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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Manuscripts Online & Catalogs

A guide to library resources for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Finding Medieval Manuscripts

There are a number of ways of locating medieval manuscripts: by library catalog, by online sites (which are often library catalogs), and through listings of incipits.

Searching by Incipits

The Patrologia Latina and Library of Latin Texts can in effect be used as a database of incipits to identify texts, and the edition cited can then be consulted for lists of manuscripts.

Manuscripts Online

A select Listing of Sites

Digital Scriptorium

Digital Scriptorium (DS) is a growing organization of institutional partners with collections of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. DS provides an online union catalog of these collections and thus unites scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research. As a digital image repository, the DS website allows users to verify with their own eyes descriptive metadata about places and dates of origin, scripts, artists, and decoration.

Friedrich Stegmueller's multi-volume Repertorium Biblicum Medii Aevi

The RBMA contains thousands of Latin religious texts, including commentaries and other theological writings and lists their manuscripts and editions.

Europeana Regia

The principal objective of Europeana Regia is to reconstruct, in the form of a virtual library, the most important European royal collections of documents from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Managed by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Europeana Regia unites five European libraries—the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich (BSB), the Universitat de València Biblioteca Històrica (BHUV), the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbuttel (HAB), and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België-Bibliothèque royale de Belgique (KBR)—and encompasses almost nine hundred manuscripts that are representative of the political, cultural and artistic history of Europe.

The Goodspeed Manuscript Collection

The Edgar J. Goodspeed Manuscript Collection comprises 68 early Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts ranging in date from the 5th to the 19th centuries. The acquisition of these hitherto unknown manuscripts was spearheaded by Edgar J. Goodspeed in the first half of the twentieth century in order to support new scholarship in the humanities. The University of Chicago Library is providing a unique digital resource based on this collection. All 68 New Testament manuscripts have been digitized in their entirety and are presented with high-quality zoomable images through an interface that supports browsing within individual manuscripts and across the collection.


The Manuscriptorium project is creating a virtual research environment providing access to all existing digital documents in the sphere of historic book resources (manuscripts, incunabula, early printed books, maps, charters and other types of documents). These historical resources, otherwise scattered in various digital libraries around the world, are now available under a single digital library interface. The service provides seamless access to more than 5 million digital images.

Monastic Manuscript Project

The Monastic Manuscript Project is a database of descriptions of manuscripts that contain texts relevant for the study of early medieval monasticism, especially monastic rules, ascetic treatises, vitae patrum-texts and texts related to monastic reforms. The purpose is to offer a tool for reconstructing not only the manuscript dissemination of early medieval monastic texts but also to give access to the specific contexts in which a text appears. Most pages provide links to a number of web resources, such as manuscript catalogues, online texts and translations, digitized manuscripts and repertoria. Manuscript descriptions are usually based on published manuscript catalogues and secondary literature.

Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts

The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts aggregates observations of premodern manuscripts drawn from over 12,000 auction and sales catalogues, inventories, catalogues from institutional and private collections, and other sources that document sales and locations of these books from around the world. Using thirty-six possible fields, entries in the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM) record data from observations made in these sources and assist researchers in locating and identifying particular manuscripts, establishing provenance, and aggregating descriptive information about specific classes or types of manuscripts.

Indices of Catalogues of Latin Manuscripts

Cranz, F. Edward (Ferdinand Edward) comp. A microfilm corpus of the indexes to printed catalogues of Latin manuscripts before 1600 A.D. 38 Microfilm reels. New London, Conn. : [Connecticut College?] : Obtained from the Connecticut College Bookstore, 1982.

Kristeller, Paul Oskar. Latin manuscript books before 1600 : a list of the printed catalogues and unpublished inventories of extant collections. 4th ed., rev. and enl. (Monumenta Germaniae historica. 13) M|nchen : Monumenta Germaniae historica, 1993.

