Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Introducing the virtual library

The monasteries of Reichenau and St. Gall both possessed extensive libraries, which contained books produced in their own scriptoria as well as those acquired elsewhere. Many of these books survive to this day. Since the first half of the ninth century, the librarians at Reichenau and St. Gall kept records of the books owned by the monasteries. The manuscripts collected here are intended to be a virtual presentation of the two monasteries’ libraries as they were in the ninth century. These manuscripts give us a window into the intellectual context that inspired the creation of the Plan and informed the monastic tradition visible in the Plan.

In addition to images of each manuscript, we intend to provide a table of contents, a codicological description and further bibliography on the manuscripts and their contents via links to the International Medieval Bibliography and the Lexikon des Mittelalters (n.b.: these are external sites with subscription requirements). For some manuscripts, a standard edition text for a work within the codex has been provided, and for a small portion, there are also English translations. Please note that in most instances these are not transcriptions of the manuscript. A limited search function is available via the UCLA Digital Library's interface.

The virtual library currently includes forty manuscripts, and by June 2012 will contain 168 manuscripts. The process of expansion begins with the publication of images of the manuscripts, and is followed by adding the table of contents for each manuscript and a codiocological description. Manuscripts that are already accompanied by this additional information are indicated with an asterisk next to their shelfmark in the drop-down menus. We shall also be adding a series of virtual tours of the library, which will highlight groups of manuscripts, which together provide insight into the life of the monasteries of Reichenau and St. Gall as well as the Carolingian world that sustained them.

This blog is intended to assist users in following the development of the project, both in terms of content and function. Please check back regularly for updates and do not hesitate to contact us with questions, comments, and suggestions.

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