The Miscellany Collection highlights 32 historically significant manuscript and printed leaves which were recently discovered in the Special Collections Department at Tisch Library. Traditionally, these types of records would have been cataloged for display in a library OPAC, with a minimal level of description. (For an example of previous cataloging practice, consider this record from the Tisch Library catalog.)
Needless to say, collection level records encoded soley in MARC Metadata are problematic as scholars are increasingly turning to the web instead of library catalogs. Whole collections, such as this one, are slowly becoming invisible to their research because they do not use the most appropriate metadata standards.
By cataloging the material with XML instead of MARC metadata, the Miscellany Collection allows scholars to not only discover the collection online, but also visually verify cataloging information about the items themselves.
Currently the collection contains 31 records and 62 high-quality images.
Join the conversation about the metadata standards used to present these manuscripts, as well as provide feedback @TischMiscellany or read about the importance of metadata standards for the presentation of online information in this working paper.
Please also review the accompanying data dictionary to see how the content and encoding standards were implemented for this project.
Questions about this project should be directed to Alexander May at firstname.lastname@example.org
In January 2011, Professor Marie-Claire Beaulieu and her Medieval Latin students, in collaboration with Alexander May and Christopher Barbour, set out to learn more about the Tisch Miscellany. Each student chose to work on a leaf according to his/her personal interests. As each student progressed in learning to decipher the hand or print of their leaf, interesting and surprising discoveries were made. For instance, many realized that what used to be thought the obverse of a leaf was actually the reverse. Others realized that, while their leaf consisted of a well known text, such as Vergil’s Georgics, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, or a passage from the Bible, the accompanying commentary was unedited or extremely rare and at any rate, previously untranslated. Others still were able to identify leaves that were previously unknown and find details about the authors and significance of the text.
These discoveries required patience and hard work. Since each leaf is unique in the collection, each student had to get used to a different set of idiosyncrasies such as inconsistent abbreviations, non-standard letter-forms, and scribal errors. Furthermore, working with unedited or unknown texts implies complete self-reliance on the part of the editor. Students had to make educated guesses to resolve abbreviations, decipher difficult hands, or fill lacunae in their leaves without referring to other scholars’ work.
We are proud to publish the result of all this hard work online, and we hope that it will be useful for scholars and students around the world.
Questions about translating and editing should be directed to Professor Marie-Claire Beaulieu at Marie-Clare.Beaulieu@tufts.edu