Understanding the Medieval Book

Today and tomorrow I’m attending Understanding the Medieval Book, a seminar with Dr. Timothy Graham from the University of New Mexico. Tim is a world-renowned manuscripts scholar, and was also the professor who first taught me paleography and codicology during my graduate studies at the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University. The seminar is being held in the Hollings Library at the University of South Carolina.

Entrance to the Hollings Library at the University of South Carolina.

My position at Penn, Curator of Digital Research Services in the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, focuses on using technology to tell us more about manuscripts than we can know by examining manuscripts in person. A tall order, I know. But, it makes sense that in order to do my job, I need to have a strong understanding of manuscripts as physical objects. Hence, my attendance at today’s seminar.

Over the next two days, we’ll have four three-hour sessions:

  • Materials and Techniques – what medieval manuscripts were made from, and how.
  • Bible and Bible Manuscripts
  • Medieval Calendars
  • Books of Hours – looking carefully at what exactly is the structure of the Book of Hours. What do they have in them, and why?

The first two sessions will be today, the last two tomorrow. So at the end of tomorrow, I should have something to say about the relevance of these sessions to my work in Digital Humanities.

Preparing for the day.