Scattered throughout Victoria are hundreds of manuscript books, fragments, and other documents from different cultures around the globe. These invaluable sources, for both academic research and cultural enrichment, are not centrally listed or described, and in some cases, there is little or no information available about them. Nor are many of these works accessible in digital form through a single, sustainable platform. As a first step towards addressing this situation, our project combines:
- outreach to individuals, institutions, and communities to uncover hitherto unknown material, or items that are poorly described;
- a staged canvassing of known collections in Victoria; and
- exploring pathways to combining the available inventories.
This exploratory project, led by Professor Guy Geltner, School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University, focuses on textual material written down in Arabic script, Hebrew, Greek and Latin before 1600. We are interested in both whole manuscript books and individual leaves, written on paper, parchment or papyrus. We are interested in all kinds of texts, of which the following are just some examples: literary (stories, poems, works of history or philosophy), religious (sermons, prayers, liturgical texts), administrative (accounts, letters, diplomas, certificates), educational (grammar books, works on geography or science).
With the long-term aim of bringing together existing information about the items held in different places into a single public resource, this project seeks to collect information about items that are not yet or very poorly described.