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Digitising manuscripts

A virtual reading room for medieval manuscripts

There are over 90 public collections in the Netherlands that hold medieval manuscripts, some a few, some hundreds. These include true masterpieces: manuscripts with gold-illuminated miniatures or rare works by ancient poets; Middle Dutch songs full of social criticism or a collection of legal texts in Old Frisian; manuals for falconry or instructions for surgeons or midwives. They tell us stories about our medieval past, not only through the content of the texts, but also through their materiality: from rich, illuminated books to tattered folios full of signs of use, sometimes provided with notes that let us unravel their journey through history.

This beautiful and fascinating heritage, however, is still largely hidden in libraries, archives and museums. With eCodicesNL, we are changing that.

eCodicesNL is a pilot project: a prototype for a virtual library of medieval manuscripts in cooperation with three initial partners: Museum House of the Book in The Hague, Tresoar in Leeuwarden and the Athenaeum Library in Deventer. We photographed manuscripts on location with appropriate equipment and added descriptive metadata in appropriate international standards (IIIF, XML-TEI).

To know more about the background of the project, the principles and guidelines followed, read the texts in the menu above (Introduction, Content, Guidelines).

Here you will find a short video on the process of digitisation: how was it done and how did we handle the precious and unique objects?