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Yasmin Faghihi, Cambridge University Library

Personal Names and Authority: The Achilles Heel of (Islamicate) Manuscript Description in the Context of Digital Humanities

When we think about manuscript research, we think about the discoverability of text, codicology, art and material culture, but above all we expect to find what we are looking for by numbers, descriptive terms and by names.

In this talk I will discuss some issues surrounding personal names in manuscripts from the Islamicate world, how names relate to personal identities, and the significance of this work for manuscript research. Moreover, I will introduce methodologies and best practices established for creating authority files in memory institutions of the Global North, allude to their origin and context, and draw a comparison to an alternative practice from the Global South. I will discuss how technology, and in particular Digital Humanities approaches, may both facilitate this work and at the same time raise new questions for the researcher/ librarian working with manuscripts regardless of their origin. This will be based on my involvement with FIHRIST, the on-line union catalogue of manuscripts from the Islamicate world for the UK.

Recognising the intellectual value of authority work and the substantial efforts to pursue it at scale has introduced new approaches beyond technology and method, highlighting the impact of human collaboration. 


Friday, February 10, 2023, 12:00 -1:30pm EST (via Zoom)

Registration is required. There are 253 seats available.

Friday, February 10, 2023
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center
Lecture, SIMS

Event Organizer

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Lynn Ransom