- Oh, thank goodness for readable documents. I'm not allowed to photograph the one I was working on this morning, but it was an official privilege, so although it's long, the writing is nice and neat, and the abbreviations are few and regular.
- Archival norms are weird, in that they vary a lot from one to the next. Some don't let you bring in any writing instruments, and make you use the pencils they provide. There's the one that has you divest yourself of everything that a document could possibly be concealed in. There's the archive that limits you to three documents a day. There's the one that sent me up a ladder to fetch my own crumbling registers off a top shelf. The one I'm currently working in that put two fourteenth-century parchments on my table, then when I left to go to the restroom, just told me to leave them there, even though the door to the building's main lobby was wide open…and the door from the lobby to the great outdoors – where it's currently raining!** – is open as well. The bathroom, however, is under lock and key.
- The gloom-and-doom predictions were right: there's not much in the archives of this city for the period I'm studying. In today's archive, it was only perhaps half a dozen documents, and all of them only very tangentially related to my topic. But there are two or three other archives in this city. I'm not worried. And if anyone wants to do a thesis on crime in a small and not very interesting town in the Mediterranean, there's a truly fantastic cache of largely unexploited criminal registers here from the 14th century on.
- One final note: it's good to be back in the documents again.
**Humidity is the number-two enemy of medieval documents, second only to catastrophic fire.