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SfarData: The Codicological Data-Base of the Hebrew Palaeography Project

The goal of the project was to locate all the medieval codices written in the Hebrew script, which contained explicit production dates or at least scribe names; to study and document all their visual and measurable material features and scribal practices in situ, i.e. in the libraries in which they were kept; and classify these features and practices in order to expose a historical typology of the hand-produced Hebrew book and provide users of Hebrew manuscripts with a tool for identifying the production region and assessing the period of the studied manuscripts. Indeed, since the initiation of the project, almost all the dated manuscripts that were located have been studied and documented in some two hundred and fifty libraries and private collections.

CORSAIR Online Collection Catalog (The Morgan Library & Museum)

Named after Pierpont Morgan’s yacht, CORSAIR is a single database providing unified access to over 250,000 records for medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, rare and reference books, literary and historical manuscripts, music scores, ancient seals and tablets, drawings, prints, and other art objects. Records continue to be added for the balance of the collection as well as for new acquisitions.

The depth of detail is unusual for an online catalog. Many records include summaries of the content of individual letters, lengthy notes about provenance, and detailed descriptions of bindings. Specialized indexes enable researchers to find all of the Morgan’s holdings associated with a given name, date, or place. For example, with a single search a scholar interested in Dickens can find records for manuscripts and letters in the author’s hand, early printed editions of his novels, original illustrations, photographs, and personal possessions such as Dickens’ ink pot and cigar case.

CORSAIR also serves as the gateway to one of the largest repositories of medieval images on the Internet, providing access to more than 57,000 digitized images from the Morgan’s collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Users may page through every illustrated leaf within a manuscript, or search for individual images by place or date of creation, artist’s name, illustration type, and subject. The images and descriptions may be accessed directly through CORSAIR, or by visiting Images from Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts.

Durham Priory Library Recreated

From the creators: The purpose of the project is to collect all information relating to the books of Durham Priory, manuscript and printed work inherited, given, bought or created by the monks of the Benedictine priory of Durham, its predecessors and cells.

As of 2020, the project has made available catalog descriptions and IIIF-compliant images of over 150 of the manuscripts associated with Durham Cathedral. Currently items are not searchable but are arranged by shelfmark. The project is regularly updated as has an active blog associated with it.

Fragmentarium: Digital Research Laboratory for Medieval Manuscript Fragments

Fragmentarium’s primary objective is to develop a digital library specialized for medieval manuscript fragment research. Although based on the many years of experience of e-codices — Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland, the Fragmentarium Digital Library has an international orientation. First and foremost it is conceived as a social platform for libraries, scholars and students to do scholarly work on fragments. It conforms to the latest standards set by digital libraries and will set new standards, especially in the area of interoperability.

The web application contains a series of tools:

  • A cataloging tool that enables libraries, collectors, researchers and students to gather and describe fragments via a CMS.
  • A tool for curated and social tags, facets and keywords, allowing efficient research through comparison and cross-checking.
  • A tool to link and assemble fragments offers the possibility to arrange cuttings, fragments of leaves, and individual leaves in any order.

Mittelalterliche Handschriften in Österreich / Medieval Manuscripts in Austria

Der Relaunch von manuscripta.at 2014 bietet neue Daten und Funktionalitäten, darunter:

  • einen Viewer für Digitalisate (Handschriften, ungedruckte Verzeichnisse und Materialien, Printpublikationen). Optional können die Digitalisate auch im DFG-Viewer betrachtet werden. Auf dislozierte Digitalisate wird verlinkt.
  • die direkte Verknüpfung der Handschrifteneinträge mit der “Bibliographie zu österreichischen Handschriften” (über den Link “Literatur zur Handschrift” oder “Weitere Literatur zur Handschrift”). Der direkte Zugang zur Bibliographie erfolgt über das Menü links (“Bibliographie”). Der Menüpunkt “Kataloge” erstellt eine gesonderte Liste der Handschriftenkataloge, geordnet nach Bibliotheksorten.
  • verbesserte Suchfunktionen, etwa die Schnellsuche nach einer bestimmten Handschrift über Ort/Bibliothek und Signatur (Teil von Signatur).

manuscripta.at soll nach und nach zum zentralen Nachweis- und Rechercheinstrument für mittelalterliche Handschriften in Österreich ausgebaut werden.


The relaunch of manuscripta.at in 2014 offers new data and functionality, including:

  • a viewer for digital images (manuscripts, unpublished directories and materials, print publications).
  • the direct linking of manuscript entries to the “Bibliography on Austrian Manuscripts” (via the link “Literatur zur Handschrift” or “Weitere Literatur zur Handschrift”). Direct access to the bibliography is via the menu on the left (“Bibliography”). The menu item “Catalogs” creates a separate list of manuscript catalogs, sorted by library type.
  • improved search functions, such as the quick search for a specific manuscripts by location / library and signature (part of signature).

manuscripta.at will continue to be developed into the central evidence- and research-tool for medieval manuscripts in Austria.

