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VIC184: Individuals and the Public Sphere: Cultural Memory

A guide to tools and resources to assist students engaged in archival research.

What is paleography?


Source: Deciphering Old Handwriting: Paleography Strategies and Tips. My Heritage Knowledge Base. (

Paleography is the study of writing systems and the deciphering of handwriting, often applied to older manuscripts.  It is an academic discipline that focuses on both the contextual background and the technical skills related to understanding handwriting.  Often, this discipline relies on pattern recognition and informed inferences to create transcriptions of handwritten documents.

Paleography Tutorials & Guides

The following are helpful paleography tutorials and guides:

The National Archives (UK): Provides basic tips and a tutorial with 10 sample documents.

Library of Congress: A research guide with resources on various types of handwriting, from English scripts to modern cursive.  It also provides information on transcription and spelling.

University of Notre Dame: A research guide that includes resources for English, French, Spanish, German, Irish, Latin, and Portuguese paleography.