Manuscript Studies in the Covid-19 Age

The Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries is pleased to announce the 13th Annual (Virtual) Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age:

Manuscript Studies in the Digital Covid-19 Age

November 18-20, 2020

In the early spring of 2020, as the world shut down, scholarship and teaching were thrown into a virtual, online world. In the hands-on world of manuscripts studies, students, teachers, researchers, librarians, and curators lost physical access to the very objects upon which their work centered. But we were ready. Thanks to world-wide digitization efforts over the past twenty years, scholars at all levels and around the world have, by all counts, virtual access to more manuscripts and manuscript-related metadata than even a generation ago and are benefited by a broad array of digital tools, technologies, and resources that allow them to locate, gather, analyze, and interrogate digitized manuscripts and related metadata.

But in a Covid-19 Age, have these resources and tools been enough to continue manuscript research and study? Has scholarship and teaching been supported by these resources and tools in the ways that those who created them intended? Has access to these artifacts of our shared intellectual heritage become more open and equitable or are there still hurdles for scholarship around the world to overcome? Has a forced reckoning with digital tools, technologies, and resources spurred new questions or avenues of research or thrown up barriers? As creators and users of digital tools, technologies, and resources, have we learned anything since March about the success or failure of such projects? We will consider these questions and the opportunities and limitations offered by digital images and manuscript-related metadata as well as the digital and conceptual interfaces that come between the data and us as users. Our goal is to offer a (virtual) space to discuss lessons learned since March and how those lessons can push us to better practice and development of strategies in the future.

The symposium will take Wednesday, November 18 to Friday, November 20. Each day will consist of a 90-minute session with papers in the morning, followed by a 90-minute panel discussion led by invited moderators in the afternoon. All sessions will be recorded and made available after each session.

Two events will be held conjunction with the symposium:

* Scholarly Editing Covid19-Style: Laura Morreale will lead a 3-day crowd-sourcing effort to transcribe, edit, and submit for publication an edition of Le Pelerinage de Damoiselle Sapience, from UPenn MS Codex 660 <> (f. 86r-95v).

* Virtual Lightning Round: Pre-recorded 5-minute lightning round talks featuring digital projects at all stages of development, from ideas to implementation. Want to feature your digital project? Submit your proposal here <> by Friday, October 28, to be considered.
For program information and to register, go to: Registration is free and open to the public but required. A Zoom link for all three days will be provided upon registration.

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