Boston University: ASC Completes Research Project on Mandinka Archives. “The African Studies Center, an affiliated center of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, have completed a project with Mugar Library focusing on the archives of Mandinka scholars of Casamance, Senegal…. The team digitized a little over 18,000 pages of Arabic, Arabic-Ajami bilingual texts, and Mandinka Ajami materials covering a variety of religious and non-religious subjects. This reprsents the largest digital collection of Mande scholars’ work in the world, which will help scholars and students of Africa around the world enhance their teaching and research on various aspects of Africa.”
9 News: Secrets of billions of ancient Japanese texts being uncovered by AI. “The content of billions of ancient texts written in a now-obsolete Japanese script have long puzzled researchers struggling to decode the secrets they might hold. Known as Kuzushiji, the ancient cursive script was used from the 8th century to the start of the 20th, however less than 0.01 per cent of the world’s population can currently read it.”
Global Press Journal: How Sri Lankans Are Preserving History, One Manuscript At a Time. “Thousands of one-of-a-kind manuscripts written on palmyrah leaves that were lost during Sri Lanka’s civil war, are being recovered. Now, local people are working to digitize them and preserve the history they contain.” This Web site was a bit of a slow load for me, but I found the article well worth it.
British Library Medieval Manuscripts Blog: Insular Manuscripts: Networks of Knowledge. “For the last three years, the ‘Insular Manuscripts: Networks of Knowledge’ project has been investigating the large number of manuscripts written in insular scripts between the mid-7th and the mid-9th centuries. The project aims to examine knowledge exchange in early medieval Europe through analysis of these manuscripts. Some of the manuscripts were written in Britain and Ireland, but many were written in Francia and northern Italy, in monasteries which had been founded by missionaries from Ireland and the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.”
British Library Medieval manuscripts blog: Even more digitised manuscripts. “Long-term readers of this Blog may be aware that we periodically publish lists of our digitised manuscripts. Our last one was published in July 2018 and the wait for a new one is over — here are up-to-date lists of manuscript hyperlinks to make it easier for you to explore our amazing digitised treasures.”
British Library: New collections online – June 2019. “Over the past few months we have made six new projects available to view online through our website. These new collections demonstrate the diverse variety of archives the EAP digitises, and includes eighteenth-century Brazilian royal orders, artwork and photography by Lalit Mohan Sen, colonial archives, Coptic manuscripts and prayer scrolls, war photography, and historic newspapers.”
New-to-me and recently updated, from the Asian and African Studies Blog: Islamic Painted Page: Growing a Database. “Since its launch in 2013, Islamic Painted Page (IPP) has grown into a major online database of Islamicate arts of the book, with over 42,000 references to paintings, illuminations and bindings from over 270 collections around the globe – of which the British Library is one of the most important…. The website enables users to search by picture description, collection, accession number, date, place of origin, manuscript title or author, or publication – or any combination of these.”
Ars Technica: No, someone hasn’t cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript. “There are so many competing theories about what the Voynich manuscript is—most likely a compendium of herbal remedies and astrological readings, based on the bits reliably decoded thus far—and so many claims to have deciphered the text, that it’s practically its own subfield of medieval studies. Both professional and amateur cryptographers (including codebreakers in both World Wars) have pored over the text, hoping to crack the puzzle.”
Reuters: Ancient Christian manuscripts digitised at monastery beneath Mount Sinai. “At St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Egypt’s Mount Sinai, the silence in the library is broken only by low electrical humming, as an early manuscript is bathed in green light. A team from Greece are photographing thousands of fragile manuscripts, including some of the earliest copies of the Christian gospels, using a complex process that includes taking images in red, green and blue light and merging them with computer software to create a single high-quality colour picture.”
British Library: Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta digitisation project completed. “Over 30,000 digital images of Javanese manuscripts from Yogyakarta are now fully accessible online through the British Library’s Digitised Manuscripts website. The project, generously supported by Mr S P Lohia, has digitised 75 Javanese manuscripts held in the British Library from the collections of John Crawfurd and Colin Mackenzie, who both served in Java under Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lieutenant-Governor from 1811 to 1816. The manuscripts had been identified by historians Peter Carey and Merle Ricklefs as having been taken from the Kraton (palace) of Yogyakarta following a British attack in June 1812, when Crawfurd was Resident of Yogyakarta and Mackenzie was Chief Engineer of the British army in Java.” They are beautiful.
Library of Congress: 1,000 Years of Literary Tradition in Rare Persian-Language Manuscripts Now Online at Library of Congress. “In celebration of the Persian New Year, also known as Nowruz, the Library of Congress has digitized and made available online for the first time the Rare Persian-Language Manuscript Collection, which sheds light on scientific, religious, philosophical and literary topics that are highly valued in the Persian speaking lands.”
BBC: Cambridge University and Vatican manuscripts made public online. “Hundreds of medieval Greek manuscripts held by Cambridge and Heidelberg universities and the Vatican are to be made available to the public online. The £1.6m project will digitise more than 800 volumes featuring the works of Plato and Aristotle, among others.”
British Library: Why we love the Harley Irish Gospels. “How better to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than to announce the digitisation of two important Irish manuscripts from the British Library’s collections? Harley MS 1023 and Harley MS 1802 were both made in the 12th century in Armagh, St Patrick’s foundation and medieval cult centre.”
RTE: Rare medieval manuscripts answer prayers of researchers into history of Irish saints . “Research into ‘forgotten’ medieval chants and prayers is shedding new light on the history of the cult of Irish saints, including St Patrick. Trinity College Dublin’s Amra project is aiming to digitise and make freely available over 300 manuscripts containing liturgical material associated with some 40 Irish saints.”
British Library: Classical Central Asia in the Digital Age: Three Newly-Digitised Navoiy Manuscripts at the British Library . “Thanks to a partnership between the British Library and the Tashkent State University of Uzbek Language and Literature named Alisher Navoiy, three manuscripts including the poetical works of Alisher Navoiy are now available online. These three items are the first Chagatai-language texts to be uploaded to the Library’s digitised manuscript holdings, a sample of the more than 110 Chagatai and Central Asian Turkic manuscripts held by the British Library as part of its Turkish and Turkic collections.”