Online Manuscripts by Topic

Manuscripts in Philadelphia


Free Library of Philadelphia’s digital collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts

The manuscript collection includes most of the kinds of books used between 1000 and 1500 A.D.: prayer books and poetry, Bibles and political propaganda, philosophical works, and fantastic histories. Some manuscripts are elaborate and beautiful works of art; others are humble "owner-produced" books, copied out from a borrowed copy by someone who needed a particular text. Each one tells us something about a long-vanished age.

Access to Digital Collection

Bibliophilly: An Interface for the Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis Project
Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis is the online home for documentation and progress reports on PACSCL’s (Philadelphia Area Consortiums for Special Collections Libraries) medieval manuscript digitization project. BiblioPhilly) includes  high-resolution images of more than 160,000 pages of European medieval and early modern codices — virtually all of the holdings of  PACSCL member libraries.

Print and Online Library Catalogues by Country and Library


Mittelalterliche Handschriften in Österreich. An online database of manuscripts in Austrian libraries.


Bibliothèque royale de Belgique. KBR Belgica, Manuscrits. A gallery of the digitized manuscripts in the Royal Library of Belgium.

Bibliothèque royale de Belgique. Manuscript Catalogues and Reference Works. Digitized versions of the Royal Library of Belgium's manuscript catalogs, up to 2013 (French and German).

Bibliothèque royale de Belgique. Section des manuscrits. Catalogue des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque royale de Belgique. Bruxelles, H. Lamertin, 1901-1909 ; Renaux, Des presses de J. Leherte Courtin, 1919-1948. 13v.

DoNum: Dépôt d'Objets Numérisés. A digital database for manuscripts in the University of Liège. Use this portal, rather than the "browse our collections->manuscripts" pathway.

Czech Republic

Manuscriptorium Digital Library. A searchable database for the digitized manuscripts in the National Library of the Czech Republic.


Manuscripts in the Danish Royal Library.

E-manuscripts from the Royal Library of Copenhagen.


Bibliothèque Humaniste de Sèlestat.

Bibliothèque nationale de France: Manuscript and Archive Catalog Online.

Bibliothèque nationale de France. Lauer, P. (1940). Catalogue général des manuscrits latins ... Bibliothèque nationale.

Bibliothèque nationale de France. Mandragore: digitized manuscript images..

Bibliothèque virtuelle des manuscrits médiévaux.

Biblissima: Catalog of digitized folios of manuscript illuminations, decorations, and images in French libraries.

CALAMES-Catalog of archives and manuscripts in French academic and research libraries.

Catalogue collectif de France: recherche dans les bases de Manuscript et Archives. An extremely comprehensive catalog of manuscripts in French libraries.

Gallica--for pdfs of medieval manuscripts in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

France. Ministère de l'instruction publique. Omont, H. (1886). Catalogue des manuscrits grecs des départements. E. Plon, Nourrit et cie.

PaGella: Patrimoine Grenoblois en Ligne, Manucrits médiévaux. A catalog of manuscripts in the Bibliothèque municipale de Grenoble.


Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis--full digitization of medieval manuscripts in the Episcopal and Cathedral Library of Cologne.

Manuscripta Mediaevalia : a portal for medieval manuscripts in German libraries.

Bamberg Staatsbilbiothek Online Catalog.

Bauerische Staatsbibliothek Online Catalog.

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Monacensis. Munchen, In kommission der Palmschen buchhandlung, 1866- . Available online at the Internet Archive.

Bibliotheca Palatina Digital One of the consequences of the Thirty Years War was that the most important collection of books in the 17th century Holy Roman Empire, the Bibliotheca Palatina, was divided between two principal locations: Heidelberg and the Vatican. Since 2001, Heidelberg University Library has been working on several projects that aim to digitize parts of this great collection, the final goal being a complete virtual reconstruction of the “mother of all libraries.”

Fischer, Hans: Katalog der Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen. 1. Band: Die Lateinischen Pergamenthandschriften. Erlangen 1928.

Fischer, Hans: Katalog der Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek Erlangen. 2. Band: Die Lateinischen Papierhandschriften. Erlangen 1936.

Universitatsbibliothek Munchen. Schott, G. (1968). Die Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek München. O. Harrassowitz.

