Learn About Palaeography with the Medieval Handwriting App
Some students at the Institute for Medieval Studies at the University of Leeds have created an interesting new app for those interested in learning how to decipher medieval handwriting. Called the Medieval Handwriting app, it teaches users the skills necessary to transcribe rare documents that were written by hand hundreds of years ago and it will introduce users to palaeography, or the study of ancient handwriting.
The app includes 26 different documents that users can transcribe, with the majority being medieval religious documents. Once you have selected one, you are offered an introduction to that document, some rules for transcription, and examples of how different letters will look. You also have the option to just jump into transcribing the document. When you select the attempt transcription option, one side of the screen will be a space for you to type in and the other side will show the text for transcription. You can zoom in on each word by holding your finger over it or you can zoom in on the entire document with the standard pinch and expand motion. Once you have completed your attempt at transcription, you can check to see if it is correct and if not, view the full transcript of the document to see what you are stuck on.
This free app is available for Android devices, iPhones and iPads. While it can be a bit difficult to get started if you don’t have transcription experience, it is a lot of fun. This is a great resource for students of palaeography or those interested in learning more about it and it is also a lot of fun for those who are just interested in taking a peak at rare documents and seeing how transcription works.