Illuminated Manuscripts: Search Engines and Databases

Search Engines and Databases


Austrian Literature Online ALO is a digital library with more than 15.000 documents from the 11th Century up to the present. ALO originates from an initiative of the University Innsbruck Library, the University Library Graz and the Institute "Integrated studies" of the University of Linz.

Illuminierte Handschriften aus Österreich (ca. 780 - ca. 1250) The collected material is based on a database created within the framework of Friedrich Simader's project "Early and High Medieval Book Painting in Austria".

Manuscripta Medieval Manuscripts in Austria


Online guide to mediaeval manuscripts in Wallonia - Brussels (CICWEB)

Flandrica is a treasure trove of books, manuscripts and periodicals from heritage libraries in Flanders

Czech Republic

Manuscriptorium is an international digital library run by the National Library of the Czech Republic. Within long-term projects, a virtual research environment is being developed providing access to digital documents in the sphere of written cultural heritage deposited in memory institutions worldwide (manuscripts, incunabula, early printed books, historical maps, and others).


Books of Hours, a very complete database and study about the Books of Hours by Erik Drigsdahl.


Codices Fennici (Project)

Fragmenta Membranea collection at the National library of Finland contains the vast majority of the remains of books written and used in the eastern parts of medieval Sweden, the Diocese of Turku. The Fragmenta membranea database contains 9,319 digitized parchment leaves meaning 18,638 pages which come from approximately 1,500 different medieval manuscripts.


Bibliothèque virtualle des manuscrits médievaux

Calames Online catalogue of archives and manuscripts in French University and Research libraries

Catalogue Collectif de France

CMD-F Catalogue des manuscrits en écriture latine portant des indications de date, de lieu ou de copiste.

France-England: Medieval Manuscripts from 700 to 1200 Thanks to the patronage of The Polonsky Foundation, the BnF and the British Library forge a partnership for the very first time in the field of manuscripts.

Hebrew Bible Manuscripts The Hebrew Bible Manuscripts in Western Europe (England, France, Germany, Northern Italy) in the 12th and 13th Century: a Material, Cultural and Social Approach. MBH is an ACHN ANR project which supports the systematic study of Hebrew biblical manuscripts produced in Western Europe before 1300, with a view to establishing their typology on the basis of their form and content.

Initiale is a computerized catalogue of illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, mainly those preserved in the public libraries of France, outside the National Library of France.

Libraria is a site dedicated to the history of ancient libraries, from the high middle ages to the collections of the modern era. It publishes the Repertory of ancient inventories of medieval France (BMF) and that of the inventories of Greek manuscripts of the Byzantine and modern periods (RIMG). You can also access the Bibale database on ancient manuscript collections and the Pinakes database on Greek texts and manuscripts.

Mandragore Iconographic database (BnF and Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal)

Medium Medium is a repertoire of manuscripts reproduced or recorded at the IRHT: manuscripts of the middle ages and the Renaissance preserved in the libraries of France (excluding BNF); some incunables, ancient books, manuscripts of the BNF and other libraries in the world selected according to the research programs of the IRHT.

Thesaurus Exemplorum Medii Aevi (ThEMA) A thesaurus of 12189 exemplary anecdotes from the Middle Ages: a multimedia, multilingual database of exemplary stories giving special insight into the imagination of men and women in the Medieval West and beyond, from Russia and the Middle East to China and Japan.


Avestan Digital Archive (ADA) seeks to be a digital archive containing all Avestan manuscripts spread all over the world. The Avesta, the holy book of the Zoroastrian religion, was last edited at the end of the 90s of the 19th century by the German scholar K. F. Geldner.

Digitalisierte Handschriften und Bücher The University Libraries of Freiburg, Heidelberg, Stuttgart and Tübingen as well as the Württembergische and the Badische Landesbibliothek offer selected digitized books, manuscripts, incunabula, old prints and special materials such as maps, notes and graphics.

Manuscripta Mediaevalia currently hosts more than 90,000 documents on Western manuscripts available mainly in German libraries.

Manuscripts from German-Speaking Lands is a three-year collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford and the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. Funded by The Polonsky Foundation, the project seeks to open up the medieval German manuscript collections of two world-class libraries for research and reuse. The two libraries will digitize nearly 600 medieval manuscripts of Germanic origin between 2019 and 2021.


Earlier Latin Manuscripts The database is founded on E. A. Lowe's Codices Latini Antiquiores and thus focuses on non-documentary texts written before the year 800. All of the manuscripts in Lowe's corpus and its supplements will be found in this database, along with corrections by Lowe and later scholars.

Irish Script on Screen (ISOS) The object of ISOS is to create digital images of Irish manuscripts, and to make these images - together with relevant commentary - accessible on a WWW site. The purpose of such a site is to provide an electronic resource.


Biblioteca Digitale Italiana The collection puts together 226 historic catalogues from 38 Italian libraries.

Censimento dei manoscritti medievali della Lombardia, promosso da Regione Lombardia e realizzato dall’Università degli Studi di Milano, ha individuato e registrato in Manus Online 3700 schede di manoscritti conservati nelle biblioteche di interesse locale del territorio.

