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Special Collections & University Archives

Manuscripts Division

The Manuscripts Division of the Department of Special Collections exists to arrange, describe, preserve, and make available documents and born-digital materials of enduring historic value, both as intellectual items and as historical artifacts, to support the research needs of the undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and other scholars at Stanford University and beyond. Stanford University Library subject curators actively seek out collections to enhance our holdings. Since 2009, Special Collections has been involved in developing a Born-Digital Program in collaboration with the Digital Library Systems and Services Department.

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A manuscript fair copy of the text an otherwise unrecorded work, Agamemnon, opéra des dames, Poëme heroique, don’t les paroles et la musique ont fait l’amusement d’un Particulier Vieux Stil, was recently acquired. It is believed to have originated in the second half of the eighteenth century and was apparently performed in Paris, “La Feste est au bord de la Seine près des Thuilleries” to mark the end of recent hostilities. The manuscript which also contains the text to three cantatas, L’innocence, L’amour vainquer, and Les regrets, originally scored for musette, vielle, flute, and bassoon, will be kept in the Department of Special Collections, Green Library.


Peg box of a baryton, Brussels (undated)Divertimento 24o per il pariton [original manuscript, 1766]

Link to downloadable images of this work

The baryton [pariton] is a bass instrument in the viol family that may be simultaneously bowed and plucked. It features a double set of strings, the upper set gut, for bowing, the lower set metal, for sympathetic vibration and for plucked accompaniment. The metal strings run the length of the neck behind the fingerboard, which is hollowed in the back to allow the left hand to pluck the strings.

Loosely related to the lyra-viol, the baryton likely originated in seventeenth-century England. Its moment in the sun, however, came in ighteenth-century Austria, at the court of the barytonist Prince Nicholas Esterházy, with music supplied in abundance by his ambitious young Kappelmeister, Joseph Haydn.

While reading Sybil Schaefer's interview "We're All Digital Archivists Now," I was happy to see the following comment "we don’t all need to be digital archivists, but we do need to be archivists who work with digital materials. It’s not scalable to have one person, or one team, focus on the 'digital stuff.'"  

I heartily agree with her statement. Since our involvement in the AIMS project, we have required that project archivists process both the analog and digital portions of a collection. And yet, it is apparent that there is a very important role for a digital archivist. Someone who will keep up with new tools and automated processing methods, be on hand to train these project archivists, support acquisition (curators, subject specialists, donors) and explore and assist with our efforts across a wide spectrum of new projects.

If you are interested in some of the details regarding the activities and functions of SUL's digital archivist, please read Peter Chan's recent article - "What Does it Take to Be a Well-rounded Digital Archivist?