A Digital Catalogue of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in Sweden

3rd Digital History in Sweden Conference (DHiS2020)

Uppsala University, 4 December 2020

Dr Patrik Granholm, National Library of Sweden


  • Digital catalogue of medieval and early modern manuscripts in Sweden

  • Developed and maintained by the National Library of Sweden

  • TEI is used for the manuscript descriptions
  • IIIF for the digitised manuscripts
  • Current status
    • 379 manuscripts (221 digitised)
    • ca 75 000 images
    • ca 10 000 authority files for persons, organisations, places, works, and bibliographical records
  • Contains mainly Greek and Old Swedish manuscripts, but other manuscripts are added on a regular basis
  • The long-term aim is to include all medieval and early modern manuscripts in Sweden

Manuscript Descriptions

  • Encoded in TEI using customised schemas and cataloguing guidelines
  • TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) develops and maintains a standard and a set of guidelines for the representation of texts in digital form
  • TEI has become the standard metadata format for descriptions of medieval manuscripts
  • TEI is well suited for this since the structure of format is structured according to the four parts used in detailed scholarly descriptions:
    • Description of contents
    • Codicological description
    • Provenance
    • Bibliography
  • TEI supports descriptions of codicological units
  • TEI markup enables advanced search queries, and easy conversion between metadata formats

Manuscript Digitisations

  • The digitised manuscripts are displayed using IIIF
  • IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) develops and maintains a set of APIs for delivering and sharing images on the web
  • IIIF has had a huge impact in the cultural sector and is widely used by libraries and museums worldwide

  • Key benefits of IIIF

    • Advanced, interactive functionalities like manipulation of size, scale, region of interest, rotation of images etc.

    • Possibility to link to a specific image, or even a section of an image, with a stable URI

    • Possibility to retrieve images from other image servers that support IIIF


  • Built entirely using open source software
    • eXist-db, an XML database with indexing and search functionality, and functions for converting TEI to HTML
    • Images served with IIIF using IIPImage Server, and the Mirador image viewer
    • Editing interface built with React.js
  • Source code and TEI files available on GitHub
  • Images available free of restriction (CC0 Public Domain)