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Medieval Studies and Research: Teaching & Learning with Manuscripts & Other Rare Materials

This research guide is co-owned and co-authored by Dr. Danielle Mihram & Dr. Melissa L. Miller


This page of our Research Guide will provide a sampling of the resources for teaching and learning with primary sources and other rare materials.

This page includes links to LibGuides, Webinars, Videos, Websites, Digital Exhibitions, and more on various topics pertaining to teaching and learning: Rare Book Schools; Fragmentation and Fragmentology; Paleography; Scalar Digital Projects for teaching & learning; Physical parts of a book; Primary Source instructional design best practices; Incunabula in the Digital Era; Introduction to Special Collections; Associations; Guide to Events and last but not least The Getty Research Institute's Florentine Codex Initiative!

Be sure to scroll all the way down to see all this page has to offer!

For some print materials, please select the title or the "info" icon Info circle free vector icon - Iconbolt for more detailed information. If you select the gold padlock icon Padlock Icon Png #330967 - Free Icons Library for a title listed on this page you will be taken to the bibliographic record or website.


USC Libraries: Primary Sources LibGuide created by Michaela Ullmann, Exile Studies Librarian & Instruction Coordinator, Special Collections

Check out the Primary Sources at USC Libraries and Beyond teaching platform for primary source literacy. Video tutorials and exercises will guide you through some of the main aspects of primary source research:

USC Libraries: Reading Early Printed Books created by Melinda Hayes, Rare Books Librarian, Special Collections


USC Libraries, May 29, 2020

Introduction to USC Libraries Special Collections, PART 1: Overview

This tutorial will provide an overview of the department of Special Collections at the USC Libraries. You will learn which materials you can find in Special Collections, about our collecting areas and subject strengths, and where to find additional information about Special Collections.

Narrated by Michaela Ullmann, Exile Stuides Librarian, USC Libraries, Special Collections

USC Libraries, May 26, 2020

Introduction to USC Libraries Special Collections, PART 2: Introduction to Primary Source Research

In this tutorial, we will discuss the criteria that define primary sources and will provide you with a few tips on what to look out for when you work with primary sources.

Narrated by Michaela Ullmann, Exile Stuides Librarian, USC Libraries, Special Collections


Stanford University Libraries: April 23, 2020

Fragments and Fragmentology in the Twenty-First Century: A Webinar with Lisa Fagin Davis

"Today, more than 30,000 fragments of medieval manuscripts can be found in hundreds of North American collections, and yet such fragments are often dismissed by scholars as unworthy of study and by librarians as too difficult to catalogue. On the contrary. Fragments represent a largely-untapped source of research topics and teaching opportunities, but they must be found, imaged, and catalogued before they can be used for investigation and pedagogy. Fragments that are imaged and catalogued in open-access applications that enable discoverability and facilitate interoperability have enormous potential for research and discovery. This webinar will review the 500-year history of fragmentation, discuss strategies for fragment research and description, and introduce the methods and methodologies of digital fragmentology."

Fragments and Fragmentology in the Twenty-First Century, by Lisa Fagin Davis: SOURCES & LINKS:

Fragment Collections cited:

Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 481 and MS 482 (there are lots of other fragments at the Beinecke, but there are the two main collections)

Harvard University, Houghton Library, “manuscript fragment” search results

Stanford University, Burke Collection

Stanford University, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Collection: M0297    M0299   M0389  

Stony Brook University, Otto F. Ege Collection

University of Colorado at Boulder, Medieval Manuscript Leaves

Resources for finding and working with fragments:

Manuscript Road Trip: Research Resources


International Image Interoperability Framework

Mirador viewer demo site 

Biblissima: Cutting Restoration demo 

Reconstructing the Beauvais Missal website

Additional Bibliography:

Conway, Melissa and Davis, Lisa Fagin. "Directory of Collections in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings," The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 109, no. 3 (September 2015): 273-420.

Duivenvoorden, J.R., Käyhkö, A., Kwakkel, E. et al. Hidden library: visualizing fragments of medieval manuscripts in early-modern bookbindings with mobile macro-XRF scanner. Herit Sci 5, 6 (2017).

Gwara, Scott. Otto Ege’s Manuscripts: A Study of Ege’s Manuscript Collections, Portfolios, and Retail Trade with a Comprehensive Handlist of Manuscripts Collected or Sold. Cayce: University of South Carolina, 2013.

How can you help?

  1. Check the Conway/Davis Directory to see if your collection is listed. If not, please contact me!
  2. Use my Ege Field Guide to identify Ege-sourced leaves in your collection, and use these resources to help identify and catalogue your leaves and fragments.
  3. Image and upload your leaves and fragments, even with minimal metadata!

Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director, Medieval Academy of America, @LisaFDavis,

Further reading on Fragmentation:

Davis, Lisa Fagin. “The Beauvais Missal: Otto Ege’s Scattered Leaves and Digital Surrogacy.” Florilegium (Ottawa) 33 (January 2016): 143–166. DOI: 10.3138/flor.33.007

"While single manuscript leaves in the United States were sourced from hundreds, perhaps thousands, of manuscripts and distributed by many bookdealers, a large portion of the Canadian corpus of around 650 leaves can be traced to a single source in the mid-twentieth century: Cleveland educator, collector, and dealer Otto F. Ege. Because of this common origin, an analysis of the Canadian corpus presents intriguing possibilities for the identification of related membra disiecta. This article presents a case study focusing on the four Canadian leaves from the late thirteenth-century Beauvais Missal."


USC Libraries, August 5, 2020

English and Latin Paleography: An Introductory Workshop with Kathryn Brunet

This video is an introduction to the paleography of medieval English and Latin documents made between 800-1500 CE. It is meant for students who are new to the study and analysis of handwriting in order to read old texts with accuracy and fluency. The video is narrated by Kathryn Brunet, who recently earned her MLIS degree at UCLA, and interned at the USC Libraries Special Collections in 2020. This video was created from a live Zoom workshop offered on May 17, 2020. Its contents are to be used solely for educational purposes and all resources used are credited at the end of the presentation.


"The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (RBMS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). RBMS strives to represent and promote the interests of librarians who work with rare books, manuscripts, and other types of special collections. If you happened on our website because you are interested in finding out more about your old books, please refer to our guide titled “Your Old Books” for some basic information and references."

"Founded in 1936, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) is North America's oldest and largest national professional association dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists. SAA represents more than 6,200 professional archivists employed by governments, universities, businesses, libraries, and historical organizations nationally. All of the work undertaken by SAA on behalf of its members and archives users is guided by the following vision, mission, and core values."

TEAMS - Teaching Association for Medieval Studies. TEAMS was originally founded as a committee of the Medieval Academy of America to develop new ways to support the teaching activities of its members. It was later re-organized as an independent nonprofit educational corporation whose mission continues to be the support of teaching in medieval studies at the undergraduate, secondary, and elementary school level through the provision of resources and the sharing of techniques.


Megan Curran Rosenbloom is Collection Strategies Librarian at UCLA Library in Los Angeles. She is Obituary Editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association and President of the Southern California Society for the History of Medicine. She is a member of the Anthropodermic Book Project, a multi-disciplinary team scientifically testing alleged human skin books around the world to verify their human origin.


Biblio360, Fine Books & Collections Magazine

2020-2021 Guide to:

  • Book Clubs & Societies
  • Membership Libraries
  • Classes & Seminars
  • Events & Exhibits
  • Book Fairs & Festivals



Several digital projects/exhibitions highlight the USC Libraries' unique collections. Built on the robust Scalar platform, these projects demonstrate some of the possibilities of working with library people, expertise, and technology capabilities. Library faculty and staff, for example, developed one digital exhibition around Japanese posters in collaboration with a USC Art History course. Another project, about the "altogether shocking history of women's mental health," was adapted from a physical exhibition in Doheny Library's Treasure Room. Many others were curated by the very archivists and librarians who processed the underlying collections, offering special insight into the materials.

The libraries' Scalar projects include:



Teaching with Primary Sources Collective: change, bridge, build, connect, provoke, engage, enrich

Created by librarians and archivists and intended for anyone teaching with primary sources, the TPS Collective invites educators to exchange ideas, cultivate relationships, reflect on pedagogy, learn from other practitioners, contribute lessons and resources, and engage with your community. Within this community you'll find the following categories: Notes From The Field; Community Of Practice; Teaching Tools; Readings; Teaching with Primary Sources Bibliography

Be sure to sign up for the TPS Collective listserv!


UCLA Library Special Collections: August 5, 2020

In this video, Genie Guerard, Curator and Manuscripts Librarian, provides an overview and history of the Western European medieval and Renaissance manuscript holdings in the UCLA Library Special Collections. It also features highlights from the exhibition, “Medieval Mastery: the Richard and Mary Rouse Collection” held in 2019 in honor of the Rouse’s and their extraordinary generosity and scholarly collaborations across the UCLA campus. Throughout their illustrious careers together they have studied, taught with, written about, and donated their personal collection, forming a world-class teaching collection in partnership with the UCLA Library.



CalRBS is a continuing education program dedicated to providing the knowledge and skills required by professionals working in all aspects of the rare book community, and for students interested in entering the field. Founded in 2005, CalRBS is a project of the Department of Information Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. CalRBS is supported by an informal consortium of many of the academic and research libraries and antiquarian booksellers of Southern California.

