Compete Digital Facsimile Collections

Sexy Codicology This is the current uber meta site of the medieval internet, and growing bigger and better every day. There are no digital facsimile collections on this site as such, but it can show you where they all are. It is actually a set of sites. I have started with the blog, as it gets you into the system. There is a map where you can locate collections of digital facsimiles from all over the world, there are collections of Tumblr, Flickr and Pinterest and a Facebook site, and just so we know what is going on, a Twitter feed. It will make this link page here quite redundant.

The British Library - Digitised Manuscripts Full digital facsimiles of complete manuscripts are being added to the British Library site at a rate of knots; new ones all the time. Mercifully they have ditched the foolish and misleading Turning the Pages technology and are showing high quality images in a sensible, functional interface. There is only one little problem. The search function sucks. It can take quite a bit of creative ingenuity to find a particular manuscript, even if you know its name and catalogue number. Persist and it's worthwhile.

Cambridge Digital Library A number of treasures from the Cambridge University Library are reproduced in full, including several medieval manuscripts.

Trinity College Dublin now has a number of digitised manuscripts online, including the uberfamous Book of Kells, as well as other material. The interface is a bit quirky so you have to fiddle around a bit to find things.

Gallica From the Bibliothèque nationale de France, you can search for multitudes of French manuscripts here.

BVMM Bibliothèque virtuelle des manuscrits médiévaux A portal for digitised manuscripts from a number of French libraries, in some cases full facsimiles, others are just selections.

Europeana Regia A portal for a selection of diigitised manuscripts from former royal collections in various libraries of Europe.

Catalogue of Digitised Medieval Manuscripts The good folk at UCLA have set up this site that allows users to locate fully digitised manuscripts currently on the web, using a search box and various browse criteria. Useful for finding these treasures, as well as for finding such things as multiple versions of the same text or the works of a particular author. Unfortunately, not currently maintained.

Early Manuscripts at Oxford University High resolution images of complete manuscripts, only to be attempted with a fast connection and plenty of RAM. This was one of the early efforts to bring hi-res manuscript images to the web

Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis This is a true research resource with digitised images in a great range of magnifications of a large number of complete medieval manuscripts in the Cathedral Library of Cologne. They are presented in a database interface with good catalogue information. There are also texts of printed books about the Cathedral Library. If this became the standard for digital presentation of medieval manuscripts, it would be possible to do real research over the internet. A peek into the future of history?

Irish Script on Screen This site displays digital reproductions of complete manuscripts, not all medieval, from various Irish institutions. There is commentary and catalogue information. Modest sized, but quite readable, images are available to all and specialist users may register to see enlargements.

National Library of Wales: Digital Manuscripts from the Middle Ages An large selection of treasures from the library, with digital images. The website is undergoing restructuring, so I hope this link stays correct. The Ystrad Marshall Charters, from a medieval Cistercian Abbey in Wales, now have their separate section.

The Royal Library, Copenhagen - e-manuscripts A large series of complete manuscripts is displayed in good quality images, large enough to read with basic catalogue information. More detailed notes are provided for some manuscripts on Late Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts on the Web, a site which hasn't changed much in many years, but neither have the medieval manuscripts.

St Laurentius Digital Manuscript Library Lund University Library, Sweden is digitising and making accessible its collection of medieval manuscripts. 65 complete volumes are presented in large clear jpegs with brief catalogue information and a search facility.

Manuscriptorium From the National Library of the Czech Republic, this bilingual Czech/English site provides catalogue information in a database interface on manuscripts in various Czech and other European repositories. There are many complete digitised manuscripts, and full access is nor possible without a paid subscription.

Digital Manuscript Library from the Research Library in Olomouc This Czech language site features around 50 fully digitised medieval manuscripts in resolutions up to high quality legible. The material can also be obtained on CD-ROM, if you know how to fill out online forms in Czech, otherwise click on the obvious places and just look.

Manuscripta Mediaevalia This has grown over the years into a portal site for digitised manuscripts in Germany and elsewhere.

Heidelberger Handschriften - digital This site from the University Library of Heidelberg contains a very large collection of digital facsimiles in several sets.

