We are committed to aggregating and sharing resources for teaching and research on manuscripts, early printed works, archival texts and more. Resources can be filtered by the region, period, core languages they cover, as well as by typology.
The ultimate goal of this project is to create and launch an on-line database on Syriac Christianity that will be updated on a regular basis and available free of charge to the international scholarly community.
This site aggregates images (high resolution and microfilm) of documents found in Sicilian archives, dating from the 11th to the 18th centuries. Documents are organized by archive and not all of them have accompanying information - above all, it is a good source for document images if you already know what you are looking for.
Scanned PDFs of many editions of Arabic manuscripts, especially useful for classical Arabic literature. PDFs are not searchable, unlike Shamila, but this sometimes has better scanned versions of the editions.
The Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library (RBSCDL), established in Fall 2011, provides a platform for Rare Books and Special Collections Library and Archives collection managers to publish born digital and digital surrogates of cultural heritage materials. Resources from the University Archives, Rare and Special Books, Archives and Manuscripts Collections, Oral History Interviews, Regional Architecture Collections, and Photography Collections may be included in the Rare Books and Special Collections Digital Library. Further, the digital library supports collaborative digitization and digital collection projects.
This site aims to be a comprehensive annotated bibliography of open-access resources related to the study of Syriac. The site includes an annotated bibliography, a searchable database of Syriac manuscripts available in digitized form, as well as a table of editions and translations of Syriac texts that are currently in progress.
Historical readers left many traces in the books they owned. Names, notes, marks, and underlining provide unique evidence of how generations of readers used their books. Annotated Books Online gives full open access to these unique copies, focusing on the first three centuries of print. User tools include extensive search, viewing and annotating options.
An initiative of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, contains lesson plans, timelines, and links to primary sources and other resources, broken up by time period and region/country. Heavier on translations and editions.
The BASIRA Project, a digital humanities research effort, explores interconnections of book history and European art during the Renaissance. As a database of visual images, tagged with structured details, the project may be useful for studies of art history, material culture, religious history, printing technology, iconography, and history of literacy.
Beinecke Library’s collections broadly document human expression and lived experience. The digitized holdings include photographs, textual documents, illuminated manuscripts, maps, works of art, and books from the Beinecke's collections.
UC Berkeley’s general subject guide for graduate students or advanced undergraduate students studying pre-1949 China (especially Sinology). Most of these databases require knowledge of Chinese to peruse, and many also require registration and sign-ups.
Bernstein is a website is about paper, paper study, and paper history. It provides various resources in the following areas: historical research of paper in Europe, expertise for paper documents, measurement of structural characteristics of paper, support for the creation of new paper databases, introduction into digital paper studies.
PACSCL (Philadelphia Area Consortious of Special Collections Libraries)’s 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. These images are made freely available for downloading by the page, by the manuscript, or by the collection, under a Creative Commons license for you to reuse in any fashion whatever. The searching and download/access functions are fragmented between 3 different sites but they all live on this master site.
Gallica contains the digitized collections of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and its partners. Online since 1997, it contains millions of high-resolution images of documents, manuscripts, objects, etc.
A fraction of the British Library's collection has been digitized - including a sizeable collection of Hebrew manuscripts, Greek, Thai, Malay and Persian manuscripts and objects, as well as a collection from British India. Some of the collections have their own webpages for a more tailored search experience.
Cambridge University Digital Library (CUDL) is the online home of the digitized collections and research output of the University of Cambridge and affiliated partners. Collections include Hebrew, Arabic, Sanskrit and Latin manuscripts as well as documents and objects.
Cantus is a database of the Latin chants found in manuscripts and early printed books, primarily from medieval Europe. This searchable digital archive holds inventories of antiphoners and breviaries -- the main sources for the music sung in the Latin liturgical Office -- as well as graduals and other sources for music of the Mass.
The Carolingian Canon Law project is a searchable, electronic rendition of works of canon law used by Carolingian readers. This project maps the extent of variation in "standard" legal texts known to Carolingian readers, and identifies particular points of variation. In addition to clarifying the textual history of medieval canon law, the project will provide historical and bibliographic annotation of several hundred canons used by jurists before, during, and after the Carolingian period.
CENOBIUM is a multimedia presentation of Romanesque cloister capitals from the Mediterranean region. High-resolution digital photographs, 3-D models, and panoramas will virtually link the capitals to their original surroundings, thus representing them within their original architectural and conceptual contexts.
