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All Dutch Medieval Manuscripts on One Website
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All Dutch Medieval Manuscripts on One Website

Huygens ING, the Dutch research institute in the field of history and culture, will set up a new website to access and study medieval manuscripts in Dutch collections. This will be realised with a grant recently awarded by the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

The goal of the website is to open up a full set of digital images and good quality descriptions of medieval manuscripts in Dutch collections, both for a large audience and for researchers. Huygens ING co-ordinates the initiative to build a national portal for this cultural heritage with digital research methods.

For the blueprint of the portal, the Amsterdam-based research institute will rely on three institutions with collections as initial partners: House of the Book in The Hague, Tresoar in Leeuwarden and the Athenaeum Library in Deventer. Their collections will deliver the first content of the virtual environment, in which at least 200 manuscripts will be published with structured descriptions and a good search interface.

In the new portal, it will be possible to see manuscripts from different collections side-by-side and also next to manuscripts from digitized collections abroad that use the same standards. In the future, all Dutch collections with medieval manuscripts can use the same model, structure and standards.

90 public institutions

The Netherlands has over 90 public institutions in which medieval manuscripts are kept: from small collections of just 1 or 2 books to more than 1,300 items in Leiden University Library. This cultural property is unique and diverse. It reflects a rich variety of historical objects, valuable for Dutch history, identity, religion, history of knowledge, science, et cetera.

Parts of these collections can already be found online, but in comparison to other countries, the Netherlands is a long way behind. Moreover, since each institution created their own site, there is no unified access. This project, which will start in September 2020 and will take two years, aims to solve this problem.

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