About the French Renaissance Paleography website
Paleography is the history and study of handwriting. Old scripts can be very beautiful, but sometimes difficult to read. The French Renaissance Paleography site presents over 100 carefully selected French manuscripts written between 1300 and 1700, with tools for deciphering them and learning about their social, cultural, and institutional settings.
The site is a collaborative project supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Browsing References and Resources
Transcribe in T-PEN
Image Manipulation in T-PEN
Navigation in T-PEN
Searches can be refined through the use of the drop-down tab or by adding search fields:
Filters can be added or removed by clicking on the "plus" and "minus" icons:
Removing the "node" filter underneath the Drupal web pages will display only the digital collections that are available for viewing online (and results can then be sorted by date or title):
Search Help provides clarification on the use of special characters in search fields:
The magnifying glass in the upper right corner is a quick link to the website's Search function, but does not allow for Advanced Searches:
Users can browse the website by Digital Collections, Topic, Time Period, or Region.
Clicking on Topic, Time Period, or Region will bring you to the Search page, whereas clicking on Digital Collections will direct you to the Resources page.
Users can click on either the Title or the Image; this will provide more information (metadata) for the item and in the case of the Digital Collections will allow users to navigate through the digital copy as well as manipulate it.
Manuscripts and Calligraphy Books can be further manipulated by clicking on the image icon in the lower right hand corner:
This tool allows the user to do things such as grayscale or rotate the image, adjust brightness and or invert it:
The icon in the upper left hand corner allows users to add other items to the same page, so as to compare multiple items at the same time:
Users can choose to create a new slot on any side of the existing slot:
In the following screenshot, the new slot was created to the right of the existing slot:
By clicking on the newly created slot, users can choose what item they want added to the new slot:
This is how the page will look once an item is added to the slot:
The Newberry Library has provided partial transcriptions of many documents in the site, so that users can check their work. However, full transcriptions have not been provided, so that teachers can assign untranscribed sections for student practice.
Also, the Newberry Library has included background essays for some of the documents. Classes are invited to "adopt" a document that does not have an essay and submit a draft background essay to the site's Google group for review, editing, and possible inclusion in the site.
Not sure where to start? or who to ask? There are several options for anyone looking for more information. The Resources and Reference pages provide excellent backgound information for many of the manuscripts and for the subject of paleography, more broadly:
Transcribe in T-PEN
Users are strongly encouraged to use Chrome when transcribing in the T-PEN application.
Users can practice transcribing any of the manuscript documents in this site and save their transcriptions to return to another day. You also can share your transcriptions with other individuals or a group. To do so, use the Collaboration button in the T-PEN transcription tool.
All of the manuscript documents have been pre-parsed for use with the T-PEN transcription tool, but sometimes small adjustments are needed. Users can make those adjustments for themselves, using the Correct Parsing button.
If a teacher wishes to correct parsing in any of the documents, globally, for all future users, he or she can request special administrative privileges. A user who has been granted administrative privileges will see an Edit Master Documents button (not accessible to regular users), which allows him/her to correct the parsing in the master document, not just in an individual project.
To start a transcription go to the Manuscript tab in the main navigation menu, select the desired manuscript and click on the Transcribe with T-PEN button next to that manuscript.
This will open the manuscript in a transcription window.
Click on the text transcription box (if no transcription is present the "Enter a line transcription" prompt will appear).
Delete the "Enter a line transcription" prompt and then type the transcription of the text in the box highlighted (surrounded by a glow) on the manuscript image.
Hit the Return key to save the line of transcription.
When the end of a page is reached, click on the next button in the Page box on the Transcription Tool Bar and repeat the process.
The Transcription Tool Bar has a number of tools to facilitate the transcription.
The white box in the center of the Transcription Tool Bar is the Text Transcription box. It corresponds to the highlighted box on the manuscript image. Once the line of text has been transcribed, press Return to save the text and move to the next line.
The image will automatically adjust to present the next line highlighted and directly above the Transcription Tool Bar, ready for transcription.
Directly above the Text Transcription box, the previous line of transcription will be presented in the Previous Line box to help in transcription. This line is not editable. To correct or change the previous line, click on the prev button in the Line box on the right of the Text Transcription box. On the right side of both these boxes, the Column letter and line number will be presented together in their respective Column/Line boxes. These correspond to the Letter/Number labels on the boxes on the manuscript image:
Manuscripts often have characters that are no longer used in the modern English alphabet. Sometimes they are short hand or abbreviations for common works as well as performing other functions. The Characters pull-down contains some of these characters as appropriate to the text.
To use the Characters pull down click on the pull-down and select the desired character from the list, then continue transcribing.
