A network of researchers dedicated to advancing our understanding of glossing—that is, practices of annotating texts between the lines or in the margins of books.

About glossing

Glossing was a widespread cultural practice wherever books were being read, studied and taught, from western Europe to East Asia. Glossing fulfilled a variety of functions, including translation, guided reading, textual interpretation, education, and transmission of knowledge. Glosses—whether words or symbols—also reflect complex interactions between a wide variety of languages, from local vernaculars to international languages of high prestige.

Despite the huge number of glossed manuscripts that survive and their rich evidence for cultural and linguistic traditions, the field of glossing research remains underdeveloped. Much of the primary evidence has never been properly studied; we lack good interpretative frameworks; and exchange between different scholarly disciplines remains at a very early stage.

About the glossing network

The purpose of this network is to promote more and better collaboration between specialists in the field. We aim to share information about new resources and events, to exchange ideas, to identify research opportunities, and to explore areas of mutual interest.

Our central focus is on manuscripts of the medieval period (c. 5th to 15th centuries), and embraces not only glossing as narrowly defined but also closely related genres such as collected glosses (glossae collectae), glossaries, and commentaries. We welcome participation from any researcher with an interest in glossing and related practices—regardless of language, region, or period.

 Some current research interests:

  • Editions of glossed manuscripts
  • Glosses as evidence for reading strategies
  • Glosses as vehicles for transmission of knowledge
  • Comparison of cross-cultural glossing practices

Currently, our register of researchers comprises 137 members from 21 countries (Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, US), with interests in languages including Arabic, Breton, Chinese, Egyptian, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hittite, Irish, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Norse, Sanskrit, Slovenian, Syriac, Tibeto-Burman, Turkish, Welsh.

How to join

You can become part of the network in two ways:

  1. Subscribe to the mailing list for news on new resources, events, etc. and post your own messages if you wish: just send a blank e-mail to glossing+subscribe@googlegroups.com. (When you get a response, it is best to reply to the e-mail to confirm. Clicking the link may not work.)
  2. Add your details to the register of researchers. To do so, e-mail padraic.moran@universityofgalway.ie with the following details: name, institution, e-mail, web link, short description of scholarly interests (ideally keywords, c. 50 words max). (We will add you to the mailing list by default, unless of course you prefer to opt out.)

The Network for the Study of Glossing was founded in December 2015 by Alderik Blom (Marburg), Franck Cinato (Paris), Pádraic Moran (Galway), Andreas Nievergelt (Zürich), Mariken Teeuwen (Amsterdam), and Matthew Zisk (Tohoku).