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 225,  Litterarum simulationis liber, by Michael Zopello. This manuscript was written in Rome between 1455 and 1458, in Latin and Italian. It was a presentation copy for Pope Callistus III of a work on cryptography that describes two systems: in the first, Italian words beginning with one letter are all represented by Italian words beginning with another letter; in the second, signs or symbols represent letters or entire Italian words (titles, city names, and numbers).