Access to the College Green area of campus will be restricted until further notice. PennCard holders and some Penn affiliates may enter and exit Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center through the Rosengarten Undergraduate Study Center on the ground floor, and may enter and exit the Fisher Fine Arts Library through the 34th Street entrance to Meyerson Hall. See our Service Alerts for details.

The Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age

This annual symposium, organized by the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia, brings together scholars from around the world and across disciplines to present research related to the study of manuscript books and documents produced before the age of printing and to discuss the role of digital technologies in advancing manuscript research. Whether relying on traditional methods of scholarship or exploring the potential of new technologies, the research presented in each symposium highlights the value of the manuscript book or document in understanding our intellectual heritage. 

Large initial B on page in Book of Psalms (Ms. Codex 1058, fol. 1v)

2023 Symposium

Past Symposia

Astronomical diagram from LJS 57, an astronomical compendium compiled for Pedro IV, King of Aragon, ca. 1361 in Catalonia, Spain, p. 111
  • Symposium
November 10-12, 2022

Translating Science

This year's symposium considers the networks of exchange, transmission, and translation of natural knowledge evident in manuscript culture in the pre- and early modern periods.

  • Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts and Free Library of Philadelphia
Open to the Public
Fragment of Avicenna's (980-1037) Canon medicinae, Italy, 14th or 15th century (Ms. Coll. 591 Folder 44)
  • Symposium
November 17-19, 2021

Loss

This symposium will interrogate the notions of loss, survival, and recuperation in manuscript studies, so often in the background but rarely acknowledged as defining features of the field.

  • Virtual
Open to the Public
Medieval manuscripts: 11 openings. The arrangement imitates a gallery of participants at a Zoom conference.
  • Symposium
November 18-20, 2020

Manuscript Studies in the Covid-19 Age

This symposium will focus on the opportunities and limitations offered by digitization and lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Virtual
Open to the Public
A chromatic scale diagram from a late 15th century copy of Boethius' De institutione musica (LJS 47, fol. 41v), merged with a detail of the linked data model of the Mapping Manuscript Migrations Project
  • Symposium
November 21-23, 2019

Hooking Up

This year’s symposium explores the connections between historic and current approaches to data linkage in regard to manuscripts and manuscript research.

  • Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
Open to the Public
Initial I with a saint, possibly St. John the Evangelist
  • Symposium
November 15 - 17, 2018

Illuminations: Manuscript, Medium, Message

This year’s symposium examines cases of intermedial exchange through manuscript illumination, while also posing broader questions about the deep connections between the craft of illumination and other arts more widely.

  • Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
Open to the Public
Ms. Indic 9, fol. 44r.
  • Symposium
November 2-4, 2017

Intertwined Worlds

This symposium will highlight the confluence of expressions of belief, ritual, and social engagement emerging in technologies and traditions of the world's manuscript cultures, often beyond a single religious context.

  • Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
Open to the Public
Vellum bifolium containing portions of Psalms 79, 80, and 84, with initials in red
  • Symposium
November 12-14, 2015

Picking Up the Pieces

This year's theme, "Picking up the Pieces," considers the notions and consequences of fragmentation and reconstitution.

  • Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
Open to the Public
Book stamp of Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792-1872) showing a lion rampant.
  • Symposium
November 6-8, 2014

Collecting Histories

This year's symposium highlights the work of the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts by bringing together scholars and digital humanists whose work concerns the study of provenance and the history of collecting pre-modern manuscripts.

  • Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
Open to the Public
Diagram of head with faculties and senses

November 21-23, 2013

Thinking Outside the Codex

This year's symposium will encourage participants to "think outside the codex" and turn the tables on traditional approaches to manuscript study.

Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Image of tree.jpg

November 16-17, 2012

Taxonomies of Knowledge

This year's symposium considers the role of the manuscript in organizing and classifying knowledge.

Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Illuminated initial with the jurist Angelo de Gambiglioni, from a copy of his Tractatus de maleficiis

October 30-31, 2009

Lex scripta: The Manuscript as Witness to the History of Law

This year's symposium is dedicated to the history of handwritten law and legal documents in Western Europe and the Middle East up to the early modern period in honor of the 100th anniversary of the death of Henry Charles Lea.

Kislak Center, 6th Floor Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Image above: Detail from a Glossed Psalter, Laon?, France, ca. 1100 [UPenn Ms. Codex 1058, fol. 1v]