DigiPal Symposium 2011


Date: 5 September 2011, 9.30am-5.30pm

Place: Council Room, King’s College London

In recent years, scholars have begun to develop and employ new technologies and computer-based methods for palaeographic research. The aim of the symposium is to present developments in the field, explore the limits of digital and computational-based approaches, and share methodologies across projects which overlap or complement each other.

Call for Papers

Papers of 20 minutes in length were invited on any relevant aspect of digital methods and resources for palaeography and manuscript studies. Possible topics could have included:

  • Project reports and/or demonstrations
  • Palaeographical method; ‘Digital’ and ‘Analogue’ palaeography
  • Quantitative and qualitative approaches
  • ‘Scientific’ methods, ‘objectivity’ and the role of evidence in manuscript studies
  • Visualisation of manuscript evidence and data
  • Interface design and querying of palaeographical material

To propose a paper, please send a brief abstract (250 words max) to digipal [at] kcl.ac.uk. The deadline for receipt of submissions was 8th May 2011.


  • 9:30-10:00: Coffee and registration
  • 10:00–11:00: Introduction, followed by
    • Plenary Lecture: Elaine Treharne (Florida State University), A Site for Sore Eyes: Digital, Visual and Haptic Manuscript Studies
  • 11:00–11:20: Coffee Break
  • 11:20–12:30: Session 1. Chair: Orietta da Rold (University of Leicester)
    • Peter Stokes (King’s College London): DigiPal in Theory
    • Stewart Brookes (King’s College London): DigiPal in Practice
    • Erik Kwakkel (Leiden University): The Digital Eye of the Paleographer: Using Databases to Identify Scribes and Date their Handwriting
  • 12:30-13:30: Lunch (provided for all registered participants)
  • 13:30–15:00: Session 2. Chair: Ségolène Tarte (University of Oxford)
    • Wim Van Mierlo (University of London): How to Work with Modern Manuscripts in a Digital Environment — Some Desiderata
    • John McEwan and Elizabeth New (Aberystwyth University): The Seals in Medieval Wales Project: Towards a New Standard in Digital Sigillography
    • Ben Outhwaite and Huw Jones (Cambridge University Library): Navigating Cambridge’s Digital Library: the Cairo Genizah and Beyond
  • 15:00–15:20: Coffee Break
  • 15:20–16:50: Session 3. Chair: Malte Rehbein (Universität Würzburg)
    • Franck Le Bourgeois (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon): Overview of Image Analysis Technologies
    • James Brusuelas (University of Oxford) and John Wallin (Middle Tennessee State University): The Papyrologist in the Shell
    • Els De Paermentier (Ghent University): Diplomata Belgica: Towards a More Creative and Comparative Palaeographical Research on Medieval Charters
  • 16:50–17:00: Short Break
  • 17:00–17:30: Panel Discussion with Michelle Brown (University of London), Donald Scragg (University of Manchester) and Marc Smith (École Nationale des Chartes), chaired by Clare Lees (King’s College London)

There was no formal evening event, but an informal dinner was held in a local restaurant.