Discovery. It means different things to different people. It rarely happens quickly. More often, it involves peeling away layers of meaning to discover a hidden essence. Even with a revelation, discovery resembles sculpting; refining the revelation to reveal its essence. Slavic medieval manuscripts, appearing at first glance to be poor orphans, have revealed themselves to be giants of human dignity. They represent the survival through unimaginable sufferings of marginalized people during truly evil times.
Access to these Slavic manuscripts, however, presents unique problems to the scholar. Western institutions tend to marginalize Slavic manuscripts. I believe this marginalization comes from the poor condition of many manuscripts and because of misconceptions about their intellectual value. Only recently has inter-disciplinary interest expanded manuscript research beyond previous boundaries through the technologies of information science and the viewpoints of literary criticism, historiography, and hypertext theory.
I describe here my discovery of the cultural heritage of Slavic manuscripts and my application of interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks to them. I also describe efforts to preserve and provide access to these artifacts through conventional conservation techniques and through electronic publishing.