New Look to Online Catalogue of Western Manuscripts

Regular users of the Wren Digital Library will have noticed that we have launched a new interface for the James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts.

Users will welcome the return of a free text search option and searching has also been further enhanced by the addition of filters allowing users to restrict results to specific centuries, languages, and more. Note that the number of results obtained is given at the top of the page.

Screen shot of the James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts
Combined search for manuscripts in Middle English donated by John Whitgift

These filters are also present in the individual record pages allowing users quickly to navigate between manuscripts. For example from B.14.33 you can navigate to all manuscripts from Cerne Abbey, Belvoir Priory or St Alban’s Abbey by clicking on the appropriate filter. Filter buttons are identified by the blue frame around them.

Screen shot of the James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts
Filter buttons for Religious House

We now also have the ability to link closely-related manuscripts. Users will be able to find associated manuscript links at the bottom of the catalogue record pages. For example manuscripts B.11.31 and B.11.32 which were once bound together as a single volume and have continuous foliation are linked as related manuscripts.

Screen shot of the James Catalogue of Western Manuscripts
The bottom of record B.11.31 showing the quick link to B.11.32

As before, the digitised manuscripts remain fully iiiF compliant and we continue to use Universal Viewer to present them online. By using the symbols to the top right of the screen you may choose to view the photographed manuscripts either in their entirety, with verso and recto alongside each other, or as single folios. The collapsible panels on either side of the screen remain: metadata (right) and thumbnail content (left).

B.3.23 thumbnails displayed in Universal Viewer

Other improvements have been made in the background for greater stability and a smoother user experience.

Users who also wish to consult the printed edition of the catalogue by M.R. James on which this digitised version was originally based can use these links: Volume 1 (classmark B), Volume 2 (classmark R) and Volume 3 (classmark O). These volumes are indexed enabling quick location of manuscript descriptions within the volume.

In the last year we have had over 69,000 page views and we now have almost 700 medieval manuscripts online as well as a growing number of modern manuscripts and printed books. We are still migrating manuscripts to the new system so if you notice any missing that you need to consult please contact and we will prioritise getting them back online.

The banner image is from the Procession of Parliament (O.3.59)

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  1. Pingback: New Look to Online Catalogue of Western Manuscripts – Glyn Hnutu-healh: History, Alchemy, and Me

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