Monday, September 24, 2012

Undergraduate interest in manuscripts

In 2011-2012, an enterprising group of students involved in the Homer Multitext project worked through the lengthy administrative requirements to form a new Registered Student Organization at the College of the Holy Cross.  The Manuscripts, Inscriptions and Documents Club is, as far as I am aware, unique:  an undergraduate club with the stated mission " to further the study of ... paleography, codicology, epigraphy, as well as the study of languages" through collaborative research involving students and faculty.

They seem to be succeeding:  at the club's first general meeting of the new academic year on Friday, seventeen returning members and three faculty collaborators were joined by twenty newcomers.  Six of the club's most active members could not attend Friday's meeting because they are currently studying abroad, but they have already sent back photographs of inscriptions as part of a club project on the epigraphic sources for tribute in fifth-century Athens, just one of an expanded roster of projects the club is hosting this year.

A larger group working on the Homer Multitext project will also allow us to expand our work on manuscripts of the Iliad.  We are experimenting this fall with new methods to help automate parts of the process of creating normalized texts parallel to the more strictly diplomatic texts that remain our central focus, and will be able to supplement our ongoing work on the Venetus A and Escorial Upsilon 1.1 with new teams looking at the Venetus B.

While the work on the Iliadic manuscripts will directly contribute to the HMT project, it is gratifying to see the broader awareness of and interest in primary-source material that the project is generating.

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