The Astonishing Digital Public Library of America

I had no idea there was anything like the Digital Public Library of America until I saw it referenced in the Biblliocraft book I bought several weeks ago. It’s fascinating what I uncover with it. Now I’m hooked.  DPLA is a gigantic digital storage locker I can paw through to search, explore and discover enticing items to use or read for fun. It is a discovery tool. With it I’ve found public domain and openly licensed books, images and other content stored in US archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions.  I love how it finds items I didn’t think to look for like when I used its home page search tool to find “illuminated manuscripts”. I amazingly netted 3,341 results from 62 contributing institutions. That kept me busy a very long time.  To decide my best plan of attack I can click to arrange them by relevance, alphabetically or date. They’re listed in sections divided by term, location, language, institution and more. The items are listed with bibliographic information and include a picture if available. DPLA has a help page with videos about using it and other information. You find it on the topmost bar. There are also a searchable timeline and map pages. The map search for “manuscripts” returned 1,139 results visually displaying their 28 locations. That tells me how far and where I can go to see the actual entries if I want.  Its exhibitions page tells stories compiled from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. […]

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Searching for Easter Week in Illuminated Manuscripts

Happy Easter Everyone. With Easter and the Holy Week before it I wondered what medieval images I could find about them. I expected there to be an illuminated manuscripts image bonanza and nerdy trivia, but first I needed find how to search for them. As usual, Wikipedia provides a place to start.  Holy Week is Lent’s fifth and last week and the week before Christian Easter. It also includes Friday of Sorrows, a solemn remembrance day for the Virgin Mary, and the Friday before Palm Sunday. It is memorable for Jesus crucifixion. While this information is known by many, when searching Google for anything it is important to have proper terms to avoid unrelated, possibly even offensive items. I began with “Friday of Sorrows in illuminated manuscripts” because I did not know that phrase and was curious. I found nothing by Google. That’s rare, but it happens. Moving on and changing topics I used Google and found numerous beautiful examples of “crucifixion in illuminated manuscripts.” (Of course, I found some extraneous items too.) Crucifixion by Meister des Rabula-Evangeliums  That netted me the earliest illuminated crucifixion. Intriguing because it is a long lasting first. It is in the Rabbula Gospels, a 6th-century Syriac Gospel Book and one of the finest Byzantine illuminated manuscripts. I also searched for “Holy Week Illuminated Manuscripts” and found Thomas Stone’s book collectors blog “The Books in My Life” posting in 2011 about Holy Week-Collecting Books of Hours. A relevant post for scribes on Books of Hours.   British Library’s […]

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Finding Sexy Codicology

I’m a Medieval manuscript search addict. I’ll admit it. This time I found the sexy way to find inspiration and information on digitized manuscripts. It’s Sexy Codicology  I’m nuts about its enlightening blog posts and newsletters, which is how I first discovered Sexy.  SC is an independent project that dives into digitized manuscript collections to find beautiful or intriguing illuminated manuscripts to share on social media. SC has over a thousand followers on its Pinterest board, a Sexy Codicology Youtube channel, a Twitter account, and an SC Facebook page with over 11,000 likes. They are also on Google+ and Tumblr. Sexy was started in July of 2013, by  Giulio Menna and Marjolein de Vos. Their team is spreading interest and access to the world’s illuminated manuscripts. They are also working with the collectors to make high resolution viewing technology operate consistently between digital collections. This will improve remote research between sites and provide artists greater access. Giulio Menna is dedicated to western medieval manuscripts and the challenges of digital humanities to develop new ways to access digitized material. He began the handy searchable digitized manuscript map (DMMapp) linking over 300 digital libraries with 20,000+ medieval manuscripts that can be browsed for free. It can also be accessed via an app. If you love medieval manuscripts as I do and also have my passion for new technologies to access them you’ll love Sexy Codicology. It is spreading the illuminated manuscript word around the digital world and bringing the dusty old manuscripts into today’s light.  Prior Related Post: How to Google for Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations

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7 Scribal YouTube Playlists

I prize the Internet for its ability to teach. If you know what you want to find and how to find it, so much is available. Very different than when I came up as a scribe. It does make your ability to critique your findings more important. To wonder about your resource’s accuracy, authenticity, and appropriateness. That is true with […]

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Is Gouache Period?

