Phase 2: Data Sets

Numerous pre-existing corpora can be found at the heart of Biblissima's data cluster, which will be expanded to include new data.

A Foundation of Essential Data Sets

Researchers require a significant quantity of scientific data and high-quality reproductions of source documents. Biblissima aims to meet this need by providing access to the following essential data sets:

  • digitised manuscripts and early printed books necessary for research programmes, which will facilitate cooperation between researchers, professors and curators. Significant funding will be allocated annually to projects for digitising, cataloguing and encoding source texts and documents. At least one cultural heritage institution and one research team must be involved in each project.
    See the list of digitized documents at the BnF funded by Biblissima
  • online access to general documentary data, particularly the immense quantity of data accumulated at the IRHT (over a million records and files)
  • new documentation to expand the corpus of available source documents and data, acquired through various projects that are currently underway or to be launched in fields that are as yet relatively unexplored: correspondence between scholars, books in all languages listed in 18th-century auction catalogues, source documents held in French Departmental Archives, inventory lists drawn up following the French Revolution, the circulation of medical knowledge, etc. Projects such as the "European Genizah", which aims to reconstruct European Jewish libraries as part of the Books within Books programme, and the index of old inventories of Byzantine libraries also fall under this category.

Scientific Data from Biblissima Research Programmes

A number of historical collections merit in-depth study, a task which falls within the priority subject areas covered by the research teams that are participating in Biblissima. Any partner projects and research projects proposed by students must also fall within these same priority subject areas, which include the following:

  • major medieval schools of thought and the manuscripts they produced (Laon, Chartres, Orleans...), as well as universities, such as the Library of the Sorbonne
  • monastic libraries: medieval holdings preserved at Angers, Dijon, Saint-Omer, Orleans, Charleville, etc., as well as libraries visited by Rabelais and his own private collections, and the libraries of newer religious orders such as the Minims and the Oratorians
  • libraries of important nobility, in particular the library of the kings of France (Charles V - Charles VI)
  • prototypes of collected works, from the Bible to major Renaissance anthologies
  • scholarship and book collecting in the 17th and 18th centuries, including the role of the Maurists and important collectors such as Jean-Baptiste Colbert in the acquisition and (re)discovery of Western European and Oriental manuscripts.

Digital Editions of Early Texts

Access to old texts through digital editions that are directly linked to digital facsimiles and various databases is a major breakthrough for researchers. Biblissima aims to progressively build up a virtual library of textual editions, starting with several different corpora:

  • the Glossa Ordinaria (gloss on the Latin Bible), a true portable library in the Middle Ages
  • inventories of medieval libraries in France, including the Bibliotheca Belgica manuscripta or "Sanderus electronicus" and Montfaucon's Bibliotheca bibliothecarum manuscriptorum nova (1739), from which Biblissima draws its name
  • sermons and preaching in the Middle Ages: the corpus will be expanded
  • musical texts, which will be edited and published in association with an international project currently underway on the Traditio Hollandrini

Research Proposals and Tools for Collaboration

Biblissima can only fulfil its role as a project of interest on the national and international stage if it succeeds both in drawing an audience of students and researchers to its historical collections of manuscripts and early printed books, and in promoting an introduction to Digital Humanities approaches and technologies. Any student registered for a research project on historical libraries with one of Biblissima's partner teams may benefit from funding for equipment or field missions, on the condition that any data produced as a result of these missions be integrated into Biblissima's data cluster.

As such, Biblissima will become a space to store and manipulate one's data while having them interact with other existing data sets, and the cluster will become a collaborative tool.