Workshop (IRHT, Paris): Manuscript IDs – Identifiants des manuscrits

Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, Ms. 313, f1v (détail)

As more and more manuscripts are cataloged, and corresponding digital editions are published online, it becomes more and more important to facilitate their discovery and to harmonise the available information about them. Authority records are essential to achieve this. Several countries have recently recognised the need to assign identifiers to manuscripts. Manuscript IDs must not only designate a manuscript at the content level, but also identify it as a unique copy that usually contains multiple texts and may often change location.

This meeting was originally meant to be an informal discussion between several members of the Biblissima Scientific Advisory Board. However, it has attracted great interest and has since evolved into an international conference bringing together representatives of many interested parties, including large national libraries and major digitisation projects. The enthusiastic response to this current issue promises the workshop to be a very fruitful encounter.

The first goal of the workshop is to gather information on the methods used in different countries, both at the national and institutional level. Among the speakers on the first day are representatives from France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Since the purpose of this first day is to identify and compare strategies, participants will focus on the question of authority records for manuscripts and what various institutions or projects have done to make them more easily identifiable, in their own catalogues or in union catalogues that harvest their data, and with a view to semantic web compatibility. Have they already included manuscript IDs in their metadata? What approach has been taken? We would also like to know about problems and errors encountered.

The second and most important goal of the workshop is to establish an international discussion and to launch a joint initiative to standardise national or institutional methods. Thursday morning will be devoted entirely to discussion. Individual library catalogues and union catalogs are designed for printed books, and in some cases are only suitable for books published after 1850. The description of other media, especially manuscripts, is problematic. By improving the link between manuscripts and their metadata and making them more visible and interoperable, manuscript IDs could play an important role in changing the current situation.


The workshop will be held at the Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes (IRHT), located at 40 avenue d'Iéna, 75016 Paris.

Wednesday 26 April 2017, 13:00-18:00

François Bougard (IRHT) – Welcome

  • Christoph Flüeler (University of Fribourg) – Why Manuscript IDs? Pourquoi avons-nous besoin d’identifiants de manuscrits ?
  • Claudia Fabian (BSB) – Les manuscrits médiévaux et leurs identifiants : approches autorité et portails en Allemagne.
  • Amandine Postec (BnF) – Identifier les manuscrits à la Bibliothèque nationale de France : des cotes aux ARK
  • Mia Ridge (BL) – Manuscript Cataloguing and Identifiers at the British Library


  • Nicholas Herman (SDM Project) – Ressources potentielles pour la création d’identifiants universels de manuscrits avec le Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts et Digital Scriptorium
  • Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk (Biblissima Project) – Cotes attestées, historiques, factices, actuelles : pour la création d'un International Standard Manuscript Shelfmark Number


  • Rudolf Gamper/Karin Zimmermann (Handschriftencensus Project) – Handschriftencensus: With the Licence to Standardise. IDs for German Medieval Manuscripts.
  • Mattieu Cassin (Diktyon Project) – Réseau de bases de données sur les manuscrits grecs et identifiants uniques.


Thursday 27 April 2017, 9:30-11:30

  • Discussion (F. Bougard, C. Fabian, Ch. Flüeler, A.-M. Turcan-Verkerk) – Topics: Connectivity, Manuscripts in Library Portals, Manuscript Library Portals, Fostering Manuscript IDs Worldwide, Desiderata, Next Steps.