The 2018 VCU Folger transcribathon

At VCU’s first two transcribathons, participants worked on a wide range of manuscripts without necessarily expecting to complete any of them. VCU’s third transcribathon was different. The Superscripts, VCU’s student organization for paleography, had been transcribing Folger MS V.a.345 for about a year and wanted to complete it at the event. That goal introduced several changes to the format. For one, it gave us a reason to prioritize page spreads that we had not yet transcribed, followed by openings that we had transcribed only once or twice. Participants therefore claimed their pages by selecting a slip of paper bearing the page numbers. Page spreads that had not yet been transcribed were marked in red.

Meghan Kern and Thomas Nelson hold down the Superscripts’ organizational table. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Gabriella Santiago chooses her next page opening. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Uncompleted page spreads. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Recipes were marked in yellow, Latin in blue. Whenever a participant finished transcribing a page opening, she would place it in a cup at the Superscripts’ table and ring the bell. And the crowd would applaud.

Success, full success. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Kate Given and Kate McCallister transcribe. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Cameron Washington, Michelle Mead, and Gabriela Santana transcribe. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Gabriela Santana and Joshua Eckhardt talk transcribing. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Mid-day, the Folger’s curator of manuscripts, Dr. Heather Wolfe, joined us by Zoom video from her office in Washington D.C.—to show us the original.

Dr. Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts at the Folger Shakespeare Library, shows the original source to the group. Rachel Rivenbark and Mackenzie Kincaid keep transcribing. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Meta. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Can you see how big this is? Heather Wolfe points out features of the original. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

The modern binding, everybody. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Dr. Kevin Farley, Humanities Collections Librarian for VCU Libraries, addresses the group, after doing much to host the event. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Gregory Kimbrell, Events and Programs Coordinator at VCU Libraries, keeps things running after arranging for the room, computers, and catering. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Multilingual Friend of VCU Libraries Dennis Andersen transcribes alone. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Meghan Kern cuts the cake as Ashley Harden, Chris Alimenti, Jane Harwell, and Gabriela Santana look on. Photo credit: Joe Mahoney. Courtesy of VCU Libraries.

 

Immense thanks to the Folger Shakespeare Library, especially Dr. Heather Wolfe, Curator of Manuscripts, and Mike Poston, Database Applications Associate; VCU Libraries, especially Dr. Kevin Farley, Humanities Collections Librarian, and Gregory Kimbrell, Events and Programs Coordinator; the photographer, Joe Mahoney; the English Department, in particular Margret Vopel Schluer, Business and Human Resources Manager; everyone who pitched in; the students in all four of the English courses that worked on this project; and especially the Superscripts, who worked weekly on it. We finally did it.

 

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