A new e-codices experience!

great quality of the digitized manuscripts on e-codices

Yesterday we showed you how the Utrecht Library is brilliantly promoting a manuscript of great importance in the Netherlands. Today we are bringing your attention to how Switzerland is skillfully managing the digitization of all its collections on e-codices.

You are probably aware of e-codices already:

e-codices offers free online access to medieval and early modern manuscripts from public and church-owned collections as well as from numerous private collections.

It currently allows access to 1189 digitized manuscripts (many more being added soon!) and it has always had a pleasing interface to go with it.

The new e-codices interface, with Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. 3
The new e-codices interface, with Bern, Burgerbibliothek, Cod. 3

The new e-codices

Recently e-codices has updated this interface with what we believe to be even a better one: a clean page with all the information one would wish from a digitized manuscript (TEI-P5 metadata), along with a large preview image of the book, is presented to the user; all on a responsive design that adapts to tablets, phones and desktop monitors.

There is a new viewer based on OpenSeadragon and SharedCanvas is being used to unite dispersed manuscripts.

A new side bar is also in place, which can be shown or hidden, and it displays the metadata and basic information about each manuscript.

To finish up: Search has been improved even further, and there have been improvements also on the back-end of things.

great quality of the digitized manuscripts on e-codices
An example of the exquisite details you can explore, thanks to the great quality of the digitized manuscripts on e-codices. (St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek / Cod. Sang. 53)

I can’t but urge you all to go and visit (and enjoy) this beautiful site. It is done with a lot of love and passion, and it really shines through

You can obviously access all the libraries from e-codices via the DMMapp.

Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Rh. 167
Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, Ms. Rh. 167

15 New Libraries in the DMMapp

Quaestiones super libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi


June has been a productive month for the DMMmaps project: we were at the DH Benelux Conference in The Hague, Netherlands, presenting this project, but we have also received many new links to that were added to the database. So, without further ado, let’s present the additions:

The New Libraries

Eesti Ajaloomuuseum – Estonian History Museum

Charter from Pope Innocent IV
AM.115.1.1 – Charter from Pope Innocent IV

The first of three libraries under the same website. 39 digitized medieval material dating from 1247 until 1500. Mostly documents and charters. Title of the texts are in Estonian or German.

Estonian Historical Archives

Medieval Forgery
EAA.854.2.352 – Poor Latin and a bad seal. A forgery from the 13th century.

366 digitized objects in this library. Same site as above, but different institution. An as above, also here you can find a plethora of documents, charters, testaments, memorandum, etc. The titles are in German (mostly), Latvian, and Russian.

Tallinn City Archives

King of Denmark Seal
Christoph I, King of Denmark, granted to all who wish to settle in Reval, the use of Liibeck law.

Part three of the same website as above. Once again: mostly charters and other documents. This time: 812 of them! Dating from the 9th CE on.

Bibliotheek Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

The Groningen-Zutphen Maerlant Manuscript
The Groningen-Zutphen Maerlant Manuscript

Fine addition from the Netherlands: the Bibliotheek Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and its 34 digitized manuscripts (quite some post-medieval, though).

Oberösterreichische Landesbibliothek

Hs.-415 Evangeliarium saec. XII
Hs.-415, Evangeliarium, saec. XII

Great addition from Austria: 229 manuscripts dating from the 9th century on. Really worth exploring. Just look at the cover of this Evangeliary (not sure when it was made. I sense a later addition!)

Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians

Heraldic decoration
DA II 28 – Heraldic decoration.

Manoscriptorium is home to thousands of manuscripts from so many different institutions. The problem is: it is difficult to sort them out and link to an individual library. This time we received a link to the manuscripts of the Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians:

Four manuscripts of the Royal Canonry of Premonstratensians at Strahov have been digitized. The earliest of them is a collection of the works of St John Cassian, written in the monastery of Hradisko near Olomouc in the 1130s–40s (DA III 25). The collection DA IV 42 comes from the library of the monastery in Weissenau. The Bible DA IV 22 was made in the Czech lands. Salzburg seems to be the place of origin of the catalogue of the local bishops and archbishops (DA II 28) created after 1615, which is complemented by their coats of arms.

