‘Neel Smith, Holy Cross - Digital Research’

WAMC Northeast Public Radio │ Inside Higher Ed

Neel Smith, associate professor of classics at the College of the Holy Cross, is featured on The Academic Minute (broadcast on WAMC Northeast Public Radio), for his work with students researching ancient manuscripts. In the digital age, access to high-resolution, open-source images of ancient manuscripts has increased. In fact, Smith explains that the number of manuscripts available to study through digital collections has rapidly grown in just a few years.

Students at Holy Cross, with the help of Smith, have formed “a unique club dedicated to research of manuscripts and other documents.” This unprecedented availability of manuscripts has allowed college students to further their studies of ancient documents. Smith notes that the club has presented their research at conferences in six countries and at four locations in the United States. In addition, members of the club have won Fulbright grants for the past two years to study ancient texts.

Through the collective efforts of scholars studying ancient manuscripts, experts have been able to reform their image of medieval scribes. Smith says that there is evidence that scribes were “more than just mere copyists, they were highly educated scholars, often able to draw on rich sources no longer available to us.”

Smith praises the availability of these documents saying, “digital access is changing how we think about acquiring knowledge, and is radically changing who can contribute to that process.”

The Academic Minute is a syndicated segment and also appears on Inside Higher Ed.

This “Holy Cross in the News” item by Sarah Barrett ’18.