This lecture will investigate the lives of medieval manuscripts and fragments that date from the late sixth century to the fifteenth century, tracing their survival to the present day, when increasing numbers exist online in digital format. The benefits to scholars of digitization are incalculable, especially in a time of global pandemic when it is impossible to view manuscripts in person. But what do we see when we work with manuscripts and fragments in online form only? What are the advantages and what are the challenges of new technologies for viewing books produced by hand as new forms of data? This lecture is a call to maximise the opportunities of the digital environment, while being aware of the essential skills and expertise required to make the most of access to these incredible resources. Participants can expect a rich and diverse range of images and ideas as we look at how manuscripts become data, and data becomes new knowledge.
This talk is the second in a series of quarterly talks hosted by Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), a leading center for research in the digital humanities—a growing field in humanistic studies that applies computational methods, such as text mining and digital mapping, to humanities research questions.