Verzeichnis der Handschriftenfragmente der Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg This German language site provides full reproductions of fragments of medieval manuscripts which have been used as pastedowns, bindings or similar, from the university library of Salzburg. There are high quality images and catalogue information. As they say themselves "Fragments of manuscripts relate the histories of vanished books."

Medieval Parchment Fragments at Bergen University Library What it says, from Latin and Old Norse manuscripts. It contains images, catalogue information and some transcripts and translations.

Digital Collections - Bayerische StaatsBibliothek This is an enormous collection of digitised books of German interest from the Bavarian State Library in Munich. They are listed under various categories, several of which involve medieval manuscripts in Latin, German and other European languages, as well as blockbooks and woodcuts from the early printed period. Images are high quality, although some are black and white, taken from old microfilms. This is the English language version of the site, although some sections are not translated and are in German.

Digitisation of Middle English Manuscripts: The Hunterian Collection From Glasgow University Library, mainly a statement of intention to produce digital facsimiles and transcripts of manuscripts in the library. A pilot project The Romaunt of the Rose, an English translation of the famous French poem possibly by Geoffrey Chaucer, is available.

e-codices - Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland What was already an ambitious project to digitise all the medieval manuscripts in the famous Abbey Library of Saint Gall has grown into an even more ambitious project to digitise all the medieval manuscripts of Switzerland, or at least those in public collections. This may be the first nation to make all its medieval manuscripts available freely to all. The site is accessible in German, French, Italian and English. Awesome!

Valenciennes - Bibliothèque This is my umpteenth update of the URL to find the wonderful digitised treasures from the Library of Valenciennes in France. If they keep changing it all the time, you'll just have to google it. Somehow it keeps getting buried in an impenetrable French municipal website. The interactive Cantilene de St Eulalie appears here currently. The large series of images derived from black and white microfilms appears to be accessible from UCLA. Other images of manuscripts from Valenciennes can be found by searching on Gallica.

Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image From the University of Pennsylvania Library, high quality images with very large reproductions of details from a large number of books, some of which are medieval manuscripts.

Bibliotheca Corviniana Digitalis A virtual reconstruction of the Renaissance library of King Matthias of Hungary, with full digital facsimiles. It is supposedly in four languages, but this feature does not seem to be fully operational. Click on the Corvinák link to pull up a list of shelfmarks and go from there. There are English catalogue notes on individual manuscripts.

Manuscrits de la mystique rhénane From the University of Strasbourg, a large set of complete digitised manuscripts which can be seen at very great enlargement.

Digital Library of Illuminated Manuscripts Complete digital facsimiles, but without transcripts or extensive notes, from several American University libraries.

The Stair Society - Manuscripts Full digital facsimiles of two manuscripts in the National Archives of Scotland, both with significance for Scottish legal history.

Codici Corali Complete digital facsimiles of a large number of liturgical music manuscripts from Florence Cathedral.

Tammelahandskrifterna From Finland, this site provides complete digital reproductions of three liturgical manuscripts with large images. The site is in Finnish, or Swedish according to Google translations, but as there is no detailed commentary, just click on the obvious links and look.

Cirsfid, Progetto Irnerio This site from the University of Bologna has been updated and its purpose is now clear. Digital facsimiles are available for a very large number of works of law and philosophy. In more recent updates, it appears that the hi-res images are available to all provided that they promise not to do anything naughty with them.

Scriptorium: Medieval and Early Manuscripts Online This site from Cambridge displays 20 manuscripts of miscellaneous content, or commonplace books, from the 15th to the 18th centuries. There are complete digital facsimiles of the manuscripts, with descriptions and bibliographies. There is also a paleography section to help you read them. It replaces the site DSpace at Cambridge: Scriptorium: Medieval and early Modern Manuscripts Online which is still online, but the new version is freely available to all.

The Parker Library on the Web This is a site where it is intended to eventually display high resolution digital copies of 538 medieval manuscripts in the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Only limited access is available without registration.

