Thumbnails Description of the Project

Work on digitization of medieval manuscripts began at the Department of Early Music History of the Hungarian Institute for Musicology in 1998. At the beginning several plans were discussed regarding the primary aims and methodology of the work. It was obvious from the beginning that the ideal solution would be - at least in theory -- to create digital images directly from the original sources. However, it turned out to be unfesible for technical, financial and, last but not least, political reasons. (As a result of the well-known reduction of Hungary's territory after the World Wars, the major part of the source material belonging to Hungary's medieval history became 'foreign property', and this material is difficult to come by up to the present.) Consequently, in the first phase of the project a decision was made to build the digital archive upon the already existing, relatively large medieval microfilm collection of the Institute. This collection, compiled during several decades, contains the films of all known Hungarian medieval liturgical sources and a not negligible number of other Central European and Western European sources as well.
Although one of our primary aims was to concentrate on Hungarian sources (in order to preserve them), in the following years we extended the project to sources of other European traditions as well. By now, the digital archive contains digitized version of more than 200 complete sources and other materials (e.g. sample images, fragment collections, etc.). The images are prepared in two formats: in original resolution (archival form) and compressed (for usage). The digitized sources are available on CD and they are simultaneously accessible for research on the intranet of our institute. Our future plans include making the sources (or a portion of them) available on Internet too.
Internet Version
The digitized sources are being catalogued, all necessary information of them are gradually being entered into a database, which contains thumbnails and sample images as well. On this site the material of this database is presented in a continuously updated form. In accordance with the database structure this site contains thumbnail pages, data sheets with detailed information on the individual sources, and sample images of them as well. The site is also supplied with a search engine, making it possible to filter the material by different categories (e.g. source type, age, provenance, etc.).
Supervisor of the Project
Gábor Kiss

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