Taking Note

Building a database of manuscript annotations to examine book culture in medieval Cairo

Project team

Taking Note

Stephanie Luescher’s project will examine the annotations in medieval Arabic manuscripts that passed through the hands of sixteenth-century scholar Muhammed al-Muzzaffarī, who lived in Cairo. As a Data Fellow, Luescher will focus on annotations made by al-Muzzaffarī as well as notes added before and after him; these notes shed light on the use and movement of the manuscripts over time and the community of scholars that interacted with them. Luescher plans to examine approximately two thousand manuscripts held by Princeton University Library and to enter notes into an open-access relational database designed in consultation with the CDH. This data, to which Luescher will add over time, will feature prominently in Luescher’s dissertation, which explores al-Muzzaffarī’s annotations as a way to study book culture and scholarly institutions in the era when Cairo came under Ottoman rule.

CDH Grant History

  • 2022–2024 Data Fellowship