World Digital Library This site from the US Library of Congress, with partner institutions in many countries, aims to produce digital editions of significant books and images, including manuscripts, in major library collections. It is searchable by date, geography and other criteria. The interface is user friendly, but it really requires a broadband connection. The items are viewable page by page, or downloadable as a (very large) package. It is free. Yay!

Medieval Music Database This site from La Trobe University in Australia gives information on the content of liturgical manuscripts, but also displayed complete digital facsimiles of four such manuscripts. This is evidently no longer being maintained and does not appear to be fully functional any more. Pity.

Fisher Digitised Manuscripts From the university of Toronto, a series of complete facsimiles. There is also a set of digitised manuscript fragments or separated leaves, arranged in chronological order so that you can work out your own do-it-yourself paleography course.

The Goodspeed Manuscript Collection From the University of Chicago, this site provides full digital facsimiles with zoomable images and catalogue decriptions of 68 manuscripts and 114 papyrus fragments. Four of these are Latin manuscripts, the others in various eastern languages.

Centre Culturel Irlandais - illuminated manuscripts This shows three full digital facsimiles of medieval manuscripts; a Flemish psalter, an English chronicle and a French book of hours. Why they are on a site devoted to contemporary Franco-Irish relations is a tad mysterious, except that they have them and they want to share.

Ville de Laon: Bibliothèque municipale This provides full facsimiles of a number of manuscripts, mostly liturgical. One example has a funky interface in which a choir sings the text while an animated medieval style manicule indicates where they are up to on the image.

De Proprietatibus Rerum From the University of Victoria, Canada, this provides a full digital facsimile of a 13th century manuscript of the much copied work by Bartolomeus Anglicus. When the site is complete it will also provide commentary and transcriptions.

Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel A large collection of complete digital facsimiles of high quality from the aforesaid library. There is also a collection of medieval blockbooks, and some documents mainly from the 16th century. Individual pages of manuscripts have persistent URLs so that they can be directly linked from other sites. Libraries have been talking about this for donkey's years, but this one has done it.

Medieval and Early Modern Manuscript Collection: Database and Digital Images From the Harry Ramson Center, University of Texas at Austin , a database of 215 manuscripts, with complete digital images for some, with the intention of providing them for all eventually. The interface is awkward for finding which manuscripts have been digitised, and the facsimiles are in the form of pdfs - not the most user friendly system.

AMS Historica From the University of Bologna, assorted digital works and collections, the most notable for medievalists being a manuscript copy of Dante. The site is in Italian.

Bibliothèque Méjanes: Aix-en-Provence Complete digital facsimiles, with catalogue entries, for six medieval manuscripts.

Carolingian Culture at Reichenau & St Gall provides full digital facsimiles of known manuscripts from those monasteries, now in various libraries. There is also an exploration of the famous monastic Plan of St Gall.

Digitised Manuscripts from Trinity College Cambridge What it says, with a nice simple interface.

Biblioteca Apostlica Vaticana - Digitised Manuscripts Full digital facsimiles from the Vatican Library, and expanding resource.

Annotated Books Online A digital archive of early modern annotated books. The books are mainly printed, but the annotations are, naturally manuscript. All about what people thought their books were for, and what they thought about them.

Archivalia : Digital Collections of German Libraries with Medieval and early Modern Manuscripts A portal site leading to a large selection of digitised medieval manuscripts in German libraries.

The State Library of Victoria This library in Australia has a number of complete digitised manuscripts. It seems the best way to access them is through the catalogue. After clicking the link set the search to "Digitised and electronic items" and put "medieval manuscripts" in the search box. Direct link to the online collections would be easier.

49 manuscrits médiévaux et renaissants numérisés From the University of Liège, full digital facsimiles of 49 manuscripts. From the University of Copenhagen, digital facsimiles of a number of northern manuscripts.There is also an introduction to manuscripts and their production. The site is in Danish. There is an English language link but not much of the material has been translated. The manuscripts are fascinating in any klanguage.

Facsimile Finder A database of available modern printed facsimile editions of medieval manuscripts, with some commentary and pictures. It includes some reconstructions of separated works.


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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 22/11/2014.