Rare Book School 
Rare Book School (RBS) is an independent, non-profit institute supporting the study of the history of books and printing and related subjects. Founded in 1983 at Columbia University, it moved to its present home at the University of Virginia in 1992. RBS offers approx. 30 five-day, non-credit courses of distinction on topics concerning old and rare books, manuscripts, and special collections. Courses are almost always limited to 12 or fewer students, who make a full-time commitment to any course they attend, from 8:30 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. The majority of courses take place during the summer in Charlottesville, VA, but courses are also offered throughout the year in New York City, Baltimore, Washington, DC, Princeton, and Chicago.

London Rare Book School

The London Rare Books School (LRBS) is a series of five-day, intensive courses on a variety of book-related subjects taught in and around Senate House, University of London.

Montefiascone Conservation Project

In 1992 a programme of summer schools was established, and this continues to run in parallel with the library project. The classes provide an opportunity for librarians, conservators, cataloguers, bibliographers and those interested in the history and conservation of books, to assemble once a year to study one or more of the four, week-long courses.


USC Libraries, July 14, 2020

Learning the Parts of a Physical Book with Kathryn Brunet

This video will help you examine physical characteristics of rare books in special collections and use correct terminology when describing the parts of a book. It is meant for students who are new to studying rare books and studying the book as a physical object. Video produced and narrated by Kathryn Brunet. While obtaining her MLIS degree at UCLA, Kathryn interned at the USC Libraries Special Collections in 2020, and created this tutorial for primary source literacy instruction.


A Medieval Academy of America Webinar: July 14, 2020

WEBINAR 1: Thinking and Teaching Online: Best-Practices and Inspired Learning at a Distance

Moderators: Anne E. Lester (Johns Hopkins University) and Laura Morreale (Independent Scholar)

For more information on the Middle Ages for Educators, please visit their website at:

A Medieval Academy of America Webinar: July 22, 2020

WEBINAR 2: Techniques and Tools for Teaching, Learning, and Researching Online: Manuscripts, Mapping, and Modeling

Moderators: Anne Lester (Johns Hopkins University) and Laura Morreale (Independent Scholar)

For more information on the Middle Ages for Educators, please visit their website at:

The webinars are designed to help medievalists of all disciplines adopt and adapt existing strategies, platforms, and tools for teaching online in the fall of 2020 and beyond. Understanding that most institutions have their own required training sessions and online learning platforms, these webinars showcase ideas behind critical pedagogies for online learning with tools and applications specifically designed by and oriented for use by medievalists.


The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

"Huntington Incunabula in the Digital Era: May 13, 2020.

Panelists: Stephen Tabor, Curator of Rare Books; Joel Klein, Molina Curator for the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences; Holly Mendenhall, Digital Projects Manager


In this presentation, Huntington staff members discussed how incunabula came to be in The Huntington's collections, the various tools used for the study of medical incunables and our efforts to digitize these materials."

DECAMERONline, Books, Writing, and Community Working Group, USC Levan Institute

Post Scriptum:  Exquisite Corpse,  DecamerONline 2.0: "We love books.  We read them, we write them, we revel in discourses -- current and past, public and scholarly -- about them.  We  study writing, drawing  and record-keeping more generally; material, aural and virtual forms of communication and publication; historical and past interpretive communities; and books without words, such as artists’ books and musical scores. Please join us at our 2020-21 Working Progress talks, Writing Times and other events by signing up here."


Butterfly-and Jaguar-Fish in Book 11 of the Florentine Codex (“On Earthly Things”). Ms. Mediceo Palatino 220, 1577, fols. 62v and 63. Courtesy of the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence, and by permission of MiBACT.

"The Getty Research Institute’s Florentine Codex initiative aims to make the codex and its content more accessible through online publications, scholarship, and the contribution of 4,000 multilingual entries to the Getty Vocabularies in English, Classical Nahuatl, Eastern Huasteca Nahuatl, and Spanish. In 2022, the Research Institute will publish the Digital Florentine Codex, an enhanced digital, critical edition of the Florentine Codex that will make the manuscript freely available and searchable. The digitized codex will be presented alongside its Nahuatl and Spanish transcriptions and with English translations of both texts providing the public more direct access to the manuscript’s content. All texts will be searchable. Likewise, the roughly 2,500 images will be tagged with keywords to make them searchable. So if a researcher would like to find all images and textual references of “Moteuczoma” or “flower,” for example, she would be able to do so...The digital edition is being built using international standards (including IIIF ) and is advancing the development of a viewer that supports the joint presentation of multiple texts and associated images."

"The Florentine Codex (1577), the first encyclopedia produced in the Americas, was created a generation after the fall of the Aztec Empire in 1521. The codex’s Nahua authors and artists recount the conquest from the view of the Mexican people of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco (or the “Aztecs”). The manuscript preserves one particular perspective on this key moment in world history, contesting the dominant Spanish version that was based on the accounts of the conqueror Hernando Cortés."