A Digital Catalogue of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in Sweden

West Norse and East Norse Manuscripts in the Digital Age

Uppsala University, 17 March 2021

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
    • 385 manuscripts (236 digitised)
    • ca 77 000 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)