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Paleography nowadays: Achievements and challenges

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Diego Navarro Bonilla, Charles III University of Madrid, Spain


This topical issue is going to integrate the “longue durée” research with European and not European manuscripts and the promising results of research on digital paleography under the umbrella of “Digital Humanities”.
This topical issue will be focused on the challenges posed by research with manuscripts in general and digital paleography in particular. Aspects such as: Image processing and image annotation,  projects and case studies actually in progress, advances in recognition of handwritten characters, automatic generation of strokes, identification of writing variants, virtual restoration of writing supports, Recover Lost Writing, material (paper, parchment, ink, etc.) analysis, and computer-supported script characterization, etc., are welcome. All of them are possibilities of study and essential approaches that highlight the role played by handwriting analysis and paleography to improve the skills of our future curators and archive professionals and those responsible for managing the rich historical manuscript heritage. Results are expected to give answers to challenges such as standard descriptions and automatic transcription.

Main topics:

  • State of the art. Thinking of paleography: why is so important in the digital Age?  Main approaches and research focuses nowadays. The broad scope of paleography: not only reading letters but also generating tools and innovative methodologies, discovering hidden texts, understanding the context of production and use of scripts. The thin line of inter/multi disciplinarity dealing with manuscripts: preservation, description, understanding etc. Is all that paleography? Integration of multi disciplines. Interaction between diplomatic, calligraphy, epigraphy, sigillography, typography and also design.
  • Transformative Digital paleography; actual and future perspectives under the scope of handwriting heritage and digital humanities approach.
  • Technology applied to specific projects on: transcription, automatic recognition of scripts, treatment of manuscripts as a whole: text and form, content and shape. Big data and paleography.
  • Innovation in professional formation; Paleography Skills, abilities and knowledge required to train experts and future curators of manuscripts: opportunities and challenges for Library and Information Sciences Faculties. Some successful cases (MOOC, etc.); Innovative training projects;
  • Real achievements: studies of case of success and failure (if necessary).

Technical information:

  • Extension of the article: 15-20 pages. Times, 12; 1.5
  • Images inserted. Each article included in this issue may contain images if necessary (600 dpi and .tiff format are recommendable).
  • Approximate deadline for the first draft: January 31st, 2019
  • Expected date of publication in OIS: September 2019.


Handwriting variations, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, Digital Humanities, History of writing culture, Digital Paleography, Diplomatic, Image and Text Processing, Visual Organization, Material analysis, Computer supported Script characterization,  Document representations.