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This is a necessarily very selective list of resources to explore, focusing particularly on sites useful for developing practical palaeographical skills and for investigating digital medieval manuscripts.
Reflections on the nature of the discipline by the late Professor of Palaeography at the University of London.
Visual examples of a large range of scripts – with alphabets to aid transcription.
An electronic introduction to Old English, including the Old English alphabet.
An interactive course offered through the University of Melbourne's Evellum project (cost USD750).
From the School of Advanced Study, University of London. The first module is free; the second on Script costs £25. Future modules are promised on Diplomatic, Codicology and Illumination.
A free set of transcription exercises covering a variety of scripts developed by Marjorie Burghart (University of Lyon 2) et al. (In French and English.)
A free course from the University of Cambridge focusing specifically on later medieval and early modern scripts.
A free tutorial from The National Archives (UK), focusing on later scripts. Accompanied by a Beginners’ Latin tutorial.
A scanned version of the 1912 edition of Cappelli’s reference work.
Dr Olaf Pluta’s web-based tool, available by subscription (30-day free trial available). Many libraries subscribe, allowing visiting readers to access it while consulting manuscripts.
A glossary of terms used primarily in the physical description of manuscripts by Denis Muzerelle; with equivalent terms given in Italian, Spanish and English. (See also Glossary for illuminated manuscripts.)
An online version of the standard early 20th-century printed reference work for identifying and locating watermarks. (In French and German.) Part of a broader resource from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Wasserzeichen des Mittelalters.
A 3.5 minute video that demonstrates the processes of printing and binding a handpress book.
Images and descriptions of a selection of medieval and modern bindings from around the world.
This online version of an exhibition displays over 200 medieval and modern bindings.
Finding Digital Manuscripts
This UCLA database provides links to thousands of manuscripts worldwide digitised in their entirety. (Ceased updating in 2013.)
Professor Siân Echard of the University of British Columbia maintains an annotated list of digital manuscript collections worldwide.
An interactive map of repositories of digitized manuscripts by Giulio Menna and Marjolein de Vos.
An aggregator offering access to numerous historical and literary resources relating to Britain 1000-1500, including catalogues, online dictionaries, digital projects and texts. Some of the resources included are subscription-only.
Section of the larger Mediaevum portal dedicated to resources for the study of manuscripts and early printing. (In German.)
Digitized Manuscript Collections
A small selection
The Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland, on its way to digitizing all medieval manuscripts held in Swiss libraries. (In German, English, French and Italian.)
German national portal for manuscript catalogues and digitized manuscripts. (In German and English.)
National portal for images of fully and partially digitized manuscripts from municipal libraries across France (excluding the Bibliothèque nationale). (In French.)
The digital portal for the Bibliothèque nationale de France, including many fully and partially digitized medieval manuscripts. (In French; introduction in English too.)
Link to all digitized Vatican Library manuscripts. (In Italian and English.)
The digital portal for the Biblioteca nacional de España, including many fully digitized medieval manuscripts. (Partially in French and English as well as Spanish languages.)
Includes numerous fully digitized medieval manuscripts.
A database of medieval and Renaissance manuscript images from over 40 US collections (generally only selected images from each MS).
Includes several of the manuscripts in Cambridge University Library used in this course.
The fully digitized manuscript collection of the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. (Search only available to subscribing institutions.)
Digitized manuscripts from the Wren Library in Trinity College, Cambridge.
Descriptions and images of manuscripts from the BL collection.
Collection of images of illuminations from French municipal libraries. Try visites virtuelles for highlights. (In French.)
An illustrated glossary of terms used in the description of manuscripts, particularly illuminated ones. Part of the British Library’s Catalogue of Illuminated MSS, based on the work of Michelle Brown. (See also Vocabulaire Codicologique.)
From the collection of the National Library of the Netherlands and the Museum Meermanno. (In Dutch and English.)
A project based at Heidelberg University Library digitally reconstructing the library of the German Carolingian monastery of Lorsch. (In German, English, Italian and French.)
Part of the e-codices project, a digital reconstruction of the medieval library of the Swiss monastery of St Gall (Sankt Gallen).
Descriptions and digital images of numerous manuscripts of a single text, the allegorical French poem Roman de la Rose. Joint project of the Sheridan Library, Johns Hopkins University and the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Manuscript Research Projects
Focused on the palaeography of manuscripts of 11th-century England but developing digital techniques applicable to the analysis of handwriting more broadly, based at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London.
Previous research project of Professor Treharne and Dr Da Rold.
Hosted by the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, it takes data from catalogues and auction records to track the current and previous owners of manuscripts (provenance).