Guest post by Dr Denis Casey, who worked on the Parker on the Web project.
It is unsurprising that the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic has a long and proud association with the Parker Library and visits to the library are often among the most memorable moments in students’ entire undergraduate and graduate careers. The Department was particularly fortunate this year that the Library hosted two manuscript training events for its graduate students, on the 9th and 10th of May. These training sessions were intended to provide students with a foundation in manuscript handling, necessary to equip them with the skills to treat such materials with respect and care, whenever they gain access to them.
After a tour and introduction to the history of the Parker Library by Gill and Suzanne,students first explored a variety of manuscript surrogates, from a Nixon-era microfilm reader to the state-of-the-art Parker Library on the Web online resource
Melvin Jefferson’s expertly produced mock manuscripts then proved an invaluable tool for practising how to physically handle a manuscript in a real library situation. Along the way we also explored many of the dangers manuscripts face, such as the attention of hungry mice (where is Pangur Bán when you need him? (see ASNAC Spoken Word website) and even spillages by alchemical potion mixers!
A huge debt of gratitude is owed by the Department to the members of the Parker Library, who continually share their treasures and their love of the medieval world with us.