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e-codices newsletter

The e-codices newsletter provides information about the latest updates, highlights, and activities of our project and appears about 4-5 times per year.
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The e-codices team

In this issue
  1. Why all medieval manuscripts should be systematically digitized
  2. 600 manuscripts from the Abbey Library — On the right path
  3. Two books of hours for Charles VIII
  4. Two new collections
  5. Basel manuscripts in the public domain
October 2016

Issue N° 25
Why all medieval manuscripts should be systematically digitized
Only a small part of medieval manuscripts is currently the subject of research, mostly due to the fact that manuscript research remains primarily devoted to “close reading.” Numerous scholars devote their entire lives to a single book. Were one to proceed based on the current need of researchers, then the digitization of 20% to 30% of these manuscripts should suffice. This could change if the majority or — if possible — almost all of the European medieval manuscripts were digitally edited. The publication of entire manuscript collections would allow us to ask new questions with regard to the study of provenance and the migration of manuscripts, to studies of successful book production such as of books of hours or pocket bibles, to automated image analysis of hundreds of thousands or even millions of manuscript pages, or to all kinds of statistical studies. In order to fundamentally reform manuscript research in the digital age and to develop innovative new methods of inquiry, we must strive to systematically digitize most — if possible, all — manuscripts. Since 2005, e-codices has been advancing towards this goal step by step: currently 1605 manuscripts from 69 collections are accessible online.
600 manuscripts from the Abbey Library — On the right path
With this update, more than half of the Abbey Library’s medieval manuscripts have been made available online. We hope that in the coming years, the continuing support of the SUK-P2 program will make it possible for us to continue to digitally edit about 30 manuscripts per year.
Abbey Librarian Dr. Cornel Dora writes about the significance of the digital Abbey Library: "Eleven years ago, e-codices began as a pilot project for the digitization of Swiss manuscripts. This created an attractive new reading room that has invigorated research and teaching, and for which we are the envy of the world. Little by little we will make our entire manuscript collection available on e-codices and thus will further contribute to and optimize the associated research. I am delighted and proud that the Abbey Library of St. Gall, probably the most significant historical library in Switzerland, recognized its responsibility in this regard through active participation, by being part of this project from the very start."