Judaica DH at the Penn Libraries Blog //DataDeepDive: Damage & Repair
Blog //DataDeepDive: Damage & Repair

In this series, we take a deep dive into the Talk boards tags to look at how volunteers classify the fragments. You can read an overview of our Talk boards tags in the Sorting Phase Data review.

“Damaged” was one of the most popular tags used in Scribes of the Cairo Geniza. How did volunteers describe this damage? In this series, we take a deep dive into the Talk boards tags to look at how volunteers classify the fragments.”

Damage

Damaged was one of the most popular tags used in Scribes of the Cairo Geniza, applied on 480 fragments. It would be expected that many damaged fragments would be found in the Cairo Geniza — a geniza by definition is a receptacle intended for worn-out and damaged materials. It is also important for the libraries and archives that host these fragments to know the condition and state of their materials, in order to best preserve them for researchers and future use.

Tags like crinkled (2), torn (58),and holes (77)refer to physical damage to the fragment. From left to right: Subject 12603543: ENA NS 57, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Subject 11581755: Penn CAJS: RAR MS 85.126.7, University of Pennsylvania, Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library, Cairo Genizah Collection; Subject 12505870: ENA 2750, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Transfer (3)refers to the ink rubbing off onto one fragment from another page, as seen in the fragment below. Subject 12503239: ENA 2544, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Tags like discoloured (1)and faded (585)may refer to the ink or the parchment/paper on which the fragment is written. Subject 12511265 (left) was tagged as discoloured as the volunteer tried to read the page, while Subject 11618769 (right) was tagged as faded for the Hebrew script on its verso. From left to right: Subject 12511265: ENA 3908, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Subject 11618769: ENA 3511, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Ink corrosion, tagged as ink_corrosion (64),is a common occurrence with iron gall ink, causing the material to disintegrate. Notice how sections or lines of the text look torn. From left to right: Subject 21952345: MS-TS-00012–00287, Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library; Subject 12507328:
ENA 3044, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Subject 11535868: ENA NS 79 0622.1, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Some volunteers were creative in their descriptions of damage to a particular fragment, with tags like skillfuldestruction (1), snowflake (1), and wormeatenbutreadable (1). From left to right: Subject 21707941, 
MS-OR-01080-J-00260, Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library; Subject 11618272: ENA 3450, 
Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary; Subject 11612685: ENA 2866, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Repair & Reuse

Some fragments were reused for multiple purposes! Some fragments appear to have been repaired prior to their entry in the geniza. Volunteers tagged some of these fragments with mending (1)and repaired (46).In Subject11583478 (left), volunteers wondered if therepair to the parchment took place before the text was written. Subject 12506041 was tagged as #mending for its stitching in the upper right corner. Subject 11583478: Halper 023, University of Pennsylvania, Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies Library, Cairo Genizah Collection; Subject 12506041: 
ENA 2779, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Reuse (2), and secondary_use (20)may be identified when the the subject includes different documents, languages, scripts, handwriting, ink, and/or orientation of the text. For Subject 12509444, volunteers noted the holes as possible evidence or reuse, and a researcher suggested it may have served as a Torah scroll prior to a scribe writing a piyyut on it. Subject 12509444: ENA 3551, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

In Subject 21708034, tagged #secondary_use, the Hebrew text on the left is distinct from the Arabic text on the right — even the hand is dissimilar. Subject 21708034: MS-MOSSERI-I-00020–00002, Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library

👉 Read more Talk conversations or start your own by participating in Scribes of the Cairo Geniza on Zooniverse!

By Judaica DH at the Penn Libraries on .

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Exported from Medium on April 14, 2020.

Cite this post: admin. “DataDeepDive: Damage & Repair”. Published May 07, 2019. https://judaicadh.github.io//blog/2019-05-07-datadeepdive/. Accessed on .