Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Go, Speed Researcher, Go!

12 manuscripts in 3 days.

Granted, I wasn't reading or transcribing large chunks of any of them -- this nascent project is all about bits and pieces added in margins, on blank pages, and on flyleaves. But still, 12 manuscripts in 3 days is pretty good, especially considering it wasn't 4/4/4, but 5/1/6.

And I'm really proud of the fact that I managed the BL MS request system perfectly: I ordered three MSS in advance by e-mail for the first day, and another three on Monday afternoon for Wednesday, and whenever I was down to 2, I put in additional orders, so I was never sitting around waiting for one.

And can I just say one of the gentlemen working the request desk has a prodigious and impressive memory. When I came in on Wednesday after not having been there since Monday, he simply handed me my pre-ordered manuscripts with asking for my name or my reader card. Wow!

But now, having spent the last three days squinting at mostly 15th and 16th century amateur handwriting, I'm ready to go home. Of course, if this nascent project turns into something bigger -- just what, I'm not yet sure -- I'll have many hours of such squinting in my future. Maybe then I should slow the pace down just a wee bit. Because if I spent four weeks here, for instance, and saw an average of 4 manuscripts a day, that's 80 freakin' manuscripts, and only if I take Saturdays off. The mere thought makes my head explode.


undine said...

Are you taking pictures of them too, so that you can read them at home, or are you transcribing & reading? Just curious.

Dr. Virago said...

The British Library won't let you take pictures, nor would the St. George's Chapel Archives at Windsor. So I'm just transcribing. But I'm looking at specific short texts in each of them -- the longest 206 lines, but most 4-8 -- and so the amount of transcribing wasn't that onerous. Of course, with some scripts, it took me an hour to figure out single words!

medieval woman said...

Left something for you over at Chez Bloggez Moi!