The Newberry is delighted to announce that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the library $526,000 to create a set of online tools to allow users to access, practice transcribing, and annotate French manuscript documents dating from the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. Users will be able to teach themselves to read different early French handwritings, learn about the history of those handwriting styles and the circumstances of production of different types of manuscript documents, receive an introduction to paleography as an academic field, and engage in related online discussions and collaborative research. The site will codify in English information about French paleography, and it will provide integrated access to an archive of historically significant manuscripts held in the collection of the Newberry Library and in North American and French repositories.
The project will run for 24 months, from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015. The Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies will direct the project in collaboration with Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, which partners with the University of Toronto Libraries’ Information Technology Services Unit; and with the Center for Digital Humanities at Saint Louis University. The project also will have a scholarly board and an implementation board. The director of the Newberry Center will work with a paleographer and a postdoctoral scholar to produce all scholarly content.