What is a "manuscript"?

        Simply put, a "manuscript" is a text written by hand.  Your class notes are "manuscripts."  In bibliographic usage, a manuscript usually is the earliest "embodiment" (to use Williams and Abbott's term) of the text the author is composing.  In modern digital texts, authors frequently compose at the keyboard, producing a "typescript" that circumvents the manuscript stage entirely.  Prior to the mass production of the typewriter by Remington and Sons (1877), all texts first were produced as manuscripts which were edited to allow typesetters to set type for printed editions.

        Scholars typically abbreviate manuscript as "MS" (or "ms" in England and the Continent) and the plural as "MSS" (mss).