Full-text access to all traditional texts from the pre-Han (before AD 220) period up to the Six Dynasties (AD 581). More than 30 million characters. Authoritative editions. Requires university login and knowledge of Chinese (Princeton has access).
The Chinese Rare Book Digital Collection draws from the 5,300 titles of Chinese rare books housed at the Asian Division of the Library of Congress. The initial online presentation includes about 1,000 digitized rare titles, and more will be accessible in following phases. Once complete, the digital collection will comprise nearly 2,000 titles. This new digital collection brings together printed books, manuscripts, Buddhist sutras, works with hand-painted pictures, local gazetteers, and ancient maps. These materials encompass a wide array of disciplines and subjects in classics, history, geography, philosophy, and literature. The majority are editions from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and early Qing dynasty (1644-1795), while nearly 30 titles are Song dynasty (960-1279) and Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) editions.
Codicologia is a website that provides multilingual vocabulary for the description of manuscripts. It intends to offer a working tools for cataloguers of manuscripts, editors of texts and more generally to all those interested in old manuscripts.
L’Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT) focuses on the study of manuscripts and early print works. The majority of texts presented are from the Mediterranean cultural and linguistic milieu and research includes writing supports, text, decoration, paleography, iconography, diffusion and reception. This IRHT's compilation of electronic resources features ways databases for locating and accessing primary sources as well as background information to faciliate further study.
DIAMM (the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music) is a leading resource for the study of medieval manuscripts. We present images and metadata for thousands of manuscripts on this website. We also provide a home for scholarly resources and editions, undertake digital restoration of damaged manuscripts and documents, publish high-quality facsimiles, and offer our expertise as consultants.
A dictionary of 14th and 15th century French, complete with modern French translations, examples of contemporary usage, alternate spelling and etymologies. There is also a database of primary sources, mainly literary texts which are searchable on their own.
Bodleain's formidable collection of millions of manuscripts, maps, and early print books (among other items), over 900,000 of which have been digitized. Some of the items readily available online include Western manuscripts, maps, woodblock prints, music, and the "Oriental collections" (encompassing everything from Arabic to Chinese)
The Digital Dunhuang Project is pursuing overall digitization, including collection, processing and storage of the Dunhuang Grottoes and related cultural relics by using advanced science and technology. It integrates all kinds of data including the photos, videos, 3D data and other literature data into a digital repository of cave cultural relics. Currently, the project offers 360 degree images of some of the caves as well as individual murals.
The DLL Catalog is one of two major research projects of the Digital Latin Library. Its purpose is to build a stable, reliable, openly available resource for finding and using Latin texts of all eras. The DLL's other major project is the Library of Digital Latin Texts (LDLT), which aims to publish new, born-digital critical editions of Latin texts. The DLL Catalog complements the LDLT by providing a tool for identifying and organizing authors, titles, and the many editions and versions currently available on the internet.
The DLME, a collaboration between the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and Stanford Libraries, aggregates, through an ongoing program, digital records of published materials, documents, maps, artifacts, audiovisual recordings, and more from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The DLME currently brings together 127,443 digital records of materials held in museums, libraries, and archives worldwide. It also provides an array of applications, tools, and descriptions that enrich the content and facilitate browsing, search, and interpretation.
The Monumenta Germaniae Historica (MGH) is a comprehensive series of carefully edited and published primary sources, both chronicle and archival, for the study of Northwestern and Central European history from the end of the Roman Empire to 1500. Founded in the 19th century, in 2004 the MGH has made many of its numerous publications available online. There is a beta version of the newest website with word search function.
An independent research library in Chicago, the Newberry builds, preserves, and makes accessible an extensive collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other material spanning more than six centuries. Many of these, especially religious manuscripts and early print works, are digitized and available through their database.
The Digital Scriptorium is a growing consortium of American libraries and museums committed to free online access to their collections of pre-modern manuscripts. The website unites scattered resources from many institutions into a national digital platform for teaching and scholarly research. It serves to connect an international user community to multiple repositories by means of a digital union catalog with sample images and searchable metadata. Note that these are often not fully-digitized collections, but serve more as a detailed catalog of various institutions' holdings. Users can browse by location (of institution) and language of source material.
DigiVatLib is a digital library service. It provides free access to the Vatican Library’s digitized collections: manuscripts, incunabula, archival materials and inventories as well as graphic materials, coins and medals, printed materials (special projects).
