“Picking Up the Pieces”: 8th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age


Picking up the pieces

In partnership with the Rare Book Department of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies (SIMS) at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries is pleased to announce the 8th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age. This year’s theme, “Picking up the Pieces,” considers the notions and consequences of fragmentation and reconstitution. When books are broken up, collections dispersed, or a society’s intellectual heritage is fragmented by time, nature, and human interventions, the act of piecing together the remains can lead to surprising insights about how and why books–the artifacts of our intellectual heritage–were produced, collected, and saved in the first place. Our aim is to examine various facets of the fragmentation of books, collections, and cultural heritages in literal, metaphorical, and philosophical terms. The topic also allows us to consider how the processes of both physical and virtual reconstitution inform our understanding of these artifacts and our relationship to them.

The program begins Thursday evening, November 12, at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Library, with our keynote speaker Nicholas Pickwoad, Director of Ligatus, a research center of the University of the Arts London with projects in historical libraries and archives, and a leading authority on the conservation and history of bookbindings. The symposium continues, November 13-14, at the Kislak Center of Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, with papers and workshops that delve into various aspects of fragmentation and reconstitution. The symposium will end with a roundtable discussion led William Noel, Director of SIMS, and  Brian C. Rose, James B. Pritchard Professor of Archaeology, Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, on the historical, social, and political consequences of fragmentation and reconstitution in the cultural heritage sector.

Speakers include:

  • Debra Cashion, Vatican Film Library, St. Louis University
  • Lisa Fagin Davis, Medieval Academy of America
  • Anne-Marie Eze, Independent Scholar
  • Nadezhda Kavrus-Hoffman, Independent Scholar
  • Suzanne Kerekes, University of Pennsylvania
  • Grigory Kessel, Philipps University Marburg
  • William Noel, SIMS, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
  • Dagmar Riedel, Columbia University
  • Brian C. Rose, University of Pennsylvania & Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • Sabine Schmidtke, Institute for Advanced Study
  • Stefan Schorch, Martin-Luther-Universitaet Halle-Wittenberg
  • Dominque Stutzmann, Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes-CNRS

 Five workshops will offer hands-on exploration of problems and issues related to fragments, fragmentation, and reconstitution. They are:

  • Demonstration of the New Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, led by Lynn Ransom and Doug Emery, SIMS, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
  • Collation: A Tool for Virtual Reconstruction, led by Dot Porter, SIMS, University of Pennsylvania Libraries
  • Digital Unwrapping:  Homer, Herculaneum, and the Scroll from Ein Gedi led by Brent Seales, University of Kentucky
  • Unnatural Selection: Estimating the Number of Broken Books, their Contents, and Surviving Folios from manuscriptlink Data, led by Scott Gwara, University of South Carolina
  • Fragmentarium – A worldwide network to bring medieval manuscript fragments online. The technical and institutional challenges, led by Christoph Flüeler, University of Fribourg & e-codices

For full details and registration, visit the Symposium’s website.

When: 12-14 November 2015

Where: Free Library of Philadelphia& Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts of the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA)

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