I’m Maddalena Signorini
and I teach Latin paleography at the Università di Tor Vergata in Rome and for many years I have been teaching the Mellon Vernacular Paleography Summer Institutes here [in North America]. Together with our many collaborators we worked on this website that, I believe, has two goals. The first one is didactic: to teach at different levels
the various historical scripts used in Italy between the 13th and the 17th century. The second goal is to introduce and bring [the users] closer to the North American collections of rare books
and manuscripts. Firstly, the Newberry collection, which is particular and very rich in Italian documents. But also, other institutions that we chose and that offered their materials like the Columbia University Library,
University of Pennsylvania Library, UC Berkeley Library and many others. There are in fact
in North America wonderful manuscript collections, and so this website wants to allow our users
to discovers these treasures and use them. [This website] is a pedagogical tool but it
cannot provide all the potential knowledge about these manuscript sources: it is a first approach
to them, a tool that can help historical research. We hope that this website can be a first step
before enrolling in proper paleography courses or a “warming up” after attending the courses
to keep practicing what was learnt in class.