Digital Scriptorium Returns to Berkeley

Manuscript depicting Guidonian hand with somization syllables from UCB's Hargrove Music Library

Early this fall, the Digital Scriptorium, UC Berkeley, and Columbia University quietly announced the return of the Digital Scriptorium to its original home at Berkeley.

The Digital Scriptorium is a contribuitive image and cataloging database that unites the medieval and Renaissance manuscript holdings of a growing number of American libraries. It began in 1997 with a grant from the Mellon Foundation and the combined resources of Berkeley and Columbia; present membership includes thirty institutions with over 5000 manuscripts and 27,000 images, all freely available on the web. Member institutions include the Huntington Library, New York Public Library, the Houghton Library at Harvard, and the Ransom Center at the University of Texas. During its six-year tenure as host to the Digital Scriptorium, Columbia also contributed to the database’s increasing strength. Berkeley libraries that have digitized some of their manuscripts for the DS include the Bancroft Library, the Robbins Collection, and the Hargrove Music Library.

DS aficionados will notice that there are more records, more images, and cleaner descriptions: there’s been lots of editing by lots of partners in the years since the last refreshing of the web site. New partners, too! The Lilly Library of Indiana University, the University of Vermont, General Theological Seminary of New York, the Walters Art Museum, all have begun to add records and images; and DS has its first overseas member – the American Academy in Rome. The coming year will see the first presence of descriptions and images from the Beinecke Library of Yale University and possibly other new partners.