Munich Digitization Center, Digital Library

The Munich DigitiZation Center (MDZ) is the digital imagining website of the Bavarian State Library and associated institutions. The website includes content in German, English, and Italian. The MDZ is responsible for digitizing and publishing images of the State Library’s rich medieval manuscript and early print book holdings, which total well over 15,000 items. The collections comprise items from across Europe particularly but also items from around the world. The library’s holdings are especially rich in early medieval manuscripts.

The MDZ has both an online catalog for searching in addition to regularly updated online exhibitions. New items are added to the digital collections continuously. The catalog allows for advanced searching by title, date, and author. Each entry in the image database contains a catalog entry as well as the ability to download images in differing sizes and format. Also included are IIIF-compliant images and a Mirador viewer.

New York Public Library Digital Collections

The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections is the NYPL’s digital image archive. It contains a continuously updated selection of digital exhibitions in addition to a collection of over 4,000 images of manuscripts and many more of early printed books. The NYPL’s digital collections are global in outlook, including manuscripts from across the globe. Its holdings range from the 1200s onward, with strengths in the later Middle Ages and early print as well as Jewish manuscripts and books.

Digital entries include catalog information, multiple options for download though only in JPG format, and a timeline of information about the item where available. Digital Collections entries also link back to the NYPL’s catalog entries. Items are made freely available with citations for each item available to copy and paste.

Parker Library on the Web

The Parker Library on the Web project is a joint endeavor by the Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and Stanford University to publish images of the roughly 600 medieval manuscripts housed in the library. To date, they have digitized and made freely available over 500 of those manuscripts. The Parker Library is one of the richest collections of early English books in the world, having been gifted the collections by Matthew Parker, the 16th-century Archbishop of Canterbury.

Parker Library on the Web has been at the forefront of library digitization projects. It was an early adopted of the IIIF image format. In addition to a wide range of manuscript images, including detailed images of illuminations, each entry has a detailed cataloging information and a bibliography for the item. Additionally, the platform also presents past digital exhibitions in addition to copious information on how to use the site.

Piccard Watermark Collection

A digitized version of the watermark collection compiled by Gerhard Piccard to aid in the identification of watermarks in paper manuscripts of the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries.

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The Canterbury Roll – A Digital Edition

The Canterbury Roll is a 15th-century, hand-written genealogy that begins with Noah and traces the rulers of England from the mythical Brutus to King Edward IV. The genealogy is accompanied by an extensive commentary in Latin. The five-metre long manuscript roll was purchased by the University of Canterbury, Aotearoa New Zealand in 1918 from a local family of British descent. The key products of the first stage of the Canterbury Roll Project are a new digital transcription and translation, both of which have been mapped to a high quality digital facsimile of the Roll. The ongoing project is a partnership between UC History, the UC Arts Digital Lab, the UC internship programme, the Collaborative Research Centre 933 of Heidelberg University, and Nottingham Trent University (UK).

Vocabulaire Codicologique

French-language site that provides a glossary of French codicological terms cross-referenced with their equivalents in English, Spanish, Italian, and German, based upon Denis Muzerelle’s print Vocabulaire Codicologique: répertoire méthodique des termes français relatifs au manuscrits (Paris, 1985). The English parts of the site are incomplete, but provide a (French) definition of terms and illustrations where applicable.

Published in 1985, Denis Muzarelle, Vocabulaire codicologique : répertoire méthodique des termes français relatifs aux manuscrits, Paris : Editions CEMI, 1985. (Rubricae, 1.), has proved to be a useful tool for anyone working with medieval manuscripts. This hypertext version reproduces an enhanced version of Muzerelle’s printed text, with the accompanying figures, accompanied by translations of the terms into Italian, Spanish, English, and German, the latter two still in progress. The nomenclature of script is not addressed, and the definitions are in French (although the terms are translated).

Wren Digital Library

The Wren Digital Library is the digital archive of the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge. The Wren is home to over 1,000 medieval manuscripts from the 10th century onwards, of which the digital archive has published over 800 in addition to many early printed books and modern manuscripts. The ongoing project of the digital platform is to digitally publish all manuscripts in M.R. James’ 1901-1903 print catalog of the library’s holdings.

As of 2020, the library has no search function, but one can filter manuscripts by title, shelfmark, and date. Each entry includes catalog information in addition to a bibliography. Images are available in IIIF format and can be downloaded free of charge, though high-resolution images can only be obtained by contacting the repository.