Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bodleian Library announces the release of the online collection of Medieval Manuscripts and Early Printed Books

Medieval Manuscripts Uploaded Into The 21st Century
6 June 2008
M2 Presswire

The Bodleian Library announces the release of the online collection of Medieval Manuscripts and Early Printed Books. Started in 2005, the digitization initiative is a collaboration between the Bodleian Library and the non-profit organization, ARTstor.

Including a large proportion of the illuminated manuscript leaves from Bodleian manuscripts through the 16th century, as well as selected 19th and 20th- century manuscripts in the medieval tradition, the entire digital collection consists of 25,000 high-quality images. The project also includes a selection of significant bindings, illuminated initials, and text pages.

With about 10,000 volumes, the Bodleian Library's Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts has one of the greatest collections of western medieval manuscripts in the world. The online collection will feature well-known works such as the Romance of Alexander, the Ormesby Psalter and the Ashmole Bestiary.

Richard Ovenden, Keeper of Special Collections and Associate Director, Bodleian Library, said: The Bodleian Library is delighted to add this important new online resource to its growing digital collections. As a result of our collaboration with ARTstor, this remarkable electronic archive will become an essential online tool, accessible worldwide, for medievalists, art historians and scholars in related disciplines.'

James Shulman, ARTstor's Executive Director, said: "The Bodleian Library's medieval and renaissance manuscript collections are legendary. We at ARTstor are delighted to help make their artistic content more readily available to scholars, teachers and students."

Founded in 1602, the Bodleian Library is home to over 8 million volumes and a large number of manuscripts and rare printed books. It is the largest university library in Britain and the second largest library in the UK. More information about the Bodleian Library and its activities can be found at

ARTstor is a non-profit organization which aims to develop a rich digital library that will offer coherent collections of art images and descriptive information as well as the software tools to enable active use of the collections. The ARTstor Library's initial content includes approximately 500,000 images covering art, architecture and archaeology. This community resource will be made available solely for educational and scholarly uses that are non-commercial in nature. More information can be found at

The collection is also gradually being made available free of charge on the Library's own site at