LMU University Library

Cod ms 179 – Pseudo-Alcuinus from 1050

16 manuscripts from Germany, from the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich. 2 are medieval, the rest are from the 1600’s until the 1800’s.

Biblioteca civica Cristoforo Sabbadino

The next three libraries are all from Italy, digitized under the same project. The Biblioteca civica Cristoforo Sabbadino is home to two digitized manuscripts. Not the highest quality in digitizing, but the project does something in the sad Italian digitizing panorama.

Biblioteca del Museo Correr

Biblioteca del Museo Correr, in Venice, is home to four digitized manuscripts.

Biblioteca Capitolare

Eight manuscripts from the Biblioteca Capitolare

Library of Congress, Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection

De re militari
A machine from De re militari

Nine digitized manuscripts:

The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection stands out among the distinguished resources of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. Taking the illustrated book as its central theme and containing books from the last six centuries and manuscripts from the three preceding.

Augustiner-Chorherrenstift, Bibliothek

Antiphonals, antiphonals everywhere! The link leads to a page where you can find hundreds of other musical manuscripts from various other institutions!

Castello del Buonconsiglio

Back to Italy, with seven manuscripts for the medieval music fans.

Stiftsbibliothek Kremsmünster

One manuscript: from northern Italy (about 1410-1415) with 16 sheets. The website is so Web 1.0 that it almost made me feel nostalgic. But it works, and the manuscript is beautiful!

Biblioteka Uniwersytecka w Toruniu

Quaestiones super libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi
Quaestiones super libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi – Abacuk

Last, but not at all least! The University Library of Toruń, like most of the Polish repositories, uses the DjVu plugin to display manuscripts; a plugin that in at least 75% of the case will fail to load on your PC. If you have the patience to make it work, you will be rewarded with 19 medieval manuscripts!

Digital Library of Spain and the Biblioteca Nacional de España

digital library of spain


Yesterday we wrote about a beautiful manuscript on the Sexy Codicology blog. Today, we give a look at the repository where we found that pearl: the Digital Library of Spain (access it here).

As understandable, the Digital Library of Spain is the digital library of the Biblioteca Nacional de España. It aims to give free access to thousands of digitized documents: books from the 15th to the 19th century, manuscripts, drawings, engravings, pamphlets, posters, photographs, maps, atlases, music scores, historic newspapers and magazines and audio recordings.

It was created in 2008 and back then the Digital Library of Spain had around 10,000 works which were selected by experts in different subjects as a cross-section of the bibliographic and documentary heritage of the Biblioteca Nacional de España. Today it comprises more than 134,000 works on all topics in all documentary forms, freely accessible from anywhere in the world.

Image Quality of the Manuscripts in the Digital Library of Spain

The images are perfectly digitized and in high-resolution. Colors are well-balanced, although, in rare cases, it is possible to notice some discrepancies in color tones and saturation between two consequent folia.

The Digital Library of Spain has decided to present their manuscripts in the form of PDFs, embedded directly on the website. It is possible to download each individual folio as PDF, or download the manuscript in the same format. This is a perfectly fine and easy-to-implement solution, but it has its drawbacks. For example, it is difficult to share the beautiful images of  illuminated manuscripts on social media, or embed them on a website; to add the images that you see in this post, I had to use the ancient art of the Screenshot, followed by the mysterious cropping technique. According to me this is always a big problem for digital libraries: It has been said thousands of times: today, images are king on the internet; allowing to share images of manuscripts quickly on social media, or allowing embedding of these, would greatly boost the number of visits to digital repositories.

The Digital Library of Spain’s Copyright

Digital Library of Spain does not use Creative Commons, or clearly show the copyright with which images are protected. The only note I could find is the following:

Uso de las imágenes

Puede descargar las imágenes que sean de dominio público si son para uso privado o personal.

Roughly translated as:

Using the Images

You can download the images that are Public domain for private or personal use.

Which, legally talking, is a contradiction in terms: if it’s Public Domain, I can do whatever I please with an image; if I cannot do everything, then the images are not in the Public Domain, but are copyrighted. Once again, according to how things are explained on the Digital Library of Spain’s  website, posting images of the manuscripts on this blog would be illegal.

