Handschriftenportal – formerly known as Manuscripta Mediaevalia

Libraries often have valuable manuscript collections. However, one usually searches for them in vain, unless one already knows the shelf mark from secondary literature or a printed register. Handwritten books and other manuscripts are often not listed in the OPAC, because different rules apply to their cataloguing, which only fit into usual formats to a limited extent.

Not much easier is the search in special catalogues for manuscripts. After all, common search criteria such as title, author, publisher, year of publication and subject keyword can only be used with limitations for these very heterogeneous, unique materials.

The central database Manuscripta Mediaevalia provides an overview of manuscript collections in German-speaking countries. An alphabetical list of places leads to libraries and printed collection registers, some of which are accessible online in full text. A search field allows you to search for individual manuscripts. The hit list leads to the index entry, partly with initium/incipit (the first words of the manuscript or page) and naming of special features such as illustrations. In some cases, a detailed description with references, a transcript of the complete text and a link to the digitised version are also available. Functionality, design and accessibility of the offer need to be updated. A relaunch is planned for 2021, the project page of the new –> Handschriftenportal is already accessible.


Münchhausen Travel Agency

Hieronymus Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Münchhausen (1720-1797) is famous for the adventures attributed to him. The literary material has been retold and revised, performed and screened many times and reaches a large audience in many countries to this day.
If one reads the sources from the late 18th century, one gets to know a true gentleman: He doesn’t bore the listeners with long explanations Read More


Machine learning requires the comparative analysis of data in as large a quantity and as high a quality as possible.
On this basis, automatic recognition of printed texts (OCR) has improved significantly in recent years. However, machine reading of handwritten texts (HCR) is still in its infancy. There is a lack of training data in the form of correct transcriptions with corresponding image sections of individual lines and terms.
Within the framework of source editions and indexing projects, larger text corpora are transcribed. Heterogeneous handwritten documents are, among other things, the subject of palaeography courses or individual local and family history studies. The Transkribus platform will collect the files and data required for the further development of HCR and generate text recognition models for individual languages and comparable writing styles.
In addition, the platform offers many useful functions for reading and editing various documents.

Yizkor Books (ספרי יזכור)

“Yizkor” (יזכור) in Hebrew means to remember something or someone and is used in prayers to the dead. A corresponding literary genre in Jewish culture developed in the 13th century in Eastern Europe and was rediscovered in the 20th century in the aftermath of the Holocaust. These “Memorbooks” were mostly printed and distributed in small quantities by the Landsmanshaft (לנדסמנשאפט), the exile community of the respective town or village.
The New York Public Library has digitized Yizkor books from various collections and makes them available online, sorted alphabetically by place name.
The chronicles, necrologists, maps, photos and illustrations compiled by surviving contemporary witnesses are a valuable source which is difficult to access due to its size, lack of factual structure, indexes and not least due to the Hebrew script/Yiddish language. An ongoing project of JewishGen promotes translation and indexing by volunteers and donations.