Universitatsbibliothek Heidelberg. Handschriften – digital. A repository of the Heidelberg University Library's digitized manuscript collections. 

Universitatsbibliothek Würzburg. A list of the manuscripts in the University of Würzburg and links to digitized versions.

Munich Digital Centre's MDZ Digitale Bibliothek

München Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Handschriften. Their digitized manuscripts can be searched for using the above MDZ link.

Wolfenbüttel Digital Library's Medieval Manuscripts.


MANUS Online contains catalogue descriptions and digital images of manuscripts, private papers and archives held by Italian public, private and ecclesiastical libraries. The census, launched by ICCU—Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico—in 1988, aims to list and catalogue manuscripts written in Latin alphabet from the Middle Ages to date, including private papers and literary archives.

Mirabile: Archivio digitale della cultural medievale. Contains searchable indexes for a variety of manuscript catalogs and digitized manuscripts in Italian libraries. Requires a University login.

BeWeB, an online repository which includes listings for manuscripts in Italian ecclesiastical institutions, as well as some digitizations.

Internet Culturale. Contains indexes for digitized manuscripts in Italian libraries as well as catalog entries. Sortable by library as well as searchable.

Biblioteca di Cultura Medievale. Accessed through the Università degli Studi di Firenze (University of Florence): filter for "Fondazione Franceschini" for materials in that collection.

Palermo, F. (1854). I manoscritti Palatini di Firenze : ordinati ed esposti. Dall I.e R. Biblioteca Palatina.

Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana Ditigale.

Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana Digital Repository: contains digitizations of manuscripts across their collections.

Biblioteca Digitale della Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Milan).

Bibliotheca Palatina Digital.

Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence) has links to catalogues for all of their manuscripts: however, most of these are on the Internet Archive.

Biblioteca Nazionale Central di Roma (Rome): Manoscritti Antichi is the repository for the National Library of Italy's digitized manuscripts in their Rome branch.

Newton, F. (1999). The scriptorium and library at Monte Cassino, 1058-1105 . Cambridge University Press.

Digital Vatican Library   The project aims to digitize the entire Library’s collection of manuscripts: 80,000 codices (excluding the archival units) mostly from the Middle Ages and the Humanistic Period.

The Netherlands

Leiden. Universiteit Leiden. Handschriften, archieven en brieven. A collection of the digitized manuscripts by the University of Leiden.

Hague. Koninklijke bibliothek. Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae. Hagae Comitum, 1922.


University of Wroclaw Digital Library.


National Library of Russia Online Manuscript Catalogs. Contains data on the manuscripts in the Saint Petersburg collections.


Universidad de Barcelona. Biblioteca. Inventario general de manuscritos de la Biblioteca universitaria de Barcelona . Madrid, Direcciones generales de enseanza universitaria y de archivos y bibliotecas, Servicio de publicaciones de la Junta ticnica, 1958- . 4v.

Catedral (Cordoba, Spain). Biblioteca. Catalogo de los manuscritos e incunables de la Catedral de Cordoba. Salamanca: Universidad Pontificia [de Salamanca], 1976.

Martin Abad, Julian. Manuscritos de Espana: guma de catalogos impresos. Madrid: Arco Libros, 1989.

Manuscritos de la Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid.

Biblioteca Digital Realm Academia de la Historia. Catalogs for their collection can be found here.


E-Codices, an online database of Swiss manuscripts, searchable by library.

Swisscollection Online Manuscript Search: Contains catalog records and digitized manuscripts from fourteen institutions across Switzerland.

Stiftsbibliothek Sankt Gallen. Verzeichniss der Handschriften der Stiftsbibliothek von St. Gallen. Halle : Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses, 1875.

United Kingdom

Ker, N., Cunningham, I., & Watson, A. (1970). Medieval manuscripts in British libraries . Clarendon Press.

Balliol College, Oxford: Medieval & Early Modern Manuscripts.

Hunt, R., Madan, F., & Record, P. (1895). A summary catalogue of Western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. Clarendon Press.

Bodleian Library's Online Manuscripts: LUNA.

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Medieval Manuscripts in Oxford Libraries. 

