About DS

New York, Columbia University, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Plimpton MS 040A, f. 1
Blue-vested canons of S. Giorgio in Alga kneeling before Sts. Peter and Paul.

Digital Scriptorium (DS) is a growing consortium of American institutions with collections of global, premodern manuscripts. As an online union catalog, DS unites scattered rare materials, including dispersed manuscript leaves from dismembered books, into a national digital platform for cross-collection teaching and scholarly research. DS records not only include recognized touchstone materials, such as manuscripts signed and dated