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April 2014, Issue N° 14 
inside 01. inside New Update
inside 02. inside New sub-project: The Autographs of J.-J. Rousseau
inside 03. inside New collection: Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum
inside 04. inside Manuscripts from Disentis Abbey
e-codices Newsletter

Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 7, f. 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 2014

New Update - More than just uploading

Genève, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 170, f. 1r – Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Livre de l’art de chasser au moyen des oiseaux

With this new update, a total of 59 new manuscripts from 15 collections will be made accessible online. The many thousands of visitors who will consult these manuscripts in the coming days may not be aware of what it takes to prepare such an update.
Most of the manuscripts were digitized at one of our two digitization centers at the Abbey Library of St. Gall or at the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Cologny near Geneva. However, digital reproduction is only a small part of what we do: in fact, our experience has shown that it makes up only about one third of the work of the e-codices team. In addition, the web application is constantly revised and improved, new descriptions are written and existing ones edited and prepared for online presentation. The remainder of the work falls to project management, administrative tasks, fundraising, reporting, systems administration, and archiving. The actual amount of work is difficult to calculate since, in addition to the e-codices staff of 10 (at about 5.0 FTE), considerable contributions are made by many libraries and scholars.
We have been working on this update for a while, definitely for longer than since the update of December 2013, since we collaborated with no fewer than 14 partner libraries as well as a new collection. Arranging for digitization, transport, insurance, contracts, contacts with libraries, contacts with scholars - all this can take months.
Manuscript descriptions have always been at the core of e-codices. For the 59 new manuscripts in this update, we were able to use many printed descriptions; however, the Swiss manuscript collections and e-codices supervise no fewer than 24 descriptions. The majority of these descriptions was written by the libraries. Through cooperation with individual scholars, it was possible to draw up new scientific descriptions for eight manuscripts. This came about as a result of our “Call for collaboration.” This initiative allows scholars to propose Swiss manuscripts for digitization and to cooperate with the Swiss manuscript libraries and with e-codices. This type of collaboration led to the new descriptions by Álvaro Cancela (Madrid), Aidan Conti (Bergen, Norway), Richard Fasching (Bern) and Balázs J. Nemes (Freiburg, Germany); Pierre Chambert-Protat (Paris), Charlotte Denoël (Paris) and Gerald Schwedler (Zürich) in cooperation with Florian Mittenhuber (Bern).
Believe it or not, but such an undertaking does not succeed without certain administrative effort, since the next update as well as the one following that have to be put on track, and proposals out to 2020 have to be considered, so that we will not run out of work in the future.

New sub-project: The Autographs of J.-J. Rousseau

Neuchâtel, Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Neuchâtel, Ms. R 55, f. 14r - J.-J. Rousseau, Dictionnaire de musique

Indisputably, modern Switzerland’s most famous philosopher is Jean-Jacques Rousseau from Geneva. His autographs have been amply preserved and are held primarily in the Bibliothèque publique et universitaire in Neuchâtel, the Bibliothèque de Genève or the Bibliothèque nationale de France. This new sub-project will begin with two autographs which today are in Neuchâtel: Les Rêveries du promeneur solitaire and the Dictionnaire de musique. Further autographs of world literature will follow, as well as Rousseau’s cahiers.

New collection: Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum (Swiss National Museum)

Zürich, Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum, SH 228, f. 59 – The Housebook of the Lords of Hallwil

Our newest collection is a museum, the Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum (Swiss National Museum). This small collection contains several manuscripts that will be made accessible via e-codices in the next updates. As a start, we have the following four manuscripts:

  • The Rituale of Münsterlingen, Zurich, Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum, LM 2799, Konstanz 1487.
  • Portraits of the Habsburg Family and of Knights killed in the Battle of Sempach (1386), Zurich, Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum, LM 22737, around 1560.
  • Letter of Protection, Zurich, Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum, LM 24097, 14th century.
  • The Housebook of the Lords of Hallwil, Zurich, Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum, SH 228, second half of the 16th century.

Manuscripts from Disentis Abbey

Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. 152(309), p. 2 – Gregorius Magnus, Moralia in Job

This year, Disentis Abbey is celebrating its 1400th year. Even if its founding in the year 614 cannot be historically proven, Disentis is regarded as one of the oldest continually-operated Benedictine monasteries in the world. The old library with its medieval manuscripts was destroyed by a devastating fire on May 6, 1799, during the battles between France and Austria in the War of the Second Coalition (1799-1801). A few manuscripts survived because they had been lent out. Four manuscripts probably from Disentis can now be viewed on e-codices: three Carolingian manuscripts from the 9th century, today held at Einsiedeln Abbey, and a 12th century manuscript that today is part of the Abbey Library of St. Gall.

  • Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. 264(731): Clemens , Recognitiones, 9th century (about midcentury).
  • St. Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 403: 12th Century Breviary from the monastery of Disentis.
  • Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. 126(218): Hieronymus, Expositio in Evangelium Matthaei, first third of the 9th century.
  • Einsiedeln, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. 152(309): Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, first third of the 9th century.