Digitizing 300 manuscripts at the Bodleian
Inside the wooden upper-board of one of the Bodleian Library’s 12th century manuscript hides what is perhaps a guilty secret. A mysterious pattern of lines, etched in to its surface.
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Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodleian Library MS. Bodl. 352

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Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 1179 Helmst., fol. Iv
Saint Marina: A hidden woman in the Lives of the Fathers
This fifteenth-century manuscript – now Bodleian Library, MS. Laud Misc. 346 – both reveals and hides stories from the Lives of the Desert Fathers.
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Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 1179 Helmst., fol. Iv
Recycling for the senses in a psalter
A fifteenth-century prayer book, now Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, Cod. Guelf. 1179 Helmst., features two drawings pasted on the flyleaf: a sombre portrait of Jesus and a charming representation of Mary Magdalene.
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Bodleian MS. Laud. misc. 157, fol. 93r
The joy of a chance discovery
Any manuscript historian can tell you that digging around in the archives is not all fun and games. You don’t always find what you’re looking for.
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Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel Cod. Guelf. 506 Helmst., spine
Craft and mindfulness from digitized manuscripts
An internet wag has observed that one will emerge from Covid-19 isolation as a monk, a hunk, a chunk, or a drunk.
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Bodleian Library MS. Canon. Bibl. Lat. 60, fol. 73v
Manuscript Journeys: From German Lands to Digital Libraries
Earlier this month, the Bodleian hosted a panel discussion to celebrate the (near!) completion of our Manuscripts from German-Speaking Lands digitization project.
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Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel Cod. Guelf. 506 Helmst., spine
Ready for the big show - How manuscripts are prepared for digitization
In the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel all books intended for digitization are first assessed in terms of their physical condition, opening characteristics, and the particularly intensive mechanical stress and its impact on being handled during the conversion process.
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Bodleian Library MS. Laud Misc. 135, fol, 1v
Copying De civitate Dei
At a first glance, I must admit, MS. Laud Misc. 120 and 135 do not stand out as the most intriguing medieval manuscripts.
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Dombibliothek Hildesheim, J 29, fol. 4r
Hello Mr Easterday! Celebrating Easter in the Medingen prayer books
This yellow bunny might resemble the gold foil chocolate Easter treats that pop up in supermarkets way too early before Easter – but this little fellow was drawn in a prayer book more than five hundred years ago, when nuns from the Cistercian convent Medingen near Lüneburg in Northern Germany were eagerly awaiting Easter day.
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Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodleian Library MS. Lat. liturg. 18, fol. 31v
Savouring the Exultet at Medingen Abbey
One of the most sensual rites of the Christian year is the Exultet at the Easter Vigil. The deacon or priest sings a melody that at first seems familiar, being based on the Preface tone heard often at Mass, but which keeps taking unexpected and exuberant turns that match the uninhibited excitement of its text.
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Oxford, Bodleian Library, Bodleian Library MS. Laud Misc. 281
A Date in Paris
‘Hello there – how old are you?’ This must be one of the most common questions in any reader’s mind when they are picking up a medieval manuscript.
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