British Library Manuscripts Catalogue Online.

British Library. Dept. of Manuscripts. Catalogue of dated and datable manuscripts, c. 700-1600, in the Department of Manuscripts, the British Library. 2v. London : The Library, 1979.

Corpus Christi College Library, University of Cambridge. A descriptive catalogue of the manuscripts in the library of Corpus Christi college, Cambridge. University Press.

Cambridge University Library. A catalogue of the manuscripts preserved in the library of the University of Cambridge. 5v. Cambridge, University Press, 1856-1867. All volumes are available via the Internet Archive.

James, M. (1980). A descriptive catalogue of the Latin manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library. Kraus Reprint.

University of Manchester Manuscript Catalogues.

University of Lincoln Library Special Collections Online Catalogue.

Parker Library Of Corpus Christie College, Cambridge, on the Web. Parker Library on the Web is a multi-year undertaking of Corpus Christi College (Cambridge), the Stanford University Libraries and Cambridge University Library, to produce a high-resolution digital copy of every imageable page of most manuscripts in the library.

Robinson, Pamela. Catalogue of dated and datable manuscripts c. 737-1600 in Cambridge libraries. 2v. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]; Wolfeboro, N.H., USA : D.S. Brewer, 1988.

University of Glasgow. University Collections.

Online Catalogues

  • Catalogue, pp. 1-328. eScholarID:3o980
  • Plates 1-188. eScholarID:3o979

United States

Ricci, S., Wilson, W., Faye, C., & Bond, W. (1936). Census of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada. H.W. Wilson.

Supplement to the census of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada by C.U. Faye and W.H. Bond

Directory of Institutions in the United States and Canada with Pre-1600 Manuscript Holdings by Melissa Conway and Lisa Fagin Davis. The Directory of Institutions is the first part of a continuation of the Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, published in 1935 and 1937, and its 1962 Supplement.


Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Online Catalog.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Catalogue of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. 3v. Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval & renaissance Texts & Studies, 1984- .

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts at Houghton Library-Digital Collections.

The Houghton Library's distinguished collection of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts represents a significant resource for the study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in Western Europe. Assembled through gifts and purchase over the past two centuries, this collection includes works in Latin, Greek, and most of the vernacular languages of Europe that are the primary sources for the study of the literature, art, history, music, philosophy, and theology of the periods.

Houghton Library. Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the Houghton Library, Harvard University. Binghamton, N.Y. : Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1995- .

Huntington Library: Medieval Manuscripts.

Huntington Library and Art Gallery. Guide to medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the Huntington Library. 2v. San Marino, Calif. : The Library, 1989.

Monastic Manuscript Project

The Monastic Manuscript Project is a database of descriptions of manuscripts that contain texts relevant for the study of early medieval monasticism, especially monastic rules, ascetic treatises, vitae patrum-texts and texts related to monastic reforms. We provide lists of manuscripts for each of these texts, which are linked to manuscript descriptions. The purpose is to offer a tool for reconstructing not only the manuscript dissemination of early medieval monastic texts but also to give access to the specific contexts in which a text appears.

Philadelphia Free Library: Medieval Manuscripts.

Digital collections main page for the Philadelphia Free Library's Medieval Manuscripts. Most manuscripts are not fully digitized, but many folios, decorations, or illuminated initials are retrievable.

Schoenberg Institute | Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts.

Guided by the vision of its founder, Lawrence J. Schoenberg, the mission of SIMS at Penn is to bring manuscript culture, modern technology and people together to bring access to and understanding of our intellectual heritage locally and around the world.

Walters Museum of Art: Digital Walters.

This Web site contains complete sets of high-resolution archival images of manuscripts from the collection of the Walters Art Museum, along with machine-readable TEI P5 descriptions and technical metadata, released for free under a Creative Commons CC0 license for anyone who wants to use them.

Virtual Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (vHMML) The Hill Museum and Manuscript Library houses the world's largest collection of images of manuscripts from Europe, Ethiopia, the Middle East, and India. HMML's teams have been photographing manuscripts since 1965. These holdings can be searched through this website.