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 (, and the Shared Canvas initiative at Stanford University ( 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:

It’s been a month now since the fabulous DigiPal IV Symposium, and I’ve been meaning to share the video of my own contribution to that event since I returned to Penn in early September. My talk is “Visualizing the Construction of Manuscripts, through Collation and Video,” and introduces two projects that we are actively undertaking here at SIMS. The first is a┬ávisualization system for the physical collation of medieval manuscripts (see some example results, and our slightly out-of-date source code on GitHub), and our ongoing project to create videos about manuscripts in our collection.