The occasion brought together campus faculty and students, librarians from Special Collections and Ebling Health Sciences Library, preservation and conservation specialists from the General Library System and Wisconsin Historical Society, and donors and board members of the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries. All took part in the careful and collaborative sampling process. Among the manuscripts sampled were a medieval Bible written in a very small “pearl script,” a large and well-used antiphonary volume, and a 15th-century book of hours.
The samples will then head to York for processing. As Calhoun notes, “The results may reveal intriguing details about individual items in our collection—and they’ll also contribute to a growing dataset that’s helping us to understand the relationship between animal husbandry and book making in medieval and early modern England.” Our samples, which include manuscripts from the Continent, will help to broaden the geographical scope.
Although I was unable to be present for the actual sampling process, I was grateful for some other ubiquitous but powerful technologies (iPads and FaceTime) and the cooperation of colleagues that enabled my virtual participation. My thanks too to Micaela Sullivan-Fowler, historical services librarian at Ebling Health Sciences Library, for photos of the occasion.