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Syriac Manuscripts in the British Library
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William Wright, Catalogue of Syriac manuscripts in the British museum acquired since the year 1838 (London, 1870), vol. 1, title page.

Welcome to Syriac Manuscripts in the British Library: A New Digital Edition of Wright’s Catalogue

Editors: David A. Michelson and William L. Potter

Syriac Manuscripts in the British Library (SMBL) is a digital enhancement of William Wright's Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum acquired since the year 1838 (London, 1870-1872), published by Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal in partnership with the British Library as an open access online resource. Using new methods of digital representation, SMBL enables users to engage with the manuscript collection from diverse perspectives, facilitating exploration of the collection according to new and multiple criteria.

The beta version of this project will be officially released in March of 2024.

  • Browse: browse an index of manuscripts by shelf mark.
  • Search: Search the collection according to multiple criteria.
  • Download: Download the complete dataset from GitHub under an open access license (CC-BY 4.0).
  • About: Learn more about SMBL and the team who created it.

Review Panel and Online Workshop: Call for Participants

Syriaca.org is pleased to call for editorial review panelists to assist in the publication of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Library: A New Digital Edition of Wright’s Catalog, a digital enhancement of William Wright's Catalogue of Syriac Manuscripts in the British Museum published by Syriaca.org in partnership with the British Library.

The new database is an open-access online resource designed to help users search and rearrange the manuscripts according to multiple criteria, many of which were not central to Wright’s system of organization (e.g. chronology, additions, marginalia, scribes, or forms of decoration).

Panelists will be invited to participate in a two-week online workshop hosted by The Digital Lab at Vanderbilt University during the weeks of June 3-7, 2024, and July 8-12, 2024. Honoraria for participants will be paid by a grant from Vanderbilt University’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research & Innovation.

We invite graduate students, independent scholars, researchers, librarians, and faculty members with expertise in Syriac Studies to serve as editorial review panelists who will review and revise the data and test the database. All collaboration will be done remotely, and we welcome applications from scholars in any location, if they can join the project using online tools.

Editorial review panelists will receive:

  • Publication credit as co-editors on the final project.
  • Training in using the TEI XML encoding standard for manuscript descriptions and cataloging.
  • Training in methods of collaborative digital humanities research, including the use of technical tools such as oXygen XML Editor and GitHub version control software.
  • An honorarium of $2,500 (USD) or more.

Panelist requirements include the following:

  • All panelists must be able to read Syriac and have previous graduate-level training in the history of Syriac texts.
  • No prior knowledge of manuscript cataloging, or digital encoding is required (the workshop will provide training).
  • Panelists may be graduate students, independent scholars, researchers, librarians, or faculty members.
  • It is preferred that panelists commit to at least two weeks of full-time collaboration (approximately 40 hours per week) on the project. Panelists will receive an honorarium of $1,250 (USD) for each week of participation. Up to five weeks may be possible per panelist, depending on availability.
  • The project will be held in June and July of 2024 with mandatory workshop training meetings occurring in the weeks of June 3-7, 2024, and July 8-12, 2024.
  • Applicants must provide their own internet connection and computer hardware (a laptop or desktop computer). The project will provide the required software.

Contact Information:

Interested applicants are invited to direct any questions about the workshop and project to the general editor, Dr. David Michelson, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, Vanderbilt University: david.a.michelson@vanderbilt.edu.

Application Form:

Please complete the following form: https://forms.gle/rzZRqAZAUdDzGQwf9

Deadline: March 23, 2024

For full consideration, applicants should submit their application before March 23, 2024. Applications will continue to be received after that date until the workshop is full. Notifications for accepted applications will be sent in early April.

About Syriaca.org:

Syriaca.org’s mission is to produce tools and reference resources that will overcome some of the access and discovery problems that currently impede scholarly research on the Syriac language, cultures, and history. The principle objectives are threefold: to compile and organize core data related to the study of Syriac sources, to create digital tools for widely disseminating this data and facilitating further research, and to create an online hub (cyberinfrastructure) to assist future research in the field of Syriac studies.

About The Digital Lab:

The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries’ Digital Lab at Vanderbilt University advances the creation, development, and sustainability of faculty and student-driven digital projects while identifying opportunities to establish infrastructure, scale engagement, and introduce lifecycle and project management. The Lab articulates an understanding of our shared cultural heritage through emerging technologies and research methods while fostering transdisciplinary teaching and learning through collaborative experimentation, shared learning, and discovery.

About Vanderbilt University:

At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.

Vanderbilt University does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of their race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, military service, or genetic information in its administration of educational policies, programs, or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment.


Syriac Manuscripts in the British Library: A New Digital Edition of Wright’s Catalogue is a joint project of Syriaca.org: The Syriac Reference Portal and the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries’ Digital Lab at Vanderbilt University. Funding for Syriac Manuscripts in the British Library was provided by:

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or any of the other sponsors.