Archive for June, 2011

June 28, 2011

Troubleshooting: printing labels loses text along margins

Best solution:

From Preview screen of Labels, switch to Layout mode.

Then go to Layouts => Layout Setup => Printing.

Adjust the appropriate margin by a few pixels. For example, to correct the problem with losing part of the first letter in a line of text along the left margin, Deb changed left margin from 3px to 9px, which corrected the problem beautifully and left a nice 1/4 inch margin along the left side of the page.

Test on regular paper before you print on label paper.

Work-around if needed:

Right-click on Preview screen of Labels.

Select “Copy page.”

Open Word document.

Paste copied page.

Adjust as needed before printing.

June 28, 2011

Troubleshooting: database automatically assigned wrong call number?

Go to the appropriate Manuscript table. Note the number that is assigned in the upper left corner of the red screen (in the example below, the number 1032)

Next go to the Microfilm table. Enter the number you recorded in the box that reads “Override Holding on Label” in the upper right corner of the Microfilm: Main layout.

Then click on a blue part of the screen. This should cause the call number to be reassigned based on the manuscript you identified in the “Override holding” box.

June 27, 2011

Week 4: June 27-July 1

Technology gremlins showed up on Monday, June 27, but we managed to triumph over them, not once but twice. First had to recover the database in the morning (using File => Recover and creating a copy in the Shared drive and on Saskia’s desktop in case something happened again). Then all the interns lost access to the network, which meant no access to the database, shared drive, shared printer, or internet. Uh oh! But, after some desperate troubleshooting, we powered off and on again the NetGear box and restored access. Whew!

Attempted label printing again today. Going well, except we were losing less than 1/8 inch of text along the left-hand margin. Deb finally figured out a way to correct this and has recorded two ways around the problem in a post


June 22, 2011

Getting to Zographou in the twelfth century

How did people travel before Google? Here is a little sketch from a twelfth century Menologion by Symeon Metaphrastes, now in the National Library of Greece (No. 2534, fol. 267r). The image has three short inscriptions, one around the top of Mount Athos, another above the monastery of Zographou, and another one saying “Vigla”—the medieval Greek word for watchmen’s post (from Latin vigilia), most likely today’s Megali Vigla in the hills beyond Ouranoupolis. The scribe was careful not to forget the small island of Ammouliani, another islet next to it (today’s Pena/Artemis), and a little ship to mark the dock of the monastery.

The only problem with the image, however, is that it is actually showing the wrong side of the peninsula. Both Zographou and Vigla (and the islets too) are on the western side, so this would take the traveler to Esphigmenou instead. Apart from that minor drawback, a beautiful map!

Ath. EBE 2534.267r

Once you pass Vigla, just ask…


June 22, 2011

Mount Athos on 60 Minutes

Did everyone see these segments which aired a few months ago?

Not to distract you from your VERY IMPORTANT work, but if you need a break…

part 1:

part 2:;housing

June 22, 2011

CERL online provenance resource

Just back from Rare Book School and I (Sarah) want to share the link for an interesting provenance resource.  The Consortium of European Research Libraries has developed a forum where you can post images of mysterious inscriptions, library stamps, bookplates, etc., and let the world of researchers comment.

(Click on “Login” to create an account.)

The site, like CERL itself, is very Western-dominated.  But why not mix things up with a few Byzantine/Greek provenance questions?  And, of course, a lot of Greek manuscripts are held in Western collections.

June 22, 2011

Week 3: June 20-24

The interns started the week by adding more A-D strips, then continued work on the microfilm from Mt. Athos.

Progress slowed when the team discovered 12 microfilm of Mone Iveron 648. Oy! What a tangle!  It appears that the late Prof. Westerink had trouble acquiring images that were adequate for his needs as he prepared the critical edition of the letters of Patriarch Photios I; because of  missing pages, poor photography, foreign objects obscuring text, etc. , he ordered copies of the same manuscript again and again. With great patience, our team sorted out which of his microfilm had which components of the manuscript, which had which legible pages, and what the handwritten notes on each of the old microfilm boxes signified. The records they created about each microfilm will be welcome by anyone who would like to use the DO microfilm to study this specific manuscript. On Wednesday morning, the last of the Mone Iveron 648 microfilm were processed.

On Wednesday morning, the team met with Michael Sohn, a member of our Publications staff who developed the database. Michael revealed the latest and greatest version of the database. One small problem with its system for generating local call numbers, but Michael came up with a work-around. The team started work with a shared version of the final database on Thursday morning (just before lunch). By the end of the day Friday (1.5 days with the new database), the team had processed 15 records.

In the next weeks, Michael will work on mapping the data from the previous, simpler versions of the database to the new, more sophisticated one. A post about the final version of the database will be added to the blog shortly.

Other activities this week: The team added more A-D strips on Wednesday afternoon (we are picking up speed on cataloging so hard to stay ahead of ourselves!), and the team tackled more of the mystery film from Ševčenko’s collection. More success as we identified film from Uppsala, Strasburg, and other cities. Saskia pulled the short straw and worked on the biggest mystery of them all: a privately owned manuscript which she learned had once belonged to the Ashburnam collection in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence (perhaps we should rename her Sherlock!)

