Funding for ‘Archaeology of Reading’

The Sheridan Libraries of Johns Hopkins University are delighted to announce an award of $488,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the new digital humanities research initiative “The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe.” In conjunction with University College London’s Centre for Editing Lives and Letters (CELL), and the Princeton University Library, the project will explore historical reading practices through the lens of manuscript annotations preserved in early printed books.
The initiative is under the leadership of Hopkins’ Earle Havens, the William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the Sheridan Libraries, who will be working with co-Principal Investigators Professor Lisa Jardine, Director of CELL at University College London; and Professor Anthony Grafton of the Department of History at Princeton.
Over the past decades there has been a great deal of humanistic research focused upon the Printing Revolution of the sixteenth century and the reading habits of early modern book owners who filled their tomes with interpretative handwritten marginalia. These annotations still offer a wealth of untapped research materials, which demonstrate how readers adapted to the new print medium.
The initial phase of activity of the project will focus around the transcription and translation of a select number of heavily annotated books, and the allied adaptation of the open-access SharedCanvas viewer to maximize user interaction with these complex, composite early modern texts through a publicly available website. The development of the SharedCanvas viewer will also benefit the Roman de la Rose Digital Library, which will be using this technology in the future to display and digitally annotate Rose manuscripts.
For further information view the Hopkins press release or contact Brian Shields. Tel: 410-516-8337/443-631-2890; email: