The Lighter Side of BiblioPhilly: SkullSmackdown!

It all started about this time last year, when Bibliophilly cataloger Erin Connelly began tweeting out gloomy images from the Office of the Dead sections of Books of Hours during Advent. (PACSCL amanuensis objected vehemently when so many lovely Nativity images could have been used instead.)

Fast forward to late summer this year, and BiblioPhilly cataloger Diane Biunno also posted some images of the dead. Someone suggested a scorekeeping contest — and #skullsmackdown was on.

Lewis E 206, f. 89r -- Erin Connelly's favorite skull. Now online in high resolution here:
Lewis E 206, f. 89r — Erin Connelly’s favorite skull. Now online in high resolution here:

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A sneak peek at BiblioPhilly content

Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis Ms 126, Book of Hours, Use of Rouen, fol 33v, 34r
Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis Ms 126, Book of Hours, Use of Rouen, fol 33v, 34r. Click image to reach the manuscript in a page-turning interface.
BiblioPhilly is halfway to completion, imaging-wise, with more than 220 medieval manuscripts from PACSCL member collections currently digitized. Of those manuscripts, approximately 50 have been uploaded to the BiblioPhilly collection at OPenn, with more coming shortly.

The remainder are receiving additional cataloging and quality control and will go online in the coming months. Work continues on a custom interface that will allow faceted searching and user-friendly view options.

In the meantime, co-PI Dot Porter has created a temporary interface here:

This replaces the temporary interface built using the Library of Congress’s ViewShare utility, which will be retired in March.

And be sure to take a look at the page-turner interface for these manuscripts. BiblioPhilly’s personal favorite, for sheer eye-appeal, is the page-turner for this Book of Hours from the collections of the Free Library of Philadelphia (Lewis MS 126), pictured above:

Want to digitize glorious manuscripts? Apply here!

Bryn Mawr College MS 24 (Lawrence Hours), fol. 21. Book of Hours for Cambrai Use, Flanders, 1440s, vellum, 7-7/8 x 5-9/16 inches (200 x 142 mm).
Bryn Mawr College MS 24 (Lawrence Hours), fol. 21. Book of Hours for Cambrai Use, Flanders, 1440s, vellum, 7-7/8 x 5-9/16 inches (200 x 142 mm).
Position: Digitization Assistant, Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis (BiblioPhilly)

Position Available
Special Collections Department
Library & Information Technology Services (LITS)
Bryn Mawr College


Hours: 15 – 20 hours per week, with hours to be worked during the Special Collections Department open hours (9:00 – 4:30, M-F). This is a grant-funded position that is tied to the completion of the work on the Bryn Mawr and Haverford medieval manuscripts. The duration of the project will depend on the number of hours worked per week, but we anticipate that the position will last between six and nine months.

Pay Rate: $17/hour

Position Description: The Bryn Mawr College Special Collections Department seeks applicants for a part-time, temporary position assisting with the digitization of medieval manuscripts for the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis (BiblioPhilly) project. Working with medieval manuscripts from Bryn Mawr College as well as Haverford College, the work will involve digitization, post-processing, and quality control as well as assistance with submitting content to OPenn, the project’s manuscript portal. The Project Assistant reports to the Digital Collections Librarian, and works with the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts and the Director of Special Collections. This is an excellent opportunity to work closely with a large number of medieval manuscripts, and may be of particular interest to those considering a special collections career.


Required: Bachelor’s degree; experience working with special collections found within libraries, archives and/or museums; ability to work with close attention to detail; familiarity with Adobe Photoshop; good manual dexterity with the ability to concentrate on tasks that require careful handling of delicate materials; and the ability to stand for prolonged periods using an overhead book scanner.

Preferred: Currently enrolled in, or recent graduate of, Masters program in Library and/or Information Science; familiarity with digital imaging of special collections and digitization software (including Adobe Bridge) as well as overhead book scanners; experience handling special collections; an interest in medieval manuscripts.

To apply, submit cover letter, resume, and names and contact information for three references to: