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DIGITISED
MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS

 
Digitised Library Collections and Holdings

This page brings together a range of digital library holdings from across the globe, with many manuscript facsimiles now available online. This page is best used alongside our curated collection of resources for manuscript studies, including palaeography and codicology, which can all be found here. When reading and transcribing European manuscripts, it may also be valuable to browse our resources for learning the languages of medieval and early-modern Europe, which can be found on these pages. Arabic manuscripts could also be studied alongside our resources relating to the Islamic world, which contains many further suggestions for Islamic manuscript collections online.

Asia
Qatar Digital Library: This is an online archive showcasing the cultural and historical heritage of the Gulf and wider region.
Europe

Cambridge (UK), Cambridge University Libraries

Digitised resources from Cambridge University Libraries.

 

Cambridge (UK), Corpus Christi College

A collection of manuscripts from the Parker Library, almost all of which have full digital facsimiles, together with their bibliographic records. The site also details the Library’s recent exhibitions, with digital images of exhibits and their object descriptions. 

 

Dublin, Trinity College Dublin

Digitised collections from the library of Trinity College, Dublin, including a fully digitised version of The Book of Kells, accessible from the homepage. 

 

London, British Library

Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts - The searchable descriptions and images of the Medieval and Early Modern manuscripts held within the British Library. The catalogue is searchable by shelf-mark, but note that the catalogue only contains select items from the Additional collection, and does not include the Cotton collection.

 

Oxford, Bodleian Library

Digitised images from collections within the Bodleian Library, Oxford, including its medieval manuscripts and early printed books. These collections are fully searchable, but can also be browsed by thematic collection.

 

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Gallica, the digital library of the BnF, which collates books, images, maps, manuscripts and sound recordings. Manuscripts are subdivided into several categories including ‘Merovingian manuscripts’, ‘Carolingian manuscripts’, ‘The manuscripts of Chrétien de Troyes’ and ‘The manuscripts of Christine de Pizan’, but are also fully searchable. 

 

Rome, The Vatican Library 

Digital Vatican is an ongoing project which aims to digitise each of the 80,000 codices held within the Vatican Library

 

Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland

Facsimiles and descriptions of the medieval manuscripts held within Swiss libraries. The site is organised primarily by library, but is meticulously subdivided, facilitating searches by material, binding, language, century, etc.

 

United States of America

Cambridge (MA), Harvard Library

Catalogue and searchable digitised Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts from the Houghton library, Harvard. 

 

Digital Scriptorium

Digital Scriptorium brings together American librarian and museum collections to provide online access to their collections of medieval - early modern manuscripts. Records include a description of the manuscript together with sample, downloadable images of selected folios. The Digital Scriptorium is fully searchable, and can be browsed by location or language. 

 

Pennsylvania, Penn Libraries

   ‘Penn in Hand’ Digital records and digitised facsimiles of items within the University of Pennsylvania’s Rare Books and Manuscript Library, with advanced search options

    ‘OPenn: Curated collections’ Hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, OPenn offers high-resolution archival imagery from the collections of its contributing institutions, including its Collection of Indic Manuscripts and Manuscripts of the Muslim World.

 

New York, Pierpont Morgan Library

CORSAIR, the digital library of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, with a detailed, searchable catalogue.

Further Resources

The Endangered Archives Programme is a project from the British Library working towards "the digitisation of archives around the world that are in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration". New projects are added monthly, the most recent of which include Libros de Hijuelas ('deed books') and documents recording the privatisation of indigenous lands in Mexico from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.

 

Medieval Manuscripts on the Web

A resource from the University of British Columbia, containing a list, alphabetised by country, of previous or current manuscript digitisation projects globally, with a short description for each. The list also includes links to several online palaeographical resources, including DigiPal and InScribe.

 

The Eran Laor Cartographical Collection, from the National Library of Israel

A partially digitised collection of maps, atlases and travel books which focus primarily upon Jerusalem and the Holy Land, from the 9th to the 20th century. “The maps in the collection are in various European languages, as well as in Hebrew, Yiddish and Arabic.” The digital collection can be browsed by religion, central location, place publishing and scale.

 
 
 
 

Resource page updated by Anna-Nadine Pike - last updated 25/01/22

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