Kislak Center
for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

Guided by the vision of its founder, Lawrence J. Schoenberg, the mission of SIMS at Penn is to bring manuscript culture, modern technology and people together to bring access to and understanding of our cultural heritage locally and around the world.

We advance the mission of SIMS by:
  • developing our own projects,
  • supporting the scholarly work of others both at Penn and elsewhere, and
  • collaborating with and contributing to other manuscript-related initiatives around the world.

Locally, we manage the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, which enables scholars to trace the provenance of manuscripts from origin up to today, and we provide space for the meetings of the UPenn graduate student paleography seminar.

Farther afield we collaborate with T-PEN, a web-based tool for working with images of manuscripts (t-pen.org), and the Shared Canvas initiative at Stanford University (www.shared-canvas.org). SIMS is active in the local rare books and manuscripts community, and welcomes manuscript-minded scholars and students to join our conversations.

The latest from our blog:

Dot Porter, Curator, Digital Research Services at the University of Pennsylvania Library, offers a video orientation to Penn Library’s LJS 57, Astronomical anthology. This manuscript was written in Catalonia, ca. 1361, in Hebrew, and it is a collection of astronomical texts, including a copy of a treatise on the calendar originally compiled for Pedro IV, King of Aragon, with an almanac of oppositions and conjunctions of the sun and moon and predictions of lunar and solar eclipses; four short works by the 12th-century scientist Abraham Ibn Ezra on an introduction to astrology, choosing the most auspicious moment for a given activity, the zodiac, and astrology concerning humankind collectively; and a Hebrew translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest, with numerous tables, diagrams, and illustrations