Learning and Teaching Online I: InScribe

As more and more resources are being put on line, many of us are asking how these can be used for academic research. Another equally important question, though, is how they can be used to help teaching and learning, both in a formal context and for the very substantial number of people who are interested in medieval manuscripts and their handwriting as a hobby rather than a profession. Indeed, it has often struck me just how popular medieval manuscripts are: the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery at the British Library always seems full, as are the BL's special exhibitions, and people form long queues for the pleasure of seeing the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin, among many others. Online, Erik Kwakkel's Twitter feed on medieval manuscripts has over 4,000 followers to date, and Will Noel's TED talk on the Archimedes palimpsest has been viewed over 415,000 times. This is remarkable for a field that is often considered 'highly obscure' and which at times is struggling to justify its existence.

This is a much bigger topic than I can discuss here. Instead I'm going to change tack, and introduce a new thread on this blog: online resources built explicitly for teaching and learning palaeography. I'm sure there are far more of these than I can cover in a blog, and I invite you to add to the list. Ultimately we hope to compile these into an organised list on the website, so please do send your suggestions.

The first one is the InScribe project which was developed at the School of Advanced Studies in the University of London. I have already mentioned it in an earlier post, but to recap it provides a survey of script and transcription, diplomatic, codicology and illumination. The introductory material is freely available; the detailed parts require subscription. More information is available here.

The module also includes videos, some of which are freely available from Vimeo. These include Dr Erik Kwakkel giving an introduction to script changes, and two from Prof Julia Crick, an introduction to the Exon Domesday book and a discussion of the scribe of the Exchequer Domesday Book. These are embedded from Vimeo below.

I hope you find these interesting, and look out for more blogs on this thread in the near future.