LIPS 2022

LIPS in 2022 ran for one week only. Below are outlines of the courses that were run. The courses consisted of live lectures and interactive discussion, as well off-site visits.

For more information on past courses, please email

LIPS week one: 6 - 12 June 2022

Introduction to the Codicology of Medieval Manuscripts I James Freeman

This course will take you from cow to codex, from membrane to manuscript, equipping you with all the skills you need to begin independent research into medieval manuscripts. It will cover each stage of the book production process, exploring how component materials were made, how texts were copied and decoration planned and executed, and how books were bound, with illustrative examples drawn from a variety of manuscript libraries. You will learn about variations in practice in medieval Europe, as well as cutting-edge scientific techniques that are enabling scholars to shed new light on old books. You will also learn to identify and interpret evidence of production in surviving books, through hands-on exercises with medieval manuscripts from the collection at Senate House Library. 

Introduction to Greek Palaeography I Laura Franco

his is an introductory course in Greek Palaeography, consisting of two parts. Part I is devoted to a brief survey of the earlier history of the Greek script covering evidence from early inscriptions, through majuscule papyri to manuscripts of the Byzantine period up to the ninth century, including the first examples of Greek minuscule.  Part II concentrates on the Greek minuscule from the ninth to the 15th century and the first printed books. The development of the Greek script will be examined with relation to political events and cultural movements which shaped it through the centuries. Participants will learn how to transcribe a text from a facsimile of a Greek manuscript and examine basic codicological and palaeographical aspects, including the layout of the text, the use of ligatures, nomina sacra, abbreviations and colophons. This course will include practical transcription exercises which can only be undertaken with a knowledge of Greek script and of the Greek language, ancient or modern. However, students without Greek can be accepted on the understanding that they will remain passive during these exercises.   

Introduction to Palaeography and Manuscript Studies I Katherine Hindley and Laura Cleaver

This course introduces students to key skills for the study of medieval manuscripts, from the making of parchment to reading text and imagery. The course is designed for beginners, with no previous experience or language skills. It is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students, those working in libraries and archives, and anyone with an interest in medieval books. 

Bilingual Manuscripts in England 950-1200 I Francisco Alvarez Lopez

The establishment of Caroline minuscule in England during the mid-10th century brought about a situation where English scribes were using their native Anglo-Saxon script for Old English texts and the new, continental forms for Latin. This course studies the production of bilingual manuscripts from c. 950 to 1200 and traces the evolution of this dichotomy as seen in manuscripts where the two languages (and scripts) are used side by side. We will explore the parallel evolution of both scripts into the transitional script of the 12th century, when Old English continued to be written well after the Norman Conquest, as shown by recent work. Similarly, we will study the ways in which scribes negotiated the use of different sets of letterforms on the same page.  

Latin Palaeography: Early Book Hands I Anna Somfai

The course provides training in the practical skills of reading and transcribing Latin book hands from different geographic areas and ranging from the 4th to the 12th centuries, covering the ancient and early medieval scripts and script systems. Sight reading (reading without preparation) of digitised manuscript folios will be combined with a discussion of the characteristics of hand, script, and abbreviations. The course provides a systematic overview of script development within the chronological framework and an explanation of abbreviation types. Practical guidance for dating and identifying hands will be provided along the way. The course proceeds chronologically throughout the two days starting with capitalis quadrata and ending with the transitional script. The readings (printed and online) provide background and details of script characteristics and script development. 

Introduction to the Cataloguing of Medieval Manuscripts I James Freeman and Peter Kidd

This course will help you to establish good practice in identifying, gathering, interpreting and sorting physical and other evidence contained in manuscripts, enabling you to undertake medieval manuscripts research in a systematic and methodical manner. It will provide an overview of the development of manuscript description as a discipline, explaining how its rules and conventions have evolved. You will study the various ways in which information about manuscripts has been presented, and learn how to read and comprehend published catalogues and the work of other manuscripts researchers. The course will take you through the process of compiling a description step by step, using both digital facsimiles and manuscripts from Senate House Library. 

Early Modern English Palaeography I Nigel Ramsay

Deciphering the handwriting of the past is just the first step in the process of presenting it for others to read. This course combines palaeography (the decipherment of Early Modern handwriting) with diplomatic (studying the form that past documents took) and the process of editorial intervention that enables us to present our transcription in a form that makes it accessible to others in a satisfactory scholarly way. The act of transcribing a document is always an act of editing: this day will aim to make that act a planned exercise that achieves the transformation in the best way possible.  This course can be taken on its own or to complement the Introduction to English Palaeography. 

Introductory and Intermediate Latin Palaeography I Marigold Norbye

This course will provide a brief overview of the main elements of Latin palaeography, concentrating on scripts of the later medieval period (1100-1500).  It aims to provide students with enough practical information and tips to enable them to approach the transcription of manuscripts with greater confidence.  The course will consist of practical exercises, transcribing several different types of script.  The most common abbreviation symbols will be explained from the start, and the evolution of letter forms illustrated during the transcription exercises.  Participants must have at least elementary Latin in order to benefit from the course.  The course is aimed at absolute beginners in palaeography, although it can benefit those with limited experience.  It would be useful if participants could indicate whether they have any previous experience of palaeography when applying. 

Introduction to Visigothic ScriptI Ainoa Castro Correa

Almost all manuscript production of early medieval Iberia was written in Visigothic script, the peninsular equivalent to Merovingian, Insular, or Beneventan scripts for their correspondent geographical areas. In this course students will gain knowledge about its main characteristics, typological and geographical variants, and stages of evolution, being these aspects discussed through digital reproductions of significant manuscript exemplars. 

Transcribing and Editing Manuscripts I Wim Van Mierlo

This course will introduce students to the basic characteristics of ‘modern' manuscripts produced from 1700 onwards. This includes documents that belong to the composition and transmission of literary, philosophical and historical (notebooks, rough drafts, fair copies, etc.) as well as letters, diaries and other private documents. In this course, you will learn about changes in handwriting from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, about the conventions of writing in this period, and more generally about commonly-used methods of transcription and the principles of editing manuscripts. This in-depth study of theoretical and methodological issues will be rounded off with some practical exercises in which you will try your hand at transcribing a variety of materials. 

Introduction to TEI I James Freeman and Matthew Holford

This course will introduce you to TEI, the Text Encoding Initiative, and the main outlines of the TEI manuscript description module. Through practical exercises – converting existing descriptions into TEI or encoding information directly from manuscripts – you will learn how to use the building blocks of TEI language in structuring and encoding a manuscript description, and discover how TEI affects how information is recorded and categorised. The course will prompt you to consider the strengths and weaknesses of a standardised, digital approach to these unique, analogue artefacts, helping you to develop a reflective practice as a manuscript scholar, and integrate digital approaches in your own studies.