XML Tags allow the transcriber to add additional information about the text as it is transcribed. The XML Tags pull-down contains a list of these tags. XML tags have an opening and a closing tag. When a tag is added to the transcription a small icon of the matching closing tab appears on the bottom right of the Text Transcription box, as a reminder that the XML tag closing tag needs to added to the transcription.
To open an XML tag click on the XML Tags pull down and select the desired XML Tag from the list then continue transcribing.
To close, click on the small icon of the matching closing tab.
The Split Page Tools are a selection for supporting materials that can be called up as needed during the transcription process . The careen will be divided into two halves with the transcription page on the left and the split page content on the right.
To use the Split Screen pull down, click on the pull down and select the desired screen view from the list provided:
To close or to change split screen click on the Full Page Transcription button on the upper right of the screen. To adjust the split between the two sides of the screen, mouse over the dividing line between the two sides until a drag icon appears, then click and drag to suit:
- Get Started
- Background Essays
- Partial Transcriptions
- Group Work
- Calligraphy Books
- French Scripts and Hands
- About French Documents
- Manuscript Preservation
- Transcribing & Editing Conventions
- French Institutions
- Other Reference Resources
- Historical Maps
- Text Preview
- View Full Page
- Compare Page
Image Manipulation in T-PEN
Sometimes the image or condition of the original manuscript makes reading the text very difficult. To help with this the image Tools Box provides four basic image adjustment tools:
- Grayscale button
- Invert button
- Brightness adjustment slider
- Contrast adjustment slider
To use, click on the Image Tools tab. The Grayscale and Invert buttons can be clicked on and off as desired, and you can click and drag the sliders as desired.
Please note that these adjustments do not carry over to other pages within the manuscript and will disappear once you leave the page:
The Magnify button allows a controlled magnification of the image.
To use, click on the Magnify button. The Transcription Tool Bar will disappear and a selective magnifying "Loop" will appear. Run the "Loop" over the areas of interest on the manuscript as desired. Type + [plus] to enlarge the image in the "Loop." Type – [minus] to reduce the image in the "Loop." Hit ESC to return to the Transcription Tool Bar.
Move image allows the image to be moved to see other parts of the manuscript image as needed.
To use, click the Move Img button. Click and drag the manuscript images as desired. The move image function will remain active until another tool is selected or the Move Img button is clicked again.
On the top left and right of the Transcription Tool Bar there are grab bars that if clicked and dragged will move the Transcription Tool Bar up and down as desired:
Navigation in T-PEN
There are three ways to navigate from line to line:
- To navigate from line to line click the next or prev buttons in the Line box on the right of the Text Transcription box
- If the Text Preview Split Page Tool is selected, click on the desired line on the right side of the screen and the appropriate line will be called up in the transcription area on the left
- To move to the next line at the end of a line of transcription press Return.
There are three ways to navigate between pages:
- Click on the next or prev buttons in the Page Box on the left of the Text Transcription Box
- Click on the jump to page pull down in the middle of the top bar of the page to select a specific page anywhere in the manuscript.
- On the left and right of the jump to page pull-down there are icons.
On the left side:
Click on the single arrow and line pointing left to go to the first page in the manuscript.
Click on the double arrow pointing left to go to the previous page.
On the right side:
Click on the single arrow and line pointing right to go to the last page in the manuscript.
Click on the double arrow pointing left to go to the next page.
Each line of text on the manuscript image is bounded by a colored line. Each bounding line has the column letter and line number visible on the right side.
Theses lines can be edited in a number of ways. This is done via the Line Control box on the right side on the Transcription Tool Bar.
All lines except the line being transcribed can be hidden or revealed by clicking on the lines checkbox. Clicking on the Line #s checkbox hides or reveals all the column letters and line numbers on the manuscript image. The color of the lines can be changed by repeated clicking on the Line Color button until a preferred color is shown.
The image of the manuscript will have a series of boxes overlaid over it. Each box will have a letter and number:
a. The letter indicates the column
b. The number indicates the row.
The color and presentation of the boxes can be edited via the line control box on the Transcription Tool Bar.
The Transcription window presents the image of the first page of the manuscript with the Transcription Tool Bar splitting the image, to allow the entire image to be visible at all times:
Looking to collaborate with the wider paleographic community, get your students more involved, or maybe you just have questions about your transcriptions? Then take a look at the Group Work section:
Here you will be able to collaborate and communicate with the community in general, by starting a new topic of discussion for all who are interested in it to comment on:
To make the site as user-friendly as possible, feedback is appreciated.
Kindly contact us with any suggestions for improvement, or with any of your concerns by clicking on the Share your feedback button at the bottom right corner: