Cataloguers, Designers, and Catographers for the Female Scribes Project - History

This project seeks to create databases of known female scribes whose writing survives, as well as references to women writing, between 0 and 1500 AD (

Contrary to popular culture and even some scholarly assumptions, women wrote during the Middle Ages. From ancient Mesopotamian scribes like Amat-Mamu to illuminators like Enda to famous poets like the medieval bestseller Christine de Pizan, female scribes existed in all regions and time periods. Some of the most studied surviving manuscripts and texts—including one of the earliest and most complete Bible manuscripts and the earliest Old English chronicle—have been associated with female scribes at one time or another. In the past few decades, scholars such as Alison Beach, Diane Watt, Pamela Robinson, Henrike Lähnemann, and Kim Haines-Eitzen—to name just a very few— have made important strides in emphasizing how many pre-modern female scribes existed, and how many texts and manuscripts they helped to transmit and create. Nevertheless, the notion persists that in the ancient and medieval world, “almost all scribes were men”, at least in popular culture and in corners of the internet (

Student researchers are sought to assist with:
~entering information in the databases
~cleaning data in the databases and adding longitude and latitude of scribes’ homes (where known), in order to generate an interactive map
~examining multi-volume lists of colophons (places where scribes mentioned their names)
~engaging with digital copies of manuscripts to source images and examples and links to female scribes’ work
~designers to work on the interactive maps and possible database formats

Remote options are available, as is Federal Work Study for eligible students.

Project Dates

Start Date: 9/15/2023 - End Date: 12/5/2023

Students Needed

Type of Project

Individual or team

Student Responsibilities

The exact position responsibilities will vary depending on students' backgrounds, interests, and assignments. However, all students will have "lab" meetings once every two weeks to discuss progress and next steps. Students will also be responsible for working in a shared drive and noting any changes they make. For example, students entering and cleaning information in the databases will be responsible for entering/cleaning a set number of entries each week, summarizing their changes for the faculty mentor, and making sure to make back-up copies of their work. They may also be asked to highlight particular examples that stood out to them and to consider what sub-research questions they could develop and pursue themselves. They may also be asked to test how the database will look when published and whether the mapping data can be extracted by relevant programs. This work will primarily be done in Excel at first. Depending on the pace at which the progress progresses, it may be possible for students to give conference presentations and co-author publications on their findings. The databases will also be distributed for other scholars to use.

Time Commitment

2 hours per week hour(s)

Student Requirements

All majors and backgrounds are welcome on this project, even if you have never approached research before. You will be supported throughout this process. If you are interested in this project, please email with details about: ~your major ~how many semesters you have left at UCF ~what your favorite class has been at UCF so far ~what your ultimate career goals are ~why you are interested in research ~any languages you speak ~any experience you have with databases ~any software/programs/computer things you know well ~any other special talents you have!

Interested in Working With the Following Programs

Independent Research Credit (4912)

Additional Notes

If students are eligible for Federal Work Study, they may be paid via that program.

Position Overview

  • Date Posted: 09-01-2023
  • Research Categories:
    • Art
    • Humanities
    • Social Sciences
  • Location:
    • Cocoa
    • Lake Nona
    • Orlando (Downtown)
    • Orlando (Main Campus)
    • Rosen College
    • Sanford/Lake Mary
  • Paid: Maybe