Archetype (previously called "the DigiPal framework") is a generic, open-source software framework for the analysis and presentation of palaeographical and related materials and texts. It was first developed as part of the Digital Resource and Database for Palaeography, Manuscript Studies and Diplomatic (DigiPal), a project funded by the European Research Council to bring digital technology to bear on the scholarly discussion of medieval handwriting. A large part of this work has been the development of a freely-available generalised framework for the online presentation of images with structured annotations and data which allows scholars to search for, view, and organise detailed characteristics of handwriting or other material in both verbal and visual form. It was then extended as part of subsequent projects, particularly Models of Authority and the Conqueror's Commissioners, both of which were funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC, UK). To date it is being used for the following material:
- Writing in Old English from the eleventh century (DigiPal)
- The palaeography and codicology of the Exon Domesday Book (Exon Domesday/The Conqueror's Commissioners)
- Twelfth-century cursive charters from Scotland (Models of Authority)
- Medieval manuscripts from Visigothic Spain (VisigothicPal)
- Fragments of manuscripts from Scandinavia written in the eleventh century (ScandiPal)
- The decoration and script of fifteenth-century manuscripts in Hebrew from the Iberian Peninsula (SephardiPal)
- The manuscripts of Matthew Paris and his collaborators (MParisPal)
- Inscriptions in Greek, Latin and both from the province of Thracia (InsPal)
- Inscriptions on medieval coins in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (PIM)
- 'Proof-of-concept' experiments have also been done using the framework on Chinese, Mayan hieroglyphs, modern (20th-century) draft manuscripts, Cuneiform, early West Semitic scripts, and an analysis of halos in Renaissance painting.
The DigiPal Project formally ended on 30 September 2014, but the framework is still being updated and extended as part of the follow-on projects listed above.
If you want to run Archetype on your own machine, please see Installing and Running Archetype.