This project involves developing and applying new methods in palaeography, bringing digital resources to bear in innovative ways. It comprises three components: a web resource, a database, and a monograph. The web resource will allow the study of medieval script in the context of the manuscripts and charters that preserve it. It will focus on discovery and citation, allowing users to retrieve digital images, verbal descriptions, and detailed characterisations of the writing, as well as the larger context including the content and structure of the manuscript or charter. It will incorporate different ways of exploring the material such as images, maps and timelines as well as text-based browse and search. It will provide a flexible, extensible framework to integrate external data-sources and so applies to any period or area of palaeography. It will therefore enable new developments in palaeographical method which have been discussed in theory but not yet achieved in practice.
To demonstrate these methods, content will be provided for handwriting from England in the vernacular, particularly that of AD 990-1100. This period saw rapid change in vernacular script despite relative stability in that of Latin, something that has never been fully explained. This problem will be addressed by integrating existing datasets but also by producing and incorporating an entirely new database of scripts. The result will provide access to the complete corpus of surviving examples of the script for the first time, bringing an unprecedented rigour to palaeographical analysis. A monograph will then draw on this research, demonstrating the new methods in practice and providing the first comprehensive account of English vernacular script from the period. The work will address issues in Digital Humanities (integration, interface design, visualisation and standards), in palaeographical method (quantitative methods, terminology and evidential rigour), and in the history of vernacular script
Fields of science
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