Digital palaeography: What is digital about it?

AbstractCompared to the epistemic traditions digital palaeography builds on, how is it transformative? In this article I will outline the emergent meanings and possible research directions of digital palaeography by reflecting on the past 15 years of approaches and conceptualizations in the field. By departing from a contextualized take of the term digital coupled with humanities and palaeography, I will show how digital approaches relate to the scholarly tradition of the study of handwriting and writing systems as a whole and how recent approaches of digital palaeography can be defined as critical, self-reflective, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. Moving between a formal and a historically situated analysis, I will relate practices of modelling of handwriting in digital palaeography to modelling in digital humanities more generally. Digital palaeography will emerge well positioned to represent the complexity of handwritten objects from the unfamiliar perspective of the substance of the expression of handwriting (text as shape).