ph.D. in medieval art history, with an emphasis on manuscript illumination from the University of Texas at Austin.

Before coming to Penn, Lynn held positions in the manuscript collections at the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD. She also served as a researcher at the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University. She has published on manuscript illumination of the 13th and 16th centuries. Her current research interests involve the provenance of medieval manuscripts and the history of international manuscript cataloging efforts in the early 20th century.

Lynn has recently overseen the NEH-funded redevelopment of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, as an open-access, user-maintained finding aid for the world’s pre-modern manuscripts. Manages the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts@schoenbergdb on Twitter.

Kelly Tuttle, Project Cataloger, Manuscripts of the Muslim World
Kelly holds a PhD in Arabic from Penn, and spent 5 years teaching Arabic after graduation. She has returned to Philadelphia and joined Manuscripts of the Muslim World–a grant-funded project to catalog and digitize the Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish collections at Penn, the Free Library of Philadelphia, other area institutions and Columbia University–as Project Cataloger.

4 thoughts on “SIMS Staff

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