I recently began working for the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts under the supervision of Lynn Ransom. Contributors to this open-access database enter information from manuscript catalogues and link the resulting records to previous entries, such that each manuscript record gradually develops into a detailed archive of descriptions and provenance. My work combines adding new data (I am currently working on the exhibition catalogue A Gathering of Medieval English Manuscripts: The Takamiya Collection at the Beinecke Library) with conducting archival research to resolve conflicts among catalogues, database entries, and authority files.
Thus far, this experience continues to reinforce my belief that participatory digital environments are valuable for both disseminating knowledge and accelerating the pace of manuscript research. Users of this database include the directors of major rare book libraries as well as undergraduate students and amateurs, and all are vital to its continuing importance as a digital resource. If you would like to participate in the project, you can read more about the history of the database, search its records, or sign up for your own account.