Enjoy these leaves nonetheless. Clicking on them will lead you to the whole digitized manuscript. Then go discover many other from other institutions through our app!

Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France
Full page miniature from the Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France – The Virgin Mary
Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France
Full page miniature from the Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France – Charles VIII
Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Miniature from the Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Miniature from the Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Miniature from the Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Incipit folio from the Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Incipit folio from the Poetic Works by Francesco Petrarca
Liber de laudibus Sanctae Crucis
Liber de laudibus Sanctae Crucis
Liber de laudibus Sanctae Crucis
Liber de laudibus Sanctae Crucis
Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France
Full page miniature from the Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France
Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France
Full page miniature from the Book of Hours of Charles VIII, King of France
Beato de Liébana : códice de Fernando I y Dña. Sancha
Beato de Liébana : códice de Fernando I y Dña. Sancha
Beato de Liébana : códice de Fernando I y Dña. Sancha
Beato de Liébana : códice de Fernando I y Dña. Sancha

Hochschul und Landesbibliothek Fulda

Today we will be looking at the digitized medieval manuscripts from the Hochschul- und Landesbibliothek Fulda (University and State Library of Fulda). You can access them here.

A Little History of the Manuscripts in the Hochschul und Landesbibliothek Fulda

Fulda was home to a Benedictine abbey founded in 744 by Saint Sturmi, a disciple of Saint Boniface. In the 8th and the 9th century, the monastery was a prominent center culture in Germany, and, being  the burial-place of Boniface, it also became a site of religious significance and pilgrimage. Fulda grew, and in the 18th century it became a diocese. At its height, the abbey library was home to around 2000 manuscripts and was home to works such as Tacitus’ Annales, Ammianus Marcellinus’ Res gestae, and the Codex Fuldensis, cradle of Old High German literature. The abundant records of such an important abbey are conserved in the state archives at Marburg (Also accessible through the DMMmaps, click here).

Sadly, as of 2013 the Fulda manuscripts have become widely dispersed; some have found their way to the Vatican library (also on the DMMmaps. They changed their web-address which we updated.) Others are still here at the Hochschul und Landesbibliothek Fulda.

Browsing the Medieval Manuscripts

There are exactly 100 digitized manuscripts available on the website.

We are highliting the following:

  • 100 Bonifatianus 3 (Cadmug-Codex) – Cadmug is the name of the Irish scribe that wrote the manuscript during the second half of the 8th Century.
  • 100 Bonifatianus 1 (Victor-Codex) – Also known as Codex Fuldensis, dating back to the 6th century. considered the second most important witness to the Vulgate text.
  • 100 Aa 124 – A Dutch Book of Hours from the 15th Century.
  • 100 D 11 – Weingartner Welfenchronik
  • 100 Aa 86 – Flemish Book of Hours from the 1500’s, with a beautiful cover.

The Hochschul und Landesbibliothek Fulda‘s website has the possibility to display a whole manuscript’s thumbnails, offering a nice overview. This is something that is always very welcome, since they quickly display the content of a manuscript. The thumbnails are limited to ten per page and the number cannot be modified; this is a bit limiting, especially considering contemporary web design standards. Endless scrolling with lazy-loading would be a nice improvement, allowing the visitor to view the manuscript in one go, without having to load ten different pages.
It is possible to download high-resolution images (although, to do this you have to go Into DFG viewer. A link on the left column is offered next to each image or manuscript). It is also possible to view them full-screen within the website. In full-screen mode you can zoom in and appreciate the smallest details of a manuscript. At the highest resolutions the images lack some sharpness though.

The website navigation is fairly easy and straightforward. What is missing on the front page where the digitized manuscripts are presented is the date in which the manuscripts were created, and the place of origin. At the moment the website only shows the shelfmark and the title.
Something that would also be very useful for the user is a sort of the preview available directly on this front page: by hovering on top of the manuscript’s presentation image, it would be useful if a series of previews would be loaded and presented right away, to see the contents of the manuscripts right away without the user having to click on the image and then click on thumbnail preview. In general it would speed up the browsing and the general experience.

On a more technical note, the Hochschul und Landesbibliothek Fulda website loads very fast, and so do the images. The website makes use of Permalink, allowing easy linking to the images and easing the possibility to find a digitized manuscript in the future.

