Manuscript Center

Contact Manuscript Center

Birgit Seiderer  (Head of the Manuscript Center)
Phone:  +49 89 28638-2627

The Manuscript Center (Division Manuscript Cataloguing) is a competence center of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek for the scholarly cataloguing and the digital presentation of the preserved medieval and modern-age manuscripts.

It is one of a total of six German manuscript centers founded since the 1970s at the initiative of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The manuscript centers constitute a research infrastructure for fundamental research in the field of humanities on manuscripts that is unique on a worldwide scale.

Manuscript centers

The range of services includes, i.a.:

Conception, planning and execution of academic projects for the cataloguing and digitization of manuscripts and further cultural objects
Data recording and publication of the cataloguing results
Further development of standards
Description and digitization of precious book covers as independent works of art
Pilot phase manuscript digitization
Consultation on methods and standards for cataloguing and digitization, project planning, third-party funding and applying for such funds, metadata management for manuscript cataloguing, IIIF structures, text coding (e.g. TEI, further XML formats)

Areas of expertise

The Manuscript Center has three areas of expertise:

On the one hand, it makes the library’s own manuscript collections accessible for scholarship through their scholarly cataloguing. The cataloguing is increasingly accompanied by the digitization of the holdings. On the other hand, the Center is active in the development of digital infrastructure projects. In addition, it offers – regionally limited – services to Bavarian libraries with holdings of manuscripts.

Together with the Berlin State Library, the University Library Leipzig and the Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek with its Manuscript Center is a partner in the DFG-funded project "National Manuscript Portal".

With the development of the manuscript portal, an up-to-date, national catalogue of text and image information is created on manuscripts of the middle ages and the modern era predominantly from German libraries. This catalogue meets current requirements of use and has replaced the preceding central German online catalogue "Manuscripta Mediaevalia".

Handschriftenportal  (Manuscript portal)

Fundamental research for humanities

The Manuscript Center employs specialists with a broad diversity of fields of specialisation, experts on Latin and German manuscripts as well as experts on Greek manuscripts and codices of art-historical importance. Thus, authoritative standards have been set for the description of illuminated manuscripts, the cataloguing of Greek manuscripts, as well as the registration of fragments, and finally the cataloguing of precious book covers.

The center’s work is always focused on the researchers’ interests: The changed conditions of digitization notwithstanding, the scholarly cataloguing and provision of the manuscripts forms the basis for the various scholarly disciplines to develop new research questions from these unique cultural goods and for the preserved written cultural heritage to be kept alive in this way.