The e-codices selection criteria were developed by the 10 largest manuscript libraries, together with the "Codices electronici Confoederationis Helveticae" curatorium and the curatorium for "Katalogisierung der mittelalterlichen und frühneuzeitlichen Handschriften der Schweiz" (Cataloging of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in Switzerland). The selection guidelines jointly approved on 4. March 2010 stipulate that a manuscript must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- The manuscript has a high public profile: it is often requested, the original needs to be protected, and it is clear that making quality reproductions available for use in publications will be worthwhile.
- The manuscript is valuable as a catalyst of cultural identity and as such appeals to a broad audience beyond scholars per se (e.g., political circles or cantonal foundations).
The manuscript is part of a project financed through external grant funding (e.g., the presentation of Greek sources financed by the Greek Stavros Niarchos Foundation).
A manuscript is required by scholars for their own research: the need for reproduction is certain.
The manuscript is of great scientific interest, though little known; digitization can be understood as an invitation to further investigation.
- The manuscript will be used for teaching or other educational purposes.
- The manuscript is difficult to access, for instance, manuscripts from small or from non-public collections.
The manuscript will be the object of an exhibition: the manuscript will be part of a planned exhibition, and the curators are interested in digital presentation as well. A security copy can be made at the same time as reproductions, which can be used for the exhibition catalog.
The manuscript will be restored: when the manuscript is unbound, and the leaves are laid out flat, it is possible to produce a very high quality facsimile with no page-curve distortions.
Creating a facsimile of a manuscript: reproductions created in accordance with e-codices guidelines meet the requirements set by facsimile edition publishers.