Web – « Medieval Manuscripts in Flemish Collection » Database

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The MMFC database aims to collect descriptions of all the medieval and early modern manuscripts (up to 1600) that are held in Flemish collections.

The online MMFC database aims to document and describe the medieval and early modern manuscripts (up to 1600) currently preserved in Flanders. It is the result of the project ‘Medieval Manuscripts in Flemish Collections: Mapping 1000 Years of Manuscripts’. The Flanders Heritage Libraries started this project, which is carried out with financial support from the Flemish government.

The MMFC database includes information on all manuscripts and manuscript fragments kept in public libraries, archives and museums, as well as on similar materials preserved in collections that are not in public ownership but that are publicly accessible to external readers and researchers.

Geographically the scope of the database is limited to Flanders (the official Dutch-speaking region of Belgium) and to the bilingual capital district of Brussels. For Brussels the database only covers collections of cultural institutions which are, at least in part, in receipt of funding from the Flemish government’s Department of Culture. This means that the manuscripts kept in institutions that are primarily directly funded by the Belgian national government, including the rich collections of the national library KBR and the National Archives of Belgium, are not registered in the MMFC database. For the time being the MMFC database also does not cover the Brussels collections that are already described in the ‘Online Guide to Medieval Manuscripts Held in Wallonia and Brussels’.

The MMFC database includes information on manuscripts written in any language, although the proportion of manuscripts that are not written in Latin script and that contain texts in Latin or Western languages, is very small.

The database holds information on all manuscripts, whatever their physical format (codex, roll, loose quires, fragments), but does not include, in principle, archival documents, such as original letters, charters, accounts or registers. It also omits early modern university lecture notes. Some categories of archival documents, however, are included, such as illuminated documents (charters, registers, cartularies) or documents that are related to the liturgy of ecclesiastical institutions (obituaries). More detail on the precise scope of the database can be found in the MMFC guidelines.

The content of the MMFC database is a combination of previously available basic metadata, provided by existing library catalogues and other secondary sources, and newly created detailed descriptions resulting from first-hand examination of the catalogued items. As far as possible, links to relevant online secondary resources that contain information on particular manuscripts, including links to digital facsimiles, are included in the descriptions registered in the MMFC database.

The MMFC database allows for a very detailed, structured and granular description and registration of the features of medieval manuscripts. The data model used by the project is fully documented in the MMFC guidelines. When project collaborators describe and register manuscripts first-hand, they will complete most of the relevant data fields in the database. There are, however, a number of detailed data fields that are not yet systematically completed for each manuscript. These fields allow for the description of features, such as the exact collation of the quire structure of each manuscript, the incipit and explicit of each text in each manuscript, or the description of individual miniatures in illustrated manuscripts. Such features are important but require time-consuming investigations to observe or to describe, which is why they will currently only be registered if the relevant information is already available.

Contact: info@vlaamse-erfgoedbibliotheken.be

Source : MMFC

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