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


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Manuscript Monday: Play the De Ricci Digitized Archive Name Game

The following video tutorial demonstrates how to play the De Ricci Digitized Archive Name Game, a tool that creates links between bibliographer Seymour de Ricci’s handwritten notecards and name authority records in the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM). Left behind from De Ricci’s unfinished census of all the manuscript material in the UK, these 64,000 notecards are a treasure trove of information about the people and institutions who affected the provenance history of manuscripts. The original notecards now live in the archives of the Senate House Library at the University of London, with digitized versions accessible via the De Ricci Digitized Archive on the SDBM website. Since the SDBM also manages a local authority file with records of people and institutions who owned manuscripts, there is a lot of related information contained across both collections.

When you play the Name Game, you will create direct links between
the notecards in the De Ricci Digitized Archive and SDBM records,

thereby increasing access to both datasets and
enriching our collective knowledge of manuscript provenance.

The Name Game is fun to play because it is both productive and informative. As you read De Ricci’s notecards and search for links in the SDBM, you will encounter extra tidbits of information in addition to standard bibliographic content. For example, the card related to George Abbot, a former archbishop of Canterbury, notes that he killed a man by accident while shooting in Lord Zouch’s park in Hampshire. While this fact has little to do with Abbot’s manuscript collecting habits, it does contribute to a broader understanding of his personal life as well as De Ricci’s own interests as a bibliographer and scholar. These facts–and the choices De Ricci made in recording them–enhance our understanding of the human agents involved in both the history of manuscript provenance and bibliographical scholarship.

We have only just begun sorting through these notecards. Who knows what other trivia await? Quirky biographical facts are just the icing on the cake of this stockpile of provenance data. Join the fun via the link here. You must create a free SDBM account before you can play.