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Medieval Manuscripts: A Finding Guide: Digital

This guide describes resources and strategies for finding manuscripts (focusing on medieval manuscripts)

Online Collections

Online Collections

British Literary Manuscripts Online, Medieval & Renaissance Facsimile images of literary manuscripts dating from roughly 1120 to 1660. Images of the complete manuscript can be viewed, manipulated and navigated on screen. Collection was created by digitizing the microfilm, not digitizing the original manuscripts. The text of the manuscripts themselves is not searchable. Searching is based on titles, tags, and descriptive text associated with each manuscript.

Early English books online  Used to be available on microfim. From the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War, 1475 - 1700.

Parker Library on the web
An interactive, web-based workspace designed to support use and study of the manuscripts in the historic Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. The Parker Library's holdings of Old English texts accounts for nearly a quarter of all extant manuscripts in Anglo-Saxon, including the earliest copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c. 890), the Old English Bede and King Alfred's translation of Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care. The Parker Library also contains key Anglo-Norman and Middle English texts ranging from the Ancrene Wisse and the Brut Chronicle to one of the finest copies of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. Other subjects represented in the collection are music, medieval travelogues and maps, bestiaries, royal ceremonies, historical chronicles and Bibles. The Parker Library holds a magnificent collection of English illuminated manuscripts, such as the Bury and Dover Bibles (c. 1135 and c. 1150) and the Chronica maiora by Matthew Paris (c. 1230-50).

Manuscriptorium  Manuscript collection of the Czech Reformation and to university theses collection, that are listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World.

Electronic Beowulf
The fourth edition of Electronic Beowulf 4.0 is a free, online version is designed to meet the needs of general readers, who require a full, line by line, translation; of students, who want to understand the grammar and the meter and still have time in a semester to study and appreciate other important aspects of the poem; and of scholars, who want immediate access to a critical apparatus identifying the nearly 2000 eighteenth-century restorations, editorial emendations, and manuscript-based conjectural restorations.

Beowulf (Cotton Vitellius A XV ff 132r–201v) at the British Library

Digitized Medieval Manuscripts App (DDMapp)
A geographical approach to discovering manuscripts in libraries around the world.

SagnaNet : íslenskar fornbókmenntir : myndir af handritum og bókum sem gefnar voru út fyrir árið 1901 = Icelandic medieval literature : images of manuscripts and books published before 1901
A database of the National and University Library of Iceland and the Fiske Icelandic Collection, Cornell University Library in association with the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland, of digital images contains ca. 250,000 manuscript pages and ca. 150,000 printed pages. Covers the Icelandic family sagas (Íslendingasögur), the sagas of (chiefly Norwegian) kings (konungasögur), chivalric romances (riddarasögur) and the indigenous Icelandic epic form called rímur, among other texts.



Manuscripts Worldwide

Catalogue of Digitized Medieval Manuscripts (UCLA) promises a simple and straightforward means to discover medieval manuscripts available on the web.


Selected digital and searchable manuscripts (not all online).

A facsimile edition of the Vernon Manuscript (CD-ROM) (Available in Olin Reference Electronic Text Center) Contains over 350 Middle English texts, among them Piers Plowman, the Ancrene Riwle, the South English Legendary, the Prick of Conscience, and the Miracles of the Virgin, including a full facsimile with images of each page of the manuscript, visible at high magnification, and a complete ’live’ transcription of the text with hyperlinks. Runs from the DVD. Double click Start_Vernon.html. Runs on ETC4.

The general prologue on CD-ROM. (Chaucer) (CD-ROM). "Contains transcripts, descriptions, and images of all 53 fifteenth-century manuscripts and early printed editions of The General Prologue. The texts of witnesses may be compared through full word-by-word collations in both original spelling and regularized form. Spelling databases permit the spelling of every grammatical form of each word to be examined in any manuscript, or across all mauscripts, for some 300,000 words in total. (Olin Library Reference Disk PR1868.P9 S65 2000)

Domesday explorer.(CD-ROM) Includes the modern translation of Great Domesday Book, ed. by John Morris; high resolution images of the Latin manuscript; interactive mapping of all searches; searchable indexes; powerful search, navigation and management software; extensive help for software and on Domesday terminology and concepts. (Olin Library Reference Disk DA190 .D695x 2000)

ADMYTE: Archivo digital de manuscritos y textos españoles (CD ROM) (Olin Reference Disk Z6605.S7 A36 1992 Available in Electronic Text Center). Contains images and text of medieval Spanish manuscripts and early imprints; intended ultimately to include all texts written in Castilian prior to 1615. Allows the user to search for and save text and images.

The Lindisfarne Gospels The complete manuscript from The British Library digitized on a CD-Rom.   (Available in Olin Electronic Text Center). 

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