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This page contains brief explanations of tools and resources associated with the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies (SIMS) which may be of use to you.

SIMS Teaching and Learning Resources

This website collects many of the teaching and learning resources available through SIMS. There are four pages, each of which links to a number of different resources to help you study and teach with manuscripts. The site also includes the digital exhibitions which showcase some of the manuscript holdings at Penn Libraries.


We have mentioned OPenn several times in this site because it is where the digital surrogates of the manuscripts which we have been looking at are stored. The OPenn repository stores much more than Islamic manuscripts, however. There are primary source materials from a number of different collections held in OPenn. Everything you find on OPenn is high-resolution archival images which you can download and use however you like. If you have trouble figuring out how to download a complete set of files (say if you want to have the whole manuscript to look at and not just a few pages), you can watch this video, produced by Jessie Dummer, the Digitization Project Coordinator, about how to use WGET to download from OPenn (or anywhere).

WGET to download

The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM)

This database is a provenance database. It aggregates information about the trade in pre-modern manuscripts from around the world. The SDBM is also user-maintained which means that you can contribute to it and further our knowledge of where manuscripts have been, which manuscripts are out there, who has owned them, read them, written in them, sold them, bought them. You get the idea. For an informative webinar on how to use the database and how to contribute, start with this video from Emma Thompson, Project Coordinator for the Schoenberg Database.


VisColl is a way to visualize and model the collation of a manuscript. You can use the collation description that is sometimes found in a manuscript record, or you can figure it out yourself looking at a manuscript and then get a digital visualization. See this video from Dot Porter, Curator of Digital Research Services at SIMS, for a how-to tutorial.

Manuscript image

Manuscript Studies

Manuscript Studies is a new journal that embraces the full complexity of global manuscript studies in the digital age. It has been conceived with four main goals in mind. First, to bridge the gaps between material and digital manuscript research; second, to break down the walls which often separate print and digital publication and serve as barriers between academics, professionals in the cultural heritage field, and citizen scholars; third, to serve as a forum for scholarship encompassing many pre-modern manuscripts cultures—not just those of Europe; and finally to showcase methods and techniques of analysis in manuscript studies that can be applied across different subject areas. The journal accepts submissions on a rolling basis, so if you’ve got an article ready, send it our way!

You can also go check out the References, look at the Glossary for more photos, or go back to the Content Pages.