The research project CANTUS NETWORK, based at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, aims to investigate the records of Christian medieval worship that have survived in manuscript form and describe the practice of liturgical and musical acts of worship. The key sources for this transmission are the liturgical “prompt books”, called liber ordinarius, which include a short form of more or less the entire rite of a diocese or a monastery. Here, prayers, readings and chants are given as in abbreviated form as text incipits.
A liber ordinarius usually includes all information necessary for the church services of an individual institution (church, monastery) or a group (diocese, group of monasteries). On the one hand, this includes the incipits of chants, readings and prayers for the liturgy of the hours, for mass and for processions. On the other hand, it also includes rubrics that provide instructions on how and when particular liturgical actions should be carried out. In a third column, libri ordinarii may contain commentaries on the liturgy taken from standard contemporary works, providing additional information for particular feast days or a particular liturgical activity. A fourth column may provide the unlined neume notation of the chant incipits. When dealing with parts of ordinals, the neumes are the only proof of which piece of music is actually concerned. “Local colour” is created by the combination of the three or four columns, that is, the chant and recital text tradition, the rubrics and the explanations of the liturgy. [the site is in German with an English option]
Cantus Planus at the University of Regensburg presents a variety of tools and databases for the study of plainchant. The site offers a number of datafiles containing antiphons, responsories, and the texts of various liturgical books from across Europe. Likewise, the site presents databases for searching various aspects of the liturgy, including saints’ feasts or the type of liturgy used for a particular day. Likewise, the site contains search apparatus for notation as well as a number of bibliographies on chant.
The site is free to use, though it has not been recently updated.
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.
Creation of the Gothic is a project that presents all 1600 churches from the Limestone Basin region of France and seeks to explore the beginnings of the Gothic style in the region prior to 1250. Each church is listed individually with most containing images of the church as a whole and sometimes images of the details of the architectural features. The website is free to use.
DIAMM (the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music) is a leading resource for the study of medieval manuscripts. We present images and metadata for thousands of manuscripts on this website. We also provide a home for scholarly resources and editions, undertake digital restoration of damaged manuscripts and documents, publish high-quality facsimiles, and offer our expertise as consultants.
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.
“The Global Medieval Sourcebook (GMS) is an open access teaching and research tool. It offers a flexible online display for the parallel viewing of medieval texts in their original language and in new English translations, complemented by new introductory materials.
The GMS spans one thousand years (600-1600) of literary production around the world. It contains short texts of broad interdisciplinary interest in a variety of genres, almost all of which have not previously been translated into English.”
A joint venture between the Austrian National Library, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Institute for Jewish History in Austria, the Hebrew Fragments in Austria project provides images of Hebrew language fragments in Austrian manuscripts. The website functions in both English and German. There are over 500 images of fragments from over twenty repositories present in the database currently. Many of the fragments in the collection are contained in the bindings of other manuscripts and early printed books. Images are presented in JPG format and include catalog information. The projects also presents a list of the fragments arranged by text and manuscript.
The website for the project also includes a bibliography on the study of fragments generally and the study of fragments in Germanic countries specifically. Likewise, the website also presents a map of institutions in Austria holding fragments.
From the project: “MARGOT is a long-term research project devoted to publishing fully searchable editions of either generally inaccessible texts from the French Middle Ages and the Early Modern period (the Ancien Régime) or of texts in connection with a specific project from the same time period.”
MARGOT contains a number of other DH projects, including CANTUS, a database of medieval chant, French Women Writers, The Campsey Project, and Reading the Roman de la Rose in Text and Images, among others.
MARGOT makes its materials freely available under a Creative Commons license.
Measuring Polyphony is an ongoing project by researchers at Brandeis University and McGill University to digitally transcribe and notate polyphonic musical texts from manuscripts of the 13th and 14th centuries. As of 2020, the project presents around fifty musical pieces and has plans for growth. Currently, most of the transcribed musical texts are in Latin or French. Each entry presents musical texts in medieval mensural and modern notations. For some entries, the project presents manuscript images in IIIF format to compare against the marked-up scores. Pieces also include audio recordings of their performance in addition to downloadable data for each piece in MEI and PDF format.
Measuring Polyphony is committed to open-source data and has made the encoding process clear. The project also makes available all of its data in XML and MEI format and also provides access to its software apparatus on GitHub.
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.
From the creators: As a monument to medieval kingship and a setting for parliamentary government, St Stephen’s Chapel in the Palace of Westminster has helped to shape the political culture of the nation. Funded by the AHRC (2013-17), our project explores the history, art and architecture of the royal chapel which became the first dedicated House of Commons. This website provides access to the 3D visualizations modeled from our research.
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From the creators: York’s Archbishops Registers Revealed provides free access to over 20,000 images of Registers produced by the Archbishops of York, 1225-1650, in addition to a growing searchable index of names, subjects, places and organisations. The registers are a valuable, and in many cases, unexploited source for ecclesiastical, political, social, local and family history – covering periods of war, famine, political strife and religious reformation in the Archdiocese of York and the wider Northern Province.
The site contains over 5000 entries cataloged and organized with subject headings, indexes, and searchable contents. The project also offers IIIF capability for its images.