Discovering Sacred Texts is a new online learning resource, designed for Religious Education students and teachers as well as lifelong learners. The site allows visitors to explore the world’s major faiths through our collections of sacred texts from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism – as well as a number of other faiths, including the Baha’i Faith, Jainism and Zoroastrianism. The site showcases over 270 digitized collection items, alongside articles written by academics, curators and faith leaders, film content and teachers’ resources.
This project seeks to publish the entire corpus of Norman Sicilian and Southern Italian administrative documents (11th-12th century), including high-resolution images, translations and bibliographical information. There are over 70 documents in the corpus, expected to be published in their entirety by 2022-2023.
A database founded on E. A. Lowe's Codices Latini Antiquiores, focusing on non-documentary texts written before the year 800. All of the manuscripts in Lowe's corpus and its supplements will be found in the database, along with corrections by Lowe and later scholars. In addition to the research tools provided by the catalogue, you will also find collections of manuscripts organised around origin, provenance, script, and text.
Early Printed Books focuses on what was unique about books printed during the hand-press period in the West—those features particular to works printed between 1450, when the printing press began to be developed in Germany, and 1800, when the machine press began to take its place across the Western world. On this site you’ll find images showing details like title pages, woodcuts, signature marks, volvelles and flaps, and more. There are also pedagogical exercises to use in teaching with old books, as well as resources for further study.
University of Chicago’s Center for the Art of East Asia has created an interactive site to simulate the experience of viewing handscrolls in ways that published photographs in books and projected slides cannot and to make them more widely accessible for teaching and research. Handscrolls in general are fragile and seldom available to the public; this site thus provides unique accessibility to an extensive collection.
Includes the digitized microfilm manuscripts from the monasteries on Mt. Athos (collection includes 209 Greek and Georgian manuscripts of the Bible along with some 44 apocryphal writings as well as various documents on Byzantine music and letters, out of over 11,000 total). The collection of microfilm manuscripts from the Greek and Armenian Patrarchates in Jerusalem includes 998 (out of 2400) manuscripts from the Greek Patriarchate and 32 (out of 4,000) manuscripts in the archives of the Armenian Patriarchate as well as over a thousand illuminations. The collection from St. Catherine's on Mount Sinai includes 1,687 out of 3,300 manuscripts and 1,284 illuminations.
The FIHRIST Union Catalogue contains the combined holdings of the contributing libraries of the UK. All participating libraries have been selectively collecting manuscripts from all subject areas, and of various geographical origins, dating from the 7th to the 19th century CE. FIHRIST is a free on-line catalogue for manuscript descriptions and is not a digitial library. When manuscripts are digitized and available online, a link is included in the description.
The site preserves images of all the Genizah fragments accompanied by extensive information : identifications, catalog records, bibliographic data, transcriptions, translations, etc.Cambridge University Digital Library has also digitized a significant portion of their Geniza material (Taylor-Schechter and now the loaned Mosseri collection, and separately, the Lewis-Gibson collection (not all of it Geniza)). Unlike the FJMS, you can download high-resolution images of the Geniza fragments from CUDL.
FROGBEAR is a research and training network aimed at fostering scholarship of East Asian religions through opportunities for field visits, skill building, study, and knowledge sharing. Part of this initiative, the FROGBEAR Database is a public open access database displaying texts, images, videos, and other research content accumulated during the seven-year SSHRC-funded research project on Buddhism and East Asian Religions. The digital materials are stored in an open access digital repository housed at the UBC Library Open Collections, at the University of British Columbia in Canada. This database, as well as each particular item contained within, serve as a unique virtual library for interested scholars, students, and the public to discover connections between seemingly disparate geographical and temporal contexts.
Digitized microfilms of 883 Mamluk-era documents from the Islamic Museum in Jerusalem. Most of the documents concern a fourteenth-century judge named Ibn Ghānim. Genres include estate inventories, court records, contracts, legal acknowledgments (iqrārāt), sworn declarations (qasāmāt) and accounts, as well as petitions and “square decrees” (murabbaʿāt) issued by the army bureau. The cache was discovered in the Islamic Museum in Jerusalem in 1974 and 1976 by its curator, Amal Abul-Hajj, and announced by Abul-Hajj and Linda S. Northrup in a 1979 article in Arabica. The documents were then photographed and catalogued by Donald P. Little, who was a professor of Islamic studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. These are digitized microfilms from Little’s photographs, which the McGill Library made publicly available in 2021.