Call for Papers: Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age

[deutsche Fassung]

The reproduction of the European cultural heritage into digital resources is on its way. Among the various activities undertaken in this field, online catalogues of manuscrips have become an important research tool: Manuscripta Medievalia, for example, is a well established central catalogue in Germany. Important European libraries like the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the British Library or the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana have published their catalogues online. Directories with regional focus like the manuscript catalogue of Tuscany (CODEX) are seen alongside the European integrative project ENRICH. At the same time, the digitisation of the manuscripts themselves has gained momentum. What impact has this new situation on palaeographic and codicologic research?

Successful projects have shown that data that emerges from such cataloguing and digitising activities can be processed and enriched by digital technologies: there are algorithms to compare character patterns and enable palaeographic analyses. Comprehensive codicological data is available via electronic catalogues to allow statistical research on the archaeology of manuscripts. Digital editions embed images of their underlying manuscripts. Online resources enable web-based teaching of palaeography in a way far beyond the traditional facsimile collections.

The Institute of Documentology and Scholarly Editing (IDE) calls for contributions to an anthology on "Codicology and Palaeography in the Digital Age" to be published in Summer 2009. The purpose of this volume is threefold. Firstly, it aims at recording forward-looking digital work with manuscripts. This involves state-of-the-art technology as well as realistic ideas for future implementations. Secondly, it examines the field from the users' perspective: how can codicological and palaeographic work benefit from digital resources and technologies? Are there new results that had not been possible before? Or is there at least a significant increase in efficiency compared to traditional methodology? We are therefore particularly encouraging contributions that describe research based on such digital resources. Finally, an outlook on the future development of the digital research on manuscripts will be given.

Possible topics for contributions can include but are not restricted to:

  • reports on research based on digital resources
  • Integration of and statistical research on data from manuscript catalogues
  • palaeographic databases (scripts, scribes, characters)
  • codicological databases (e.g. watermarks, book covers)
  • (semi-) automatic recognition of scripts and scribes
  • digital tools for transcriptions
  • visions and prototypes of other digital tools
  • teaching palaeography

The editors are open to proposals beyond these suggestions that fit into the outlined purpose of the volume. Contributions can be made either in German, Italian, English or French. The launch of the volume will be accompanied by an international symposium to which the IDE wants to invite the authors of the four best contributions to present their work.

Proposals of not more than 500 words shall be send by 30 November 2008 to:

Institute of Documentology and Scholarly Editing
c/o Malte Rehbein
Moore Institute
National University of Ireland, Galway
malte.rehbein@nuigalway.ie

The Institute of Documentology and Scholarly Editing (IDE) is a network of researchers working on the application of digital methods on historical documents. Its members participate in important international research activities. The IDE, established in 2006, sees itself as a nucleus for IT technologies in the field of scholarly editing and documentology, understanding a historical document as a carrier for text as well as a physical object. To achieve this, IDE members take an active part in ongoing discussions, contribute reviews and research articles, organise conferences and workshops, counsel trend-setting projects and teach academic junior scientists.

Website: http://www.i-d-e.de

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