Guest Post, Manuscripts, Papers

  Source Criticism in the Digital Age

I was asked to translate this Call to Action from the Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands, originally written by Eva Schlotheuber and Frank Bösch. There has been a significant reduction in the teaching of fundamental historical skills (palaeography, codicology etc) in German universities. This situation is hardly unfamiliar to us in the UK.

Here is Eva Schlotheuber on the background for the debate:
In Germany, a move to organise programmes of study on a modular basis has led to the virtual disappearance of academic source criticism from the university curriculum. As a result, a third of university chairs in the area of ancillary historical skills (palaeography, codicology, epigraphy etc) have been lost in recent decades. At the same time, however, there has been substantial financial and scholarly investment in the digitisation of archival and manuscript sources, largely thanks to the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), the main German research foundation. If, however, we are to make full use of this digitisation project, it is imperative that the gap in skills training is addressed, before we find ourselves facing a situation in which the Faculty also lacks the relevant expertise. Our aim is to begin a debate about the discipline’s scholarly foundations, culminating in in a discussion at the Historikertag (the annual convention of all German historians) in Hamburg in September 2016.

Please read and comment over at the original English post – discussion is an integral part of this process!

See the whole Call to Action at the Teaching the Codex WordPress site:

  Source Criticism in the Digital Age

Conferences, Manuscripts

Teaching the Codex

I am co-organising an interdisciplinary colloquium on the pedagogy of palaeography and codicology, working with Tristan Franklinos, a colleague in Classics. You can follow us on Twitter @teachingcodex, and have a look at our WordPress in order to see our motivation behind organising the day. Registration will be open shortly, but in the meantime, our timetable is now available online. Have a look below!



A Visit to St Edmund Hall’s Library

A few weeks ago, I was part of a group lucky enough to be shown around St Edmund Hall’s beautiful library by Professor Henrike Lähnemann. You can read an in-depth history of the library here on the SEH website, so I will just post some pictures and provide the basics. The College’s main library is in the mostly twelfth-century church of St Peter in the East. It’s no longer a functioning church, but the crypt is still consecrated. I think that this must be one of the most beautiful libraries in Oxford to work in regularly.

Click on the images to see larger versions.

The crypt Inside the crypt

Here you can get an impression of the size and atmosphere of the crypt.

Norman font Behind the font

Here we have the Norman font and, lurking behind it, not medieval grave monuments, but polystyrene props from Lewis!

Leaving the crypt At the top of the stairs

Leaving the crypt

Autumnal graveyardAutumn shows its face by the church wall

Outside the library, Autumn is showing its face in the graveyard and by the church walls.

Norman arch Close-up of one of the beaks on the arch

The entrance to the library itself – a Norman arch, surrounded by beaked faces.

The past and present lives of the church intersect

And inside the library (in the tower, in fact), its past and present lives intersect.