Digital Scriptorium

Debra Cashion

Debra Cashion, Associate Director of Digital Humanities and Assistant Librarian of the Vatican Film Library, has been elected to the position of Executive Director of Digital Scriptorium (DS), a consortium of American institutions with collections of pre-modern manuscripts. The DS database represents these manuscript collections in a digital union catalog for teaching and scholarly research in medieval and Renaissance studies, providing access to illuminated and textual manuscripts through online cataloging records with high resolution digital images. Members of DS include Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Penn, NYU, Notre Dame, Texas, Indiana, the Free Library Philadelphia, New York Public Library, and the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA.

Saint Louis University joined Digital Scriptorium in 2013. Since that time, Debra has led the digitization and completed cataloging of the VFL collection of original manuscripts, accessible through the SLU library online catalog (Search, Other Call No.: VFL MS), the VFL Library Research Guide (, and the Digital Scriptorium database: Debra is also Co-PI (with Gregory Pass) and Project Manager of the new VFL METAscripta project, which is preparing to digitize the entire VFL collection of Vatican manuscripts on microfilm to create a crowd-sourcing online resource for researching Vatican manuscripts.

At the Center for Digital Humanities, Debra is lead scholar of the Broken Books project, for which she has researched and reconstructed detached leaves of the Llangattock Breviary, a fifteenth-century luxury manuscript broken apart in 1958 and dispersed among many private and institutional collections, including Saint Louis University, which owns 7 leaves of this manuscript. Debra has an Omeka website about her project, which also links to a demo of the Broken Books digital resource, developed by Bryan Haberberger and the Center for Digital Humanities team: Debra presented her work on Broken Books at the 8th Annual Lawrence J. Schoenberg Symposium on Manuscript Studies in the Digital Age at the University of Pennsylvania on November 12-14, 2015.


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