#DataDeepDive: Descriptive Tags

Being unfamiliar with these texts, many volunteers used descriptive tags to point of visually striking features of a fragment.

These tags show volunteers engaging with the fragments in a different light, or highlighting points of interest. These tags, like weird, unusual, interesting, and beautiful, generated rich conversations with content specialists or other volunteers. It often lets researchers return to a fragment with a new perspective!


Check out the “weird-shaped parchment” of Subject 21952982. According to the Genizah Research Unit at Cambridge University Library, it’s a 12th-century letter to a family member, describing a sea voyage from Tripoli to Sicily (8 days with a favorable wind). It also mentions places in Italy and North Africa, before the writer travelled to Mahdiyya and on to Fustat.

Subject 21952982: MS-TS-00016–00054, Genizah Research Unit, Cambridge University Library

Volunteers flagged Subject 11672015 for its #unusual layout of blocks and repeated characters. This subject has been reviewed in-depth by Dr. Michael Rand, Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Cambridge. His field of expertise is Classical Hebrew piyyut, of which this seder beriyot is an example. It contains the tail end of a qedushta for Yom Kippur.

Subject 11672015: MS 8190, fol. 2, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Subject 30754368 features an “interesting list of items with numbers”. The University of Manchester Library categorizes this fragment as “personal status document and/or legal document”.

Subject 30754368: L 150–1, The University of Manchester Library

Look at the #beautiful calligraphy in Subject 11616925! This side starts off with the Bismillāh (In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)in the middle, followed by the ḥamdala (an Arabic phrase meaning “praise be to Allah.”)

Subject 11616925: ENA 3316, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary

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

Judaica DH at the Penn Libraries

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We are the Judaica #DH at the Penn Libraries. Follow us for news and updates on our projects. #judaicadh

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