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April 2013, Issue N° 10 
inside 01. inside New manuscripts
inside 02. inside Call for collaboration
inside 03. inside Armenian manuscripts
inside 04. inside Gallica and TEL
e-codices newsletter

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 7, p. 1r (detail) – Genus Arati

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

We are delighted to count you among our readers!

The e-codices team
April 2013

New manuscripts

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 125, p. 1r – Ovid, Metamorphoses

The newest e-codices update makes available 20 more manuscripts. Among these are documents from various Swiss libraries, including eight from the Abbey Library of Einsiedeln and five from the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Cologny. Most of the latter mansucripts were digitized as part of preparations for the upcoming temporary exhibition „Le lecteur à l’oeuvre“ [The reader at work] (from 27 April until 25 August 2013). Cod. 125 contains a 14th century Italian copy of Ovid’s „Metamorphoses“ with numerous annotations by 14th and 15th century readers. Cod. 100 contains Justinian’s Digests in a 14th century pecia manuscript from Bologna along with the „Glossa ordinaria“ by Accursius and numerous marginal notes and interlinear glosses about the text and the commentary.

Call for collaboration


Genève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 190/1, p. 10r (detail) – Giovanni Boccaccio, Des cas des nobles hommes et femmes

In mid-January 2013, e-codices published its second ‘Call for Collaboration.’ This call, published jointly with our Swiss partner libraries, once more invited scholars to suggest Swiss manuscripts for digitization. As with the first such call, interest among international manuscript researchers was impressive; in fact, considerably more applications were submitted this time than for the first call in June 2009. The number of researchers who submitted proposals rose from 33 to 55. Many researchers suggested several manuscripts at once, so that we received no fewer than 134 individual proposals. Three years ago, the total number of proposals was 97.

The objective of the call for collaboration is to enhance the scientific profile of e-codices as a digital manuscript library through scholarly cooperation.

Such a call can also demonstrate e-codices’ recognition within the scientific community and the demand from scholars. The demand can indicate which manuscripts researchers would like to have made accessible on e-codices. Finally, we are also interested in where researchers are from (Switzerland, Europe, overseas) and in which professional disciplines they are active. Furthermore, it is instructive to know whether researchers are truly interested in direct collaboration and would be willing to voluntarily make a scientific contribution, or whether they would only want to consult a virtual manuscript library as a user.

As expected, the sample was very international. Altogether, researchers came from 15 nations: Switzerland (14), Germany (8), USA (8), France (5), Italy (4), United Kingdom (3), Australia (2), Ireland (2), and one researcher each from Israel, Sweden, Russia, Austria, Poland, Croatia and Norway.

The researchers come from a wide variety of disciplines. Among them are numerous medieval historians (8), German scholars (7), classicists (6), art historians (4) and scholars of the history of philosophy (4). Also represented are the fields of Romance Philosophy (3), Medieval Latin (3), History of Medicine (2), History of Law (2), Liturgical Science (2), Musicology (1), English Literature and Philology (1), Genealogy (1), History of Theater (1), Auxiliary Sciences of History (1), Indo-Germanic Studies (1), Oriental Studies (1), Celtic Studies (1), New Latin (1), Hebrew Studies (1), and Digital Humanities (1).

Most proposals pertain to manuscripts from large and important manuscript collections, such as the Burgerbibliothek of Berne, the University Library of Basel, the Zurich Central Library, and the Abbey Library of Einsiedeln. Proposals for manuscripts from the Abbey Library of St. Gall, the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Cologny, the Library of Geneva, or the Abbey Library of Engelberg have declined sharply compared to the last call, since by now a large part of the collection has been made digitally accessible on e-codices. Altogether manuscripts from 22 collections were recommended, among these also several Swiss manuscripts which today are held in foreign libraries, as well as a newly discovered and previously completely unknown manuscript from a private collection in Geneva.

The second call for collaboration clearly shows that e-codices is widely recognized in the international research community and that numerous well-known researchers are willing to provide scientific contributions.

Access to two Armenian manuscripts from a private collector

Utopia, armarium codicum bibliophilorum, Cod. 4, p. 1r – Armenian Hymnarium (Sharaknots)

In June of last year, our collection „Utopia, armarium codicum bibliophilorum“ was enriched by the addition of an Armenian manuscript from a private collector. As a first step, digital copies of the document, along with basic metadata, were provided on e-codices. Based on these digital copies, Davit Ghazaryan, specialist in Armenian manuscripts and curator of the manuscript depository of the Mashtots-Matenadaran Institute in Yerevan, prepared a scholarly description, which can now be viewed in English on e-codices. The Armenian version is available as a PDF document. The same procedure is planned for a second manuscript from the same private collection. The current update makes available another Sharaknots, an Armenian hymnal, together with its basic metadata; soon a thorough scholarly description of the manuscript, again by Davit Ghazaryan, will also be available.

We would like to thank all involved for their excellent and stimulating collaboration!

Gallica and TEL (The European Library)

Since November 2011, e-codices has been offering an OAI-interface, through which metadata for all manuscripts provided by e-codices are released for free use. This offer is not subject to any copyright and is always up to date. Since its introduction, three portals have already made use of the interface and have harvested metadata about all our manuscripts (the „Plateforme Isidore,“ a project of Adonis of the CNRS; the Czech National Library’s „manuscriptorium“; and „e-lib.ch“ of the ETH-Library in Zurich). This year, two more portals have been added. The data transfer to „Gallica“ was especially successful and professional. The transfer took place without previous arrangements. On March 6, e-codices registered its first visitor via Gallica. Since then, the number of visitors has continually grown, and the number of visitors to e-codices has increased by more than 3%.

Another library portal that has also been harvesting e-codices metadata since March 2013 is “The European Library.“ TEL is an internet service of 48 national libraries; it is financed by the Conference of European National Librarians. Via TEL, e-codices’ metadata and previews will also be provided to „Europeana.“