My rocks for paint collection.  Every year this question pops up in the scribes guild, “Is gouache period?” I use it because it is more convenient than making paint from rocks and plants. I get favorable results, too. But, how Medieval is it? I have a tangled answer. Unfortunately, it is a lengthy story. To begin, the all-knowing Wikipedia reports […]

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How To Google For Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations

Calontir‘s current Monarchs, Logan and Ylva, are Norse-Viking and the scroll they want me to do is for a person with a 14th century Western European SCA persona. How do I blend those two? I started by asking Google. Trolling for manuscript images with Google is helpful if you know the way it searches. Its search results are based, in part, on a priority rank called a “PageRank”, a way Google measures a web page’s importance.  The first image(s), if any, are from the entered search term(s). After the most likely items, the search engine hunts for individual terms in your request. (This applies to text as well as images. Right now I’m looking for images.) For example, entering “14th century Norse illuminated manuscript” Google first provides images and the first two are Viking style boats in 14th-century manuscripts. Spot on for my search terms.  The next image Google provides is an English 14th-century illuminated manuscript. A ball-park result, 14th-century. But there’s a problem here. If the person asking for the search doesn’t know or doesn’t follow through with calling up the original image, it’s possible to misinterpret the results. A Viking boat image in a 14th-century manuscript fits, but a pretty, English manuscript that doesn’t have Edda prose or similar is unsuitable. The next image takes you to a list of 14th-century illuminated manuscripts at Wikipedia. Interesting to know what other manuscripts of the time look like, but less specific than my request. The last images […]

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Incredible Wealth Of Free Artist e-Books

I’ve been searching and collecting information for my Scribal Resources page. Recently I came across this large free book collection by David Myers. Rather than pillage his items individually, please, check The Art is Creation, Free* Artist Reference e-Books page yourself.  The web page is a scribe and art history geek’s on-line library in one place. The books contain a humongous free information trove. Most available in Kindle format.  No longer do you have to pay hard earned money for books or spend days at local college libraries gleaning information. (I described the research transition from library to online in a prior post.) Today, your access is easier. Take advantage of it.

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My 10 Favorite European Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations

For your viewing pleasure, I give you my 10 most artistically inspiring illuminated manuscripts. Not all are lavish, but all encourage my creativity. I hope they do yours too.  Book of Kells created c. 800, is a calligraphy masterwork and pinnacle of Insular illumination. Regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure, its extravagance and decoration complexity combines traditional Christian motifs with ornate swirling patterns. Humans, animals […]

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Wow! Scribal Research Has Changed

I love books, which is why my favorite bookstore closing was such a big deal. I buy books or borrow them from everywhere. Books and research are part of the SCA‘s attraction to me. Bookstore Search When I first joined the SCA, 26 years ago, I spent hours at the library each week. Then took a  stack off books home.  […]

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How-to Remove Scary From Writing SCA Documentation

In my previous article on arts and sciences documentation I responded to a common SCA non-writer’s lament. It presented several ways to show off creations without detailed writing. So what? What can you do if you want to write documentation? How do you learn to do it or improve at it? I won’t re-invent the wheel here. Instead, I give you resources to help you remove the scary from writing documentation. If you are very new to this try the first link. Others have sections on basic documentation that help as well. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The SCA Arts and Sciences Easy Documentation-Writing Form on Ez-Doc–This Ez-Doc is form you edit with specific categories predetermined. You fill in sections relating to names (SCA and modern), project title, your inspiration (historical basis), tools and materials, procedure/methods, and sources. Entries Showing Documentation A & S Documentation Made Simple–A 2 page pdf about documentation steps. It’s presented in a form similar to many documentation entries I’ve judged. Examples included. Kingdom of Atlantia Arts and Sciences Handbook includes three brief sections on documentation. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As I come from the Kingdom of Calontir, I include this link to their Arts and Sciences Criteria. Have a look at what judges expect to learn from you about your creation. Each category is broken into sections: novice, intermediate, and advanced. There is so much to be learned from writing about your project. It crystallizes your knowledge about your medieval creation. These links […]

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