DigiPal (Digital Resource and Database of Palaeography, Manuscripts and Diplomatic)


The Digital Resource for Palaeography (DigiPal) is a project funded by the European Research Council that brings digital technology to bear on scholarly discussion of medieval handwriting. At its heart will be hundreds of newly-commissioned photographs of eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon script from the major manuscript collections in the world, with detailed descriptions of the handwriting, the textual content, and the wider manuscript or documentary context. However, another important aim is to develop freely-available generalised framework for the online presentation of palaeographical content which allows scholars to search for, view, and organise detailed characteristics of handwriting in both verbal and visual form. Users will therefore be able to search for material such as ‘show me images of the letter a in charters issued from Canterbury during the mid-eleventh century’, ‘plot the frequency of a given form of trelative to all other forms of t’, or ‘show me images of the letter g in manuscripts of Old English homilies arranged on an interactive timeline’. This also requires theoretical work on the nature of handwriting and how it can best be described and captured systematically in digital (or any other) form.


The project began in October 2010, and is due to complete in September 2014.


The project comprises three main parts:

  • The generalised web framework for the delivery of palaeographical content online.
  • The database of content specific to English Vernacular minuscule of the eleventh century.
  • A series of print publications which put this content into practice for our understanding of English Vernacular minuscule in particular and palaeographical method in general.

In addition to these, the project website also contains an active blog with regular articles on theoretical questions relating to the project, and a news section which contains regular updates of events and other points relating to medieval palaeography.

Project Team

  • Peter A. Stokes – Project Director and Principal Investigator
  • Stewart J. Brookes – Research Associate
  • Beatriz Caballero – Lead Interface Developer (2010–2012)
  • Paul Caton – Lead Analyst
  • Stephan Hügel – Lead Developer (from 2012)
  • Neil Jakeman – Developer
  • David Little – Lead Interface Developer (from 2012)
  • José Miguel Vieira – Lead Developer (2010–2012); Developer (from 2012)
  • Matilda Watson – PhD Student


DigiPal Project Website