In period, scribes were the people who could write. Often, they were monks or nuns who worked in a scriptorium to produce beautiful illuminated books and manuscripts. Later in period, scribes became more secularized, and scriptoria became more like the artist workshops that also cropped up in the Renaissance.
In the SCA, scribes are the volunteers who produce the beautiful award scrolls that are handed out during courts. The calligraphy and illumination on the scrolls is often on par with a medieval book of hours or grant of arms.