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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Manuscripts

A guide to library resources for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

General Introductions and Handbooks

Illuminated Manuscripts

Digital Humanities Tools

Boken Books

This project, based at the University of Saint Louis, uses a web-based enviroment to allow for the virtual reconstruction of pre-modern manuscript books that at some time in their history were taken apart, "broken" into pieces and dispersed. Using IIIF technology, the Broken Books program allows me to contribute images and information, including cataloging metadata, about undiscovered leaves of the Llangattock Breviary, with the goal of virtually reconstructing the original manuscript.
Please also see a second Broken Books project at:


Fragmentarium’s primary objective is to develop a digital library specialized for medieval manuscript fragment research. Although based on the many years of experience of e-codices — Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland, the Fragmentarium Digital Library has an international orientation. First and foremost it is conceived as a social platform for libraries, scholars and students to do scholarly work on fragments. It conforms to the latest standards set by digital libraries and will set new standards, especially in the area of interoperability.

The web application contains a series of tools:

  • A cataloging tool that enables libraries, collectors, researchers and students to gather and describe fragments via a CMS.
  • A tool for curated and social tags, facets and keywords, allowing efficient research through comparison and cross-checking.
  • A tool to link and assemble fragments offers the possibility to arrange cuttings, fragments of leaves, and individual leaves in any order.


Open-source, web based, multi-window image viewing platform with the ability to zoom, display, compare and annotate
images from around the world.


The aim of the joint project “eCodicology” is the development, the testing, and the optimisation of new algorithms to automatically detect the macro- and microstructural elements of manuscript pages and embed them into the images’ metadata. These structural elements include data such as page size, print space, margin, paratext, information on type and position of graphic elements as well as the image-to-text ratio. The gathered data are statistically and qualitatively evaluated and enable the answering of questions concerning writer’s corpora, scriptoria, references to manuscripts, proveniences, the connections of dislocated manuscripts etc.

eCodicology exceeds the established standards for the virtual reconstruction of historical book collections, which aims at the digital reunion, the textual preparation and presentation of the material. The project also aspires the reusability of its workflow for future projects. The algorithms tested on the image scans of St. Matthias can serve as a starting point for the analysis of other manuscript collections.

Mapping Manuscript Migration

The Mapping Manuscript Migrations project is linking disparate datasets from Europe and North America to provide an international view of the history and provenance of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Researchers will be able to analyse and visualize the aggregated data at scales ranging from individual manuscripts to thousands of manuscripts. Our research will address the origins and movements of these manuscripts, and the collectors and owners involved in their history. We will be able to show how these manuscripts have traveled across time and space to their current locations, where they continue to find new audiences.

CollateX is a software to:

  1. read multiple (≥ 2) versions of a text, splitting each version into parts (tokens) to be compared,
  2. identify similarities of and differences between the versions (including moved/transposed segments) by aligning tokens, and
  3. output the alignment results in a variety of formats for further processing, for instance
  4. to support the production of a critical apparatus or the stemmatical analysis of a text's genesis.