On Friday afternoon, library casual Sarah Mackowski helped us catch up on labels and stamping boxes, after Deb types out the labels for all microfilm processed in the old versions of the database. As Saskia is fond of saying, “for the crown of martyrdom” 🙂

Total number of microfilm processed from June 6 through the end of the day June 27 (basically, three work weeks minus first day of orientation but including time spent on meetings with Michael, time lost on database and network hiccups, etc.): 115 microfilm

June 22, 2011

Week 2: June 13-17

Okay so daily updates might have been a little too ambitious… But we can report that Roderick arrived safely and started work on Monday, June 13.  Part of his first day included an orientation to the library, administrative paperwork, and training whenever Deb was available (which wasn’t much). Fortunately, Vlad and Saskia stepped in to train him themselves. By Tuesday afternoon, Roderick was practicing with microfilm and the database. His first manuscript? A beautifully illuminated commentary on Job.  Some people have all the luck… 🙂

While the team tackled microfilm from Athens and the monasteries of Mt. Athos, Deb, Michael, and Kathy continued to revise the database. On Wednesday, the interns stopped entering data in the original version and started work in the revised 2nd version of the database, which still needed some minor modifications. On Friday, Michael revealed the almost final version of a very elegant database, and the now-experienced interns offered some simple suggestions that would improve their workflow.

The team learned so quickly that, by Friday morning, it had processed most of the microfilm which were prepared already with A-D strips. In order to give more A-D strips the appropriate time (roughly 1 week) with individual film, the team tried their hand at identifying a few of the “mystery” film from the Ševčenko estate. No easy task but they succeeded with every example they tried.  Go, team!

As a special treat, the team visited the Rare Book Reading Room to view our copy of Bernard de Montfaucon’s Palæographia græca, sive De ortu et progressu literatum græcarium, et de variis omnium sæculorum scriptionis græcæ generibus: itemque de abbreviationibus & de notis variarum artium ac disciplinarum (Paris, 1708). We were joined by summer fellows Ida Toth, Nadia Ali, and Ioanna Rapti.

Film processed from lunchtime June 14-lunchtime June 21: 53

June 21, 2011

Χιονόπτωση στὸ Μοναστήρι τῶν Γεωργιανῶν

Iviron 369 (our MTA.8.8), a manuscript from anno mundi 7124 [=AD 1616] in a beautiful archaizing hand, contains a sequentia about, a viva of, and an encomium to the Patriarch Athanasius the Younger. Two and a half centuries later (AM 7371) at the very end of the manuscript (fol. 155r), a monk whose specialty must have been something other than orthography leaves us a note about the weather.  Below is a diplomatic transcription, one with standardized spelling, and a translation.  Special thanks to Σασκῶπον καὶ Βλαδιμηρῶπον for help in deciphering the rough, but charming in its sincerity, scrawl.

1863 εκαμε μια χιονια μεγαλ̣[…]
οπο εσκεπασε το σπιτι ολω
Κυριλλως μωναχος Ιβιριτις
καιφαλινεος εγραψα τα ανω

1863 ἔκαμε μιὰ χιονιὰ μεγάλη, ὁποὺ ἐσκέπασε τὸ σπίτι ὅλο. Κύριλλος μοναχὸς Ἰβηρίτης Κεφαλληναῖος ἔγραψα τὰ ἄνω.

In 1863 there was a big snowstorm that covered the whole house. I, Cyril the Cephallonian, monk of Iviron, wrote the above.

If this Cyril is the same scribe who wrote in either of the gorgeous hands of the two previous pages, then he must have made himself quite free with the “μωναστυρηακω κρασυ” before deciding to tell us about the snowstorm.  ~Roderick

Cyril of Cephallonia's Autograph

June 12, 2011

My first week on the project

If I were to sum up impressions from my first week at DO in one word, it would probably be one of the marginal notes I’ve encountered in the manuscripts: θαυμασιώτατον. Not only that I am surrounded by wonderful people in an idyllic environment but, risking that I may sound too nerdy, cataloging microfilms is incredibly exciting!

One of my favorites so far was finding a marginal inscription in a secret Greek alphabet called φήλτικον (and the key for it too); other two secret alphabets were called τζάτικον and ἰνδικόν (pictures to follow soon). Another jewel was a 19th century copy of Dionysius of Phourna’s Ἑρμηνεία τῆς ζωγραφικῆς ἐπιστήμης handwritten by Gennadios, a Russian monk from Athos, whose shaky knowledge of Greek orthography was compensated with his carefully shaped letters and a touching personal story in the introduction. Both MSS are kept in the National Library in Athens.

The real excitement, however, came when a manuscript appeared with mistaken numbers or without notes at all, and with a fragment of a (hardly legible) text from unspecified source. Thus I met my new Dutch best friend—apart from Saskia—the 17th century humanist Isaac Vossius, to whose collection at Rijksuniversiteit in Leiden I traced some of the manuscripts, mistakenly held to be from Athens. But I can’t tell you how ;).