A Digital Catalogue of Manuscripts in Sweden

Dr Patrik Granholm, National Library of Sweden

IFLA RBSC conference Libraries in the sky

National Library of Norway, Oslo, 12 April 2018


  • A digital catalogue of medieval and early modern manuscripts preserved in Swedish libraries

  • Maintained by the National Library of Sweden

  • TEI is used for the manuscript descriptions
  • IIIF for the digitised manuscripts
  • Current status
    • 130 Greek and 40 medieval Old Swedish manuscripts
    • 50 000 digitised manuscript pages
    • 2 500 authority files for persons, organisations, places and bibliographical records


  • Development started in a project to catalogue and digitise Greek manuscripts in Sweden (2012–2016)
    • Created as an ad hoc solution for publishing TEI encoded descriptions
    • Customised encoding schema of TEI for detailed descriptions
  • Development has continued in a project to catalogue medieval Old Swedish manuscripts (2016–2019)

TEI for Manuscript Descriptions

  • TEI is suited for detailed cataloguing of manuscripts
  • The hierarchical structure of TEI corresponds to the four parts used in cataloguing:
    • Description of contents
    • Codicological description
    • Provenance
    • Bibliography
  • TEI supports descriptions of codicological units
  • Descriptions can be linked to images and authority files
  • TEI tagging enables advanced search queries
  • TEI can easily be converted to other formats

Digitisation and Image Processing

  • Mostly done using high resolution cameras (10–60 MP)
  • Master images in uncompressed TIFF (up to 160 MB)
  • Web images in compressed, pyramid TIFF (ca 10 MB)
  • Zoom and pan functionality (tiled image pyramid)


  • Built using open source software
    • eXist-db, an XML database which offers advanced indexing and search functionality, and functions for converting TEI to HTML and PDF
    • Images served with the IIPImage Server
    • Diva.js and Mirador for displaying the digitised manuscripts
    • React.js for the web-based editor of the TEI files
  • Source code and TEI files available on GitHub
  • Images available free of restriction (CC0 Public Domain)

Demo of the Catalogue

Demo of the Mirador Viewer

Demo of the Editor

Future Plans

  • Infrastructure
    • Controlled vocabulary for terms
    • Authority files for works
    • Linked Open Data (Microdata, RDF)
  • Content
    • Ca 250 medieval Old Swedish manuscripts
    • A selection of digitised medieval and early modern manuscripts at the National Library
    • Ca 70 Icelandic manuscripts at the National Library
    • Ca 70 manuscripts from the Laurentius collection at Lund University Library
    • Database of illuminated medieval manuscripts in Sweden
    • Printed catalogues (OCR, data extraction)