Friday, May 9, 2008

Monastic Libraries

Manuscripts were often written by monks or nuns in scriptoria (the plural of “scriptorium”), and it is no surprise that many manuscripts were kept in monastic libraries. Monastic libraries still hold a great deal of the world’s medieval manuscripts today, and here are some of them that have digitised parts of their collections.

Hill Museum & Monastic Library (HMML)
This library holds a variety of texts from numerous cultures and has placed selected images from many of them online. Their much greater physical collection is represented by descriptions, and opportunities for study at their location.

Abbatiale de Saint-Sever
This abbey provides part of a very unique manuscript to the public, the Beatus of Saint-Sever. In this manuscript are copies of the four gospels, the genealogy of Christ, the book of John’s revelations, and the book of Daniel, as well as a commentary on the book of revelations. Presented online are the 140 miniatures and the complete texts of the books of John and Daniel.

The Treasures of the Vatican Library
The Vatican Library houses a number of archives and museum sections, which put only part of their collection online but welcome researchers from all over the world. Unfortunately, the library will be closed from 2007-2010 because of construction being completed on the building in which it is housed.

Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen
This library in Switzerland houses the Codices Electronici Sangallenses, which is an enormous collection of manuscripts placed mostly full-text online with descriptions, but no annotations or transcriptions. High-resolution images are available.

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