Image Quality of the Digitized Books

The quality of the images is very high; they are sharp and the colors are well-balanced, although I notice a slight tendency towards green in many of the images. You can download images at a resolution of around  x 1500 px. Quite a high-resolution, but still far away from the 3000 px x 4000 px of the Getty Museum of the Walters.


There is no copyright notice available on the website; because of this we have to consider all the images protected by the strict ‘All Rights Reserved’ copyright. This clearly limits the possibilities of use given by the digitized images (we are technically violating the law by publishing images here on the DMMmaps blog, for example). Usually digitization projects in Germany (i.e. The Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum) have Creative Commons copyright that allows the free use of the manuscripts, but in this case it is not there. We like to believe that this copyright notice was not inserted just because it was forgotten by the webmaster (probably not, but we like to dream).

Final Thoughts

The Hochschul und Landesbibliothek Fulda‘s website hosts some extremely beautiful digitized manuscripts. It is a small paradise, especially if you can appreciate palaeography and philology. We have made a brief collection here but there are many more to be found and explored on the website. Go and explore!

Trinity College, Cambridge

Medieval Manuscripts from Trinity College, Cambridge

A couple of days ago I received an email from Cambridge Trinity College. I was kindly asked if it was possible to update the link to their digitized medieval manuscripts on the DMMmaps. The email mentioned that they have “been hard at work updating and making it look prettier”. Moved by curiosity, I went to give a look and updated the link.

[aio_button align=”center” animation=”none” color=”blue” size=”small” icon=”book” text=”Visit this Digital Library” relationship=”dofollow” url=”http://sites.trin.cam.ac.uk/james/browse.php?show=virtual_listing”]

Trinity College in Cambridge goes Mobile

As soon as I landed on the page I recognized Bootstrap (basically: a set of code rules that dictate how webpages look on devices with different screen sizes). Wonderful. This is one of the first websites home to digitized medieval manuscripts that is mobile friendly. Personally I am one of those people who like to sit on the couch with his tablet and browse through medieval manuscripts. Too bad this experience is often impossible due to pages displaying badly on my device. Trinity College takes the first steps in the right direction to solve this issue.

Trinity College’s Digitized Medieval Manuscripts

Trinity College is home to 150 digitized medieval manuscripts. I asked which ones I should highlight since I would post them all. This is what is recommended:

Image Quality and Browsing Experience

Browsing the manuscripts from Trinity College is a pleasant experience. The quality of the images is very high, and there is the possibility to zoom in easily into details by simply scrolling with the mouse wheel.  This really speeds up analyzing the small details in a manuscript (See the detail of the initial Q above, for example). The negative note is that you cannot download the whole page on your computer. The images in this post were created with the ancient art of screen-shooting and cropping in Photoshop. This is quite far from ideal, especially if you need to analyze a particular folio, but you are unable to connect to internet ( The Getty Museum is awesome from this point of view.)


Well, here at Sexy Codicology we are big fans of Creative Commons, Open Content, etc. Unfortunately, the images from the Trinity College are shared under the following copyright:

“Copyright of the Master and Fellows, Trinity College, Cambridge.”

We would love to make videos in which we can highlight details from these sensational manuscripts, but, alas, with such copyright, we cannot. Technically speaking, no one would be allowed to publish Trinity College’s images of digitized manuscripts on the web either with this copyright. Maybe a Attribution-NonCommercial copyright from Creative Commons would help, allowing people like us to create products that drive visitors and users to the website where the source is located. Imagine the Trinity Apocalypse with Verdi’s Dies Irae.

But, this is just my opinion of course. Who knows… Maybe one day!

Final Thoughts

The Trinity College’s collection of medieval manuscripts is sensational; and it is fantastic that these manuscripts are available for everyone to look at and study over the internet. I am really pleased to finally see a mobile friendly website for digitized medieval manuscripts too. This definitely sets an example for other institutions. Too bad for the copyrights restrictions and the impossibility to download the images, but these are minor aspects that affect only a few people.

It is definitely worth visiting the renewed page and spend hours discovering all the manuscripts. Once you have done that, head back to the DMMapp, and have fun discovering another library, of course!

Which is you favorite manuscript from this institution? Let us know in the comment section below!