The Digital Resource and Database for Palaeography, Manuscript Studies and Diplomatic (DigiPal) is a new resource being developed at the Department of Digital Humanities at KCL. Funded by an ERC Starting Grant, it aims to bring new methods in Digital Humanities to the study of medieval handwriting in its diplomatic and manuscript context by combining digital catalogues, descriptions of handwriting, and images of documents and their constituent letter-‐forms. This poster will present a prototype of the resource, emphasising three key challenges: ‘Human-‐friendly’ tools for exploration and discovery. The interface must be designed for medievalists and must present information in ways that are useful to them. Rather than relying on statistics or a ‘black box’ with answers, it should instead provide easily intelligible ways of manipulating visual and verbal content together to aid discovery and knowledge creation.1 Searching for palaeographical content. It is very unclear what a usable interface would look like for searching scribal hands and letter-‐forms. Verbal typologies assume a single way of describing script; purely visual systems like that used by the ManCASS C11 resource are unintelligible without an explanation of the principles behind them.2 Integration and reuse of data. As well as generating new content, this resource aims to integrate existing resources. Specifically, the project team has permission to reuse the full content of the Electronic Sawyer, the ManCASS C11 Database, and the English Manuscripts 1060–1220 projects. How to model this data effectively and create a useable interface for it is a major challenge. 1 M. Jessop, ‘Data Visualization as a Scholarly Activity’, LLC 23 (2008): 281–93; T. Clement et al., ‘How Not to Read a Million Books’ <http://www3.isrl.uiuc.edu/~unsworth/hownot2read.rutgers.html>; P.A. Stokes, ‘Computer-‐Aided Paleography: Present and Future’, in Kodikologie und Paläographie im digitalen Zeitalter, eds. Malte Rehbein et al. (Norderstedt, 2009), 313–42. 2 ‘Palaeographical Catalogue’, ManCASS C11 Database of Scripts and Spelling <http://www.arts.manchester.ac.uk/mancass/c11database/>.
Peter A. Stokes and Stewart Brookes Department of Digital Humanities,
King’s College – London UK