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lenticular in medievalstudies


Hello all,

I'm new here. I am considering applying for a PhD program dealing with Medieval Manuscripts. The topic is wide open and I'm curious if anyone can lead me in the right direction to topics that are of current interest in Medieval Studies?

I have reviewed many online exhibitions and I have also come up with a few topics only to research and find that a great deal has already been covered on that topic.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Well, if you're serious about working with medieval manuscripts, you definitely will need to pick up Latin at some point, so keep that in mind.

I'm definitely not a librarian, so I can't speak with any authority to what gaps are perceived in the field from that standpoint, but I can say that as someone who tries to work with manuscripts when I can (I'm in literature) there is a lack of good, quality digitized copies of a number of manuscripts. So knowing best practices as far as that goes, and combining it with a traditional knowledge of paleography and codicology -- or heck, even a basic knowledge of descriptive bibliography -- would endear you to me (at least) as a pearl beyond price.

Where is your program located? That would be something I'd consider. If it's UT or Bloomington, for example, keep in mind that a lot of the manuscript collections are on the east coast so it's not always simple to get practical experience.

Also seriously consider Rare Book School. It's interesting and fun, and for librarians looks really good on a CV. They have a scholarship to take one course free that they offer each year, so you'd only be out travel expenses and room and board if you won that.
It's actually offered in England, a full scholarship to study. I am stupidly determined to study in the UK, even though I'm sure this program will be extremely competitive, and I am likely to have no chance.

If accepted, I plan to take up a course of study in Latin ASAP.

What you've suggested about looking into quality manuscripts sounds just up my alley and similar to what I am thinking to propose, which is to survey projects already completed, evaluate the value of their methods, and suggest the best of these for the school's specific collection with implications to all universities/manuscript archives.
The UK will be ideal for manuscript studies. If I were doing my gradwork over again (and could get in, as you point out), I'd definitely consider the UK from a History of the Book standpoint rather than straight lit.

Another thing you might want to think about is the connection between metadata and the manuscript. TEI, Dublin Core, things like that. Where those initiatives work and where they fall short in terms of the medieval.

I also think you might want to take a look at the Walters' Manuscript archives on flickr. I've been really impressed with how they're combining very nice digitization work (they got a grant and their setup is really impressive) with their mission of public outreach. And the metadata is available for all the images if you need it for scholarly work.