Deciphering Secrets Paleography Manual For The 19th-Century Copy (“Traslado”) Of The Capitulary Acts, Cathedral Of Placensia, Spain, by Anthony M. Puglisi, Ph.D and and Roger L. Martinez-Davila, Ph.D.
I commented earlier that one of the coursera classes I am taking is engaged in the task of transcribing an old and very large manuscript, a task that gave me an idea for how primary source documentation could be made more available to the Church of God community through the work of citizen scholars (who could transcribe information like the papers of Rhode Island Seventh Day Baptists or old manuscripts of the Sabbath Bulletin or even 16th century Sabbath pamphlets from England, among the more accessible sources that could easily be transcribed assuming that permission could be received from the owners of the text . This particular guide seeks to help citizen scholars be able to read and transcribe the text quickly and effectively, and is certainly written with practical goals in mind.
As far as the contents and organization of this particular manual (which runs about 50 pages), this book is very straightforward. It opens with a short history of the document that the citizen scholars will be translating, and provides examples of the upper case, lower case, numbers, and symbols that scholars will be reading and transcribing, some of which (like the one for “your lady”) are very unusual. The manual then gives some matching and fill in the blanks exercises and then examples of passages to transcribe, along with answer keys and examples of how to use the strategies the manual provides. This is not a fancy sort of work, but there is a certain elegance in its technical achievements that helps to provide a great deal of encouragement and instruction to others.
Ultimately, that is the purpose of this work. Its organization provides a model to others who wish to organize the scholarly endeavors of others. There is a certain elegance to the work. First, a scholar receives access to a particular document of historical excellence but does not wish to spend a lot of man-years for himself or some graduate assistant to do grunt work, so instead the scholar uses some of the texts as examplars in order to teach other people to help out with the work, giving them the tools to do so well, and thus saving time while also involving a much larger group of people on work that would be extremely tedious for one or a few people to do. It is an immensely clever strategy, and this work can provide a model for others who wish to involve themselves in similar projects. I must admit that this is a text I will save as well, because it may be useful someday in my own scholarly efforts, and my desire to share the process of research in old texts with others, with proper attribution, of course..