Early Manuscripts at Oxford University

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This site is really neat, and preserves written history. Old Manuscripts need to be taken care of because if they are handled incorrectly they could disintegrate and history would be lost. Read the “Using this site” and “About” sections for more information on how the site works and how it was established. Here’s a snippet of what they are about: “Between 1995 and 2000 the Early Manuscripts Imaging Project created high resolution digital images from manuscripts which were selected as major treasures from their respective libraries, to create wider availability for originals which may otherwise be too fragile for handling.”

You’ll notice that the site is broken up into collections. To choose a collection click on the collection link and be whisked away to that collection’s section of the site, then you’ll be asked to choose a manuscript to look at—they have descriptions (I just checked them all out in order I love ancient texts.)

You’ll then notice that there is a thumbnail in the bottom portion of the screen that shows you what the manuscript looks like along with previous and next links. If you do not want to see the manuscript in thumbnail up close click “next” to move on to the next one. If given the option to view all that means that all of the thumbnails will load in the frame next to it so you can choose what you want to see from there. If you do want to see it enlarged click on the thumbnail. The image will then load in the frame next to it. These are high resolution pictures so they may take a little bit of time to load. Let me tell you the detail is worth it.

Example: I clicked in the Balliol College Collection. I chose the first manuscript and then clicked on the thumbnail to enlarge it. The picture loaded and I was amazed you could see the shine of the gold leafing on the page. You could see the inks shading into one another. It was beautiful.

Think of it like viewing art! That is how masterfully done some of these manuscripts are. I hope you enjoy this site as much as I did.


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