Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts

The Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM) is an online, user-maintained, open-access, collaborative research tool for finding and indexing the world’s manuscripts. Its purpose is to facilitate research for scholars, collectors, and others interested in manuscript studies and the provenance of these unique books.


OPenn contains complete sets of high-resolution archival images of cultural heritage material from the collections of its contributing institutions, along with machine-readable descriptive and technical metadata. OPenn’s digital datasets consist of master TIFF files, web JPEG images, thumbnail images, and XML manuscript descriptions. All data sets are available as free cultural works and as such are released into the public domain or under Creative Commons CC0, CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA licenses. These licensing structures permit users to have unmediated access to any data we provide, from a single image to the entire data set.

Digital Scriptorium 2.0

Digital Scriptorium is a growing consortium of American libraries and museums committed to free online access to their collections of pre-modern manuscripts. The current project is the technical rebuilding of the Digital Scriptorium online union catalog and an expansion in the breadth and diversity of participating collections to include pre-modern manuscripts from all cultures.


VisColl is a system for generating visualizations of a physical manuscript’s collation. It consists of a data model for modeling of a manuscript (based on quires, leaves in quires, and typology for the leaves (original, missing, added, replaced)), software for building models in a tabular format (published online and expressed in a custom XML schema), and software for generating visualizations from that model, via another online form.

BASIRA Project

The BASIRA (Books as Symbols in Renaissance Art) Project explores interconnections of book history and European art during the Renaissance with an analysis of trends in artists’ portrayals of books. BASIRA is a database of visual images tagged with structured details. The project is useful for studies of art history, material culture, religious history, printing technology, iconography, and history of literacy.


“Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis: Toward a Comprehensive Online Library of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in PACSCL Libraries in Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware” aims to digitize the western medieval manuscripts in Philadelphia and make the images and metadata available online under open licenses (CCBY for the metadata, with the images in the Public Domain).

Mapping Manuscript Migrations

A semantic portal for finding and studying pre-modern manuscripts and their movements, based on linked collections of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, the Bodleian Libraries, and the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes.Select a perspective to search and browse the data.

Manuscripts of the Muslim World

The project will include digital editions of more than 500 manuscripts and 827 paintings that represent the flourishing intellectual and cultural heritage of Muslim lands from 1000 to 1900, covering mathematics, astrology, history, law, literature, as well as the Qur’an and Hadith.

Penn in Hand

Digital facsimiles of many of the manuscripts from the Schoenberg Collection have been available online since 1998. Originally digitized and published by the Penn Library’s Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text & Image (SCETI), new online facsimiles are now made available through Penn in Hand, a site that offers bibliographic information and digital facsimiles for selected collections of manuscript codices, texts, documents, papers, and leaves.

Needham Calculator

The size of a work on paper in the fifteenth century was determined by the choices of scribes, printers, and draughtsmen: they chose paper that came in standard categories, and they manipulated it into standard formats. Based on Paul Needham’s classification of categories of fifteenth-century paper, the Needham Calculator diagnoses the original size of paper used in the creation of manuscripts according to a table of sixty-four “flavors” that indicate the paper’s category (Imperial, Super-Royal, Royal, etc.) and format (full sheet, folio, agenda quarto, etc.).

Digital Mappa (DM)

DM is a digital environment for the study and annotation of images and texts that provides a suite of tools enabling scholars to gather and organize the evidence necessary to support arguments based in digitized resources. Previously known as Digital Mappamundi and hosted by Drew University, DM was originally designed by Martin Foys (formerly Drew University, now University of Wisconsin Madison) for use with medieval maps, but its functional flexibility has the potential to make it an excellent tool for all image-based objects.