Privilego Rodado de Alfonso XI a la villa de Pancorbo (Burgos), 1339, Archivo de la Real Chancillería de Valladolid (Pergaminos 70, 6). More information.


Deciphering Secrets: Illuminated Manuscripts - A New Coursera Course


Dear Citizen Scholars,

Great news! Currently, the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) and the University of Colorado are collaborating on a follow-up "Deciphering Secrets" Coursera.org course that will investigate medieval illuminated manuscripts! Dr. Ana Bélen Sánchez Prieto and I are actively developing this course that will feature ornately decorated Spanish documents, which often include depictions of medieval life and cultural values. Professor Sánchez Prieto is one of Spain's exceptional paleography experts. You may enjoy reading her paper, "Aprender a leer y escribir antes del año mil: Reading and Writing before Year 1000." We hope to offer the course in late spring or early summer 2015. We will be certain to keep you posted.


Deciphering Secrets Citizen Scholars Website - We are Almost Ready!

These are exciting times because we are creating a new digital humanities endeavor from the goodwill and effort of volunteers. One of our key challenges is developing a well-designed and highly-structured web tool to support our continuing work to transcribe medieval manuscripts.

While our summer 2014 MOOC utilized highly readable 19th century transcriptions of the original 14th-15th century manuscripts, as we move forward, we will be using a broader range of documents with different scripts. Supporting this effort with a robust web platform involves a significant amount of research on "what works" and "what doesn't" as well as a desire to employ existing, proven web tools for our work. To this end, we are now building the transcription website at www.decipheringsecrets.net -- however -- it is incomplete at this time and will not be functioning until January 2015.


What's Been Accomplished

• After reviewing 30 existing transcription scholarly transcription projects, we are deploying Scripto, a transcription tool developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.

• Scripto will us to present manuscript images, as well as a means to collect and revise transcriptions. Citizen scholars can participate as Transcribers and/or Editors.

• To use Scripto, we are employing a new content management system (Omeka), which is comparable to WordPress, and creating multiple backend databases to manage our manuscript images and transcriptions. 

• Our transcription website is now set up properly, which took several weeks, but it has no manuscript images to transcribe! 


What Remains to be Done

• Three elements of the transcription website still require completion before we can continue: (1) posting images of 200 pages of manuscripts on the website (both 14th century and 19th century versions), (2) posting an interactive paleography manual on the website for reference purposes, and (3) creating a web discussion forum to support our community of citizen scholars.

• When these task are complete, we can get started, but this will not be possible until early January 2015.


If you have technical skills, and that most precious of resources - time, we could use a hand with finishing up our work. If you would like to assist with editing manuscript images, creating web versions of our paleography manual, or help setting up the community forum, please contact Dr. Martinez at rogerlmartinez@gmail.com. Otherwise, don't worry, we will let you know when the site is ready!


Virtual Plasencia, Version 1.6, is now live!

During November 2014, ETH-Zurich and the University of Colorado finished some key enhancements to Virtual Plasencia, our digital 3d world. These include visual enhancements (fog and lighting, better textures, enhanced details), navigation information (an improved map with the user's location on the map), and navigation tools (the ability to "run" and "fly" in Virtual Plasencia), and the inclusion of a "help" menu. There are still some issues with this initial digital model of the city (if you "fly", you will not crash into a building and bounce off, but instead pass directly through it.) However, we recently received a $3,000 grant from the University of Colorado President's Fund for the Humanities and with it we improve the model and make more enhancements that include building Muslim sections of the town as well as the main square, the Plaza Mayor.

Also, we still need to prepare a new set of user instructions for Version 1.6. Currently, we still are relying on Version 1.0 instructions

---> Go to Virtual Plasencia V.1.6 Now <---

--->View a Youtube.com "Fly-Over"
of Virtual Plasencia V1.6 Now


As always, thanks for your participation and look for an email from us in early January 2015! Happy New Year!

Dr. Roger L. Martínez-Dávila, Project Director, RCCP