Noel to Head Penn Libraries' Special Collections Center and Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies

PHILADELPHIA -- William Noel has been appointed as the University of Pennsylvania Libraries’ director of the Special Collections Center and founding director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.

“Will Noel is one of the few working scholars today with the training, experience and vision to lead SIMS into the future and establish Penn as a destination for manuscript studies.” said Carton Rogers, vice provost and director of libraries.   

Noel will come to Penn in September from his post as curator of manuscripts and rare books at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

A distinguished art historian, Noel has groundbreaking experience in the application of digital technologies to manuscript studies.  He has directed an international program to conserve, image and study the Archimedes Palimpsest, the unique source for three treatises by the ancient Greek mathematician (

With Penn’s new Special Collections Center poised to debut in 2013, Noel arrives at a pivotal moment in the Libraries’ recent history. He will oversee the collections, research services and public programs.

The 20,000-square-foot facility will provide high quality reader spaces specially designed for the use of primary resources. It will be home to a digital media lab for experimentation in the digital humanities, expansive group study and seminar facilities, quiet reading lounges and a spacious exhibition gallery for the display of Penn’s distinctive collections.

“Will Noel’s commitment to open access and the quality of his work in the Digital Walters are the ideal complements to our own efforts in digitization,” said David McKnight, director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, a unit within the Special Collections Center.

In 2011, long-time Penn benefactors Larry and Barbara Schoenberg donated a landmark collection of 287 medieval and Renaissance manuscripts to found the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.

Additional information about Penn’s Special Collections Center and the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies is at:

Penn’s Digital Library can be viewed at

Information about the Digital Walters is at