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ManuTexts: An International Manuscript Technologies Forum

ManuTexts will bring together colleagues at Stanford (Professors Treharne and Dr Ben Albritton), Cambridge and other institutions globally (UBC, Texas, Glasgow, etc.) to examine key issues in Manuscript Studies, in particular. This group will coalesce for pioneering project work, linking the Humanities with a broad academic and non-academic audience; and with technology, science and art. We shall be applying for large external research grants to fund path-breaking scholarship into the manuscript and its interpretation over three millennia. The Forum will coordinate and run experimental projects to triangulate arts and digital media practice, theory and conceptualization of the real and the digital, and outreach beyond the institution into the public sphere of museums, archives and publishing. This egalitarian ManuTexts Forum will thus engage in deep research about manuscripts expansively and the potential of technology to investigate, evaluate and present textual communication from c. 1,000BC to today. Involving faculty, senior undergraduates and graduates, we shall focus on major research questions generated by the group’s intellectual interests and individual projects. Its work will be summarized online, where appropriate, and will form the basis for multiple publications and collaborative initiatives.

Current Goals

  • The enormous global audience of digital manuscripts is both varied in terms of skills and experience. This coalition of scholars will investigate how digital manuscripts can be made most meaningfully accessible to all levels of users, foregrounding and opening up collections currently online and suggesting new ways forward for future digital resources.
  • The group will work as a coalition, each scholar investigating their own pressing manuscript research questions, while feeding back to the group as a whole to brainstorm theories and practices: problems that are difficult for one scholar to solve in isolation can be collaboratively discussed, analysed and moved forward. All research questions will coalesce into a set of solutions and suggestions to advance the field of manuscript studies.
  •  All participating scholars, each of whom is an accomplished manuscript specialist, will conduct their research using manuscript materials that are available through Stanford’s Digital Repository as well as manuscripts that can be scrutinised through the Open Access policies of major virtual repositories, such as the British Library and e-codices.
  • In the group’s preliminary meetings, we shall develop robust, measurable and realisable goals for explaining digital manuscript material and developing new resources for scholars, students and interested browsers.
  • Individual research questions will focus on issues of interpretation and display and in discovering the potential of the digital manuscript in advanced original scholarship.