Blog topic: Manuscripts

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Digging Deeper - an online course about medieval manuscripts

In January, Stanford launched Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts, an online learning experience devoted to the technologies involved in creating and interpreting medieval manuscripts. We're off to a roaring start with thousands of enrolled participants across more than 90 countries (and it's not too late to sign up!).  The creation of the course has been a truly collaborative experience: Stanford University faculty and library staff have worked closely with counterparts at Cambridge University, Stanford Academic Technology Specialists, graduate students, and a team from Stanford's Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to produce a suite of learning materials that have become much richer than any of us envisaged at the beginning of the process in 2013!

Bridget Whearty and Astrid Smith in the digitization lab

Making a digital medieval manuscript

As the CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Stanford I work primarily with data about large collections of digitized manuscripts and fragments. For example, I have helped to make our teaching collections more easily discoverable in Searchworks. I've also been bringing together partner institutions' descriptive metadata to feed a specialized manuscript search environment. 

In practice, I write code to transform batches of 70, 300, 500, or 1000+ manuscripts at a time: I've gotten very comfortable thinking of medieval manuscripts in the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. But the truth is that these large batches of digital-medieval manuscripts I curate are built of unique, single objects. Single objects that, just like the physical objects they grow from, are made by individual people, in particular environments, under specific institutional, financial, and social pressures. 

In order to better understand the process that leads to the creation of a digital-medieval book, I recently followed the digitization of a fifteenth-century book of hours, Stanford University Libraries, M0379, from the request for digitization, through the slow hard work of taking the images and hours of post-production labor, to its arrival in Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). 

Haydn and the challenge of the baryton

October 21, 2014
by Ray Heigemeir


Peg box of a baryton, Brussels (undated)Divertimento 24o per il pariton [original manuscript, 1766]

Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 491

Link to downloadable images of this work

The baryton [pariton] is a bass instrument in the viol family that may be simultaneously bowed and plucked. It features a double set of strings, the upper set gut, for bowing, the lower set metal, for sympathetic vibration and for plucked accompaniment. The metal strings run the length of the neck behind the fingerboard, which is hollowed in the back to allow the left hand to pluck the strings.

Loosely related to the lyra-viol, the baryton likely originated in seventeenth-century England. Its moment in the sun, however, came in eighteenth-century Austria, at the court of the barytonist Prince Nicholas Esterházy, with music supplied in abundance by his ambitious young Kappelmeister, Joseph Haydn.

Ruth Asawa Tamarind lithography workshop 1965

Arts initiative in Special Collections

September 23, 2014
by Glynn Edwards

Walking around campus, one can readily see the impact of Stanford’s Arts Initiative. Joining the existing Cantor Arts Center are several new buildings, including the Bing Concert Hall, which opened in 2013, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University, which opened on September 21st, and the growing structure that will be the McMurtry Building, slated to open in 2015.

In parallel with this new focus on the arts, the MSS division in Special Collections has worked over the last year with Peter Blank and Anna Fishaut at the Art & Architecture Library, in identifying and funding the preservation and processing of four recently acquired art collections. Some of the projects will include selected reformatting of audio-visual elements, processing of digital files, additional digitization efforts, and collaboration with the libraries’ Department of Conservation and the Art Library’s Visual Resources Center.

Portrait of Mandelbrot

Now Available: The Benoit Mandelbrot Papers

September 17, 2014

 

The Manuscripts Division is thrilled to announce that the Benoit Mandelbrot Papers are now open for research. A finding aid to the collection is available on the Online Archive of California and materials are pageable through the catalog record in Searchworks.

The papers document the life and work of Benoit Mandelbrot, maverick mathematician and pioneer of fractal geometry. The collection contains biographical material, personal and professional correspondence, drafts and typescripts for books and articles, subject files, and reprints. The collection also contains a significant amount of research data, including notes, plots, graphs, and computer-generated visualizations of fractals. Also included are teaching materials, administrative records, awards, and materials related to publicity events, such as posters and flyers announcing conferences and lectures focusing on fractals or related topics. Other formats present in the collection include photographs, audiovisual material, and computer media, as well as an extensive amount of fractal and fractal-related artwork.

Doug Menuez's photographs on display at the Computer History Museum

July 17, 2014
by Glynn Edwards

In 1985, Steve Jobs gave Meneuz complete access to NeXT and he spent the next decade photographing over seventy companies, innovators, and investors in Silicon Valley. The Computer History Museum has a current exhibit up in their lobby of Meneuz’s photographs that runs through September 7th - Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley 1985–2000. The images in this exhibit are part of

Lucy Waldrop joins us as the archivist for the Helen and Newton Harrison papers

July 14, 2014
by Glynn Edwards

We are happy to announce that Lucy Waldrop will join Special Collections in September as the project archivist on the Helen and Newton Harrison papers project. This is an NEH-funded project and will conclude in February 2016. Lucy comes to us from Wichita State University, where as a project archivist, she processed several large collections including that of photographer and film director Gordon Parks. The Harrison collection is a significant acquisition and this preservation and processing project is one of several art projects being undertaken by Special Collections in collaboration with the Art Library in the coming year. 

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