About This Project

“The Medieval Manuscript: From Charlemagne to Gutenberg,” or LIS 464, is offered by the Simmons School of Library and Information Science as part of its elective curriculum for master’s candidates.  Under the direction of Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America, LIS 464 customarily features a series of on-site work sessions at the Boston Public Library.  As final coursework, each student is expected to prepare a complete bibliographic description of a specific manuscript leaf from the BPL’s medieval collection.

In the fall of 2015, the temporary closure of the BPL’s Rare Book Department due to mold contamination made this approach impossible.  “Reconstructing Ege FOL 47” represents Professor Davis’ innovative response to this challenging situation.

To allow the students of LIS 464 an opportunity for sophisticated study of a specific manuscript in the absence of access to original artifacts, Professor Davis designed a "virtual" reconstruction project, similar to her own work with the 13th century Beauvais Missal.

As described on Omeka.org, Omeka is a “web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions":

  • One or more digital images of an artifact may be added to an Omeka project as a single “item,” to which Dublin Core metadata can be attached. 
  • These images can then be arranged into “exhibits,” with captions and more extended commentary as desired. 
  • Once added to the site, the same item can be used in more than one exhibit.

"Reconstructing Ege FOL 47" is hosted on Omeka.net using the free Basic plan for projects requiring less than 500MB of data storage.  Various subscription options for projects requiring higher levels of data storage are outlined under the Plans tab at Omeka.net. In the case of projects that have access to their own server for data storage, Omeka is available for download as free, open-source software at Omeka.org

The following students were enrolled in LIS 464 in the fall of 2015 and contributed content to this project:

Maxine Brown
Jill Chancellor
Alexis Dhembe
Sean Doherty
Ann Dyer
Anne Ferrante
Erin Fordahl
Catherine Gaggioli
Adriene Galindo
Jennifer Gray
Lindsay Johnson
Warren Nelson
Katherine Philbin
Sara Powell
Neida Rodriguez
Rebecca Sandler
Rebekah Sue Scoggins
Robin Weintraub
Shelby Wolfe

Each student in the class was assigned a digitized leaf of “FOL 47”, the 47th manuscript dismantled by "biblioclast" Otto F. Ege to create his famous Fifty Original Leaves from Medieval Manuscripts portfolios.  These images were contributed by the libraries and other institutions throughout North America that house the original leaves. 

The student’s individual responsibility was to study the images of his or her leaf, describe the leaf as thoroughly as possible using the Dublin Core fields available in Omeka, and upload the images and description to Omeka as an “item.”

Each student was also expected to write captions for the images and add them to a communal exhibit (“Ege FOL 47”), which had been organized according to the sections a Book of Hours might typically possess.  Students were to collaborate as needed to determine the proper order of leaves within the same section (for example, the seven available leaves from the Office of the Dead.) 

Students were also encouraged to construct additional exhibits to discuss any findings or observations about FOL 47 arising from the reconstruction of the manuscript.  For example, our analysis has shown that the first owner of FOL 47 was certainly a woman, certainly French-speaking, and most likely a resident of the diocese of Troyes.  These findings are presented in the exhibit, "Who Used FOL 47?"

Welcome to our site, and please feel free to contact Lisa.Davis@simmons.edu with any questions or comments.  We would also be very pleased to hear of any leaves of FOL 47 that we may have overlooked.

Katherine Bonamo Philbin
March 2016
Contact information updated January 20, 2022
Other site content last updated February 3, 2017