Welcome to the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM)! The SDBM aggregates observations of pre-modern manuscripts drawn from over 12,000 auction and sales catalogs, inventories, catalogs from institutional and private collections, and other sources that document sales and locations of these books from around the world.

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Recent Forum Discussion

cbachman started Hebrew Names Working Group

1 day


A group to for Hebrew name authority questions has just been added. Please join this new group if you have questions related to Hebrew names or would like to offer your expertise answering questions on this topic. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration.

All the best,
Christine Bachman


PJKidd posted in Editing Sources

4 days

OK, thanks; I've edited that source now.


ecawlfield posted in Editing Sources

5 days

Currently, only users with Admin status may edit any Source in the database. I just advanced your user level to Admin, so now when you view SDBM_SOURCE_3656 you should see a blue link that says "Edit SDBM_SOURCE_3656" at the top of your screen. Let me know if you have any trouble.



PJKidd started Editing Sources

5 days

I'm probably being dumb, but I can't see how to edit a Source in the legacy data. The online help documentation seems to suggest that users can only edit the sources that they have created.

To give a specific example: it has taken me some time and trouble to track down the catalogue that is represented by https://sdbm.library.upenn.edu/sources/3656, but if there is no easy way to share what I've found, I'm not likely to do so.



ecawlfield posted in Delete entries that are legacy-data "transactions" based on secondary sources ?

5 days

Hi Peter,

We are steadily making progress with the de Ricci data cleanup, and will tackle Bond & Faye once we complete the two de Ricci volumes. We were overly ambitious in our initial estimate of the time frame for completing this project.

I completely understand your concerns about including bad data in search results, but we believe it is more valuable to capture conversations about the bad data than to eliminate the data all together. Many legacy records, while containing misleading information, do contain snippets of good information as well. This is why we encourage commenting rather than deprecation, especially when there are no correct records to supersede the bad. We do place a warning label on all legacy data entries so that users know to exercise caution when reviewing these records.

If you encounter an entry so distorted that you think a correct record couldn’t exist, leave a comment. SDBM staff have a deep understanding of the data’s history, and are often able to trace the thought processes of past data entry persons. If we can’t find a solution, then we will consider deprecating the record.



PJKidd posted in Delete entries that are legacy-data "transactions" based on secondary sources ?

6 days

Thanks Emma.
Your response makes sense, but raises three questions:

  1. I thought that the de Ricci data was supposed to have been systematically corrected several months ago, and assumed that this would include Bond & Faye. Is this not the case?
  2. Wouldn't it be better to allow users to deprecate incorrect records, so as to remove misleading data and improve the overall reliability of the database, even if they don't have the time, energy, or access to a relevant catalogue, in order to provide a link to a correct record? I realise that users can add a comment, but this leaves the bad records in their search results. When a misleading record is deprecated, not deleted, nothing is actually lost, except easy access to it.
  3. Sometimes a record will be so garbled that it will not be possible to identify or create a correct record to replace it; in these cases should the incorrect one just remain un-deprecated forever, even though someone has identified it is wrong/misleading?