Doing Medieval Latin Palaeography Online
Doing Medieval Latin Palaeography Online

Doing Medieval Latin Palaeography Online

DIY History is a project run by the University of Iowa Libraries, which seeks to digitize some of its Special Collections’ holdings and make them available for crowd-sourced transcription. Now, thanks to a tool launched in Saturday’s workshop, DIY History also allows for translation. In collaboration with Professors Sarah Bond and Katherine Tachau, and my colleague Heather Wacha, I led a workshop this Saturday to explore the medieval manuscripts which have been newly added to the DIY History corpus.

The translate tool adds functionality to the site both for researchers and for the classroom. It will also be available for the site’s other non-English language holdings, such as the archival material related to the history of Germans in Iowa.

The workshop was introduced by Professor Sarah Bond (Classics), who is a member of the UI’s digital humanities cluster hire and a staunch advocate of bridging the disciplinary divide between Classicists and medievalists. Professor Katherine Tachau (History) then provided participants with an overview of the development of palaeography, from the daunting Late Roman cursive through to the scripts championed by the early Humanists.

After lunch, it was my turn to speak, and I introduced the participants to some digital tools for budding palaeographers.

Next up was my colleague, Heather Wacha, who talked about the particular medieval manuscripts which are hosted in DIY History, and the peculiar joy of a really good palaeographical puzzle.

With the foundational material covered, participants could dive into exploring the material themselves, transcribing and translating leaves from Books of Hours, sermons, psalters, and bibles.

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