Internet Culturale. Cataloghi e collezioni digitali delle biblioteche Italiane

MANUS is a database containing catalogue descriptions and digital images of manuscripts, private papers and archives held by Italian public, private and ecclesiastical libraries.

MIRABILE is the knowledge management system for study and research on medieval culture developed by the Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino and the Fondazione Ezio Franceschini ONLUS of Florence, in partnership with other institutions.

Nuova Biblioteca Manoscritta (NBM) is a collective database of manuscripts in the Italian libraries that take part in the NBM. The description of 54575 manuscripts can be consulted, ranging from the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century.

Progetto Codex - Regione Toscana. La Regione Toscana ha avviato dal 1992 la catalogazione informatizzata dei manoscritti medievali (cioè datati o databili entro l'anno 1500) presenti sul suo territorio, al fine di censire, tutelare e valorizzare il patrimonio manoscritto toscano, disperso in un gran numero di sedi di conservazione. Sono stati descritti tutti i codici in forma di libro, con esclusione dei manoscritti di natura amministrativa, contabile, archivistica, e dei frammenti e pergamene sciolte.

Trame is a research infrastructure project for the development and interoperability of web databases about medieval manuscript tradition. The focus of TRAME is to foster the interactivity of repositories concerning digitized images of medieval manuscripts, their codicological descriptions, their textual and philological interest, their cultural significance in the context of the european history.


Virtual manuscripts The project was jointly funded by the University of Bergen and Bergen Research Foundation and springs out of the research project "From manuscript fragments to book history".


POLONA is a website created by the National Library of Poland through which the resources of the National Library and other institutions are made available free of charge in digital form.


IUS ILLUMINATA: Legal Digital Scriptorium – Portugal online image database of digitized legal manuscripts edited by Maria Alessandra Bilotta (IEM-NOVA/FCSH) within the research project “ManJurEurIt. Manuscritos Jurídicos Europeus Itinerantes”


IBIS es la base de datos del patrimonio bibliográfico de Patrimonio Nacional. En ella se encuentran descritos los fondos bibliográficos de la Real Biblioteca y de los Patronatos Reales: Monasterio de Las Huelgas (Burgos), Monasterio de la Encarnación (Madrid), Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (Madrid) y Monasterio de Tordesillas.

Philobiblon is a a free internet-based bio-bibliographical database of texts written in the various Romance vernaculars of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. (Bancroft Library, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Cilengua, Universitat de Barcelona)


ALVIN, search portal for cultural heritage collections (manuscripts, personal archives, images, maps and older printed material) in the university libraries of Lund, Uppsala and Gothenburg among others. is a digital catalogue of medieval and early modern manuscripts kept in Swedish libraries.


e-codices. The goal of e-codices is to provide free access to all medieval and a selection of modern manuscripts of Switzerland by means of a virtual library. At the moment, the virtual library contains 2214 manuscripts from 88 different collections. The virtual library will be continuously updated and extended.

The Netherlands

Medieval Illuminated Manuscripts. The core of the whole site is a scholarly database. This database contains all kinds of information about the illuminated medieval manuscripts of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum.

Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections This database contains descriptions of all medieval western manuscripts up to c. 1550 written in Latin script and preserved in public and semi-public collections in the Netherlands. These include the collections of libraries, museums, archives, collections of monastic orders and some private institutions open to researchers.

United Kingdom

France-England: Medieval Manuscripts from 700 to 1200 Thanks to the patronage of The Polonsky Foundation, the BnF and the British Library forge a partnership for the very first time in the field of manuscripts.

Medieval Libraries of Great Britain are attested first by their surviving books and second by surviving medieval catalogues of the collections. The intention of this resource is to unite these complementary fragments in a way that allows the evidence to be approached in an integrative manner. It brings together two standard research tools for medieval libraries: Neil Ker’s Medieval Libraries of Great Britain and the Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues.

United States

Digital Library of Medieval Manuscripts The Digital Library of Medieval Manuscripts (DLMM) currently encompasses the Roman de la Rose Digital Library and the Christine de Pizan Digital Scriptorium. It offers a research environment in which the 13th-century narrative of the Rose and the works of late 14th/early 15th-century author, Christine de Pizan, can be explored in their manuscript context.

Digital Scriptorium is a growing consortium of American libraries and museums committed to free online access to their collections of pre-modern manuscripts.

Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML). Preserving rare and endangered cultural heritage since 1965. More than 300.000 manuscripts from 550 libraries worldwide.

Pages from the Past: A Legacy of Medieval Books in South Carolina Collections comprises a digital record of all the medieval manuscripts in South Carolina’s institutional archives.

Philobiblon is a a free internet-based bio-bibliographical database of texts written in the various Romance vernaculars of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. (Bancroft Library, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Cilengua, Universitat de Barcelona)

The Index of Medieval Art Their holdings complement the print Index at Princeton University, which is currently being integrated into the database. The collections include images and descriptive data related to the iconography of works of art produced between early apostolic times and the sixteenth century. Although the Index of Medieval Art was formerly known as the Index of Christian Art, the collection now includes secular subjects as well as a growing number of subjects from medieval Jewish and Islamic culture. Full access to this database is available to users by subscription and to those on the Princeton campus.

World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.