About the Project

Navigating the network of connections between people, institutions and places within European Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts

Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are much-studied and much-loved witnesses to the life and culture of pre-modern Europe. Their rarity and beauty place them among the greatest treasures of museums, libraries and galleries today and they also provide crucial evidence for research in disciplines such as textual and literary studies, palaeography, history, cultural heritage and fine arts.

As the result of changes in ownership over the centuries, European manuscripts are now spread all over the world in diverse library, museum and gallery collections. Information relating to their often complicated histories is dispersed and fragmented across numerous sources, compelling historians and other researchers to make painstaking and time-consuming searches of printed and online catalogues.

The Mapping Manuscript Migrations project will bring together more than 500,000 records from key databases, including the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania, the Medieval Manuscripts Catalogue at the University of Oxford, and the Bibale and Medium databases from the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes. For the first time, researchers, curators and the community will be able to explore this vast body of data, visualizing the travels of manuscripts over many centuries and navigating the network of connections between people, institutions and places involved in their history.

Mapping Manuscript Migrations is a two-year collaboration between the Oxford e-Research Centre, the Bodleian Libraries, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (Paris), and the Semantic Computing Group at Aalto University, Helsinki. The project builds on a strong framework of existing collaborations between the partner institutions.

Mapping Manuscript Migrations is funded by the Trans-Atlantic Platform under Round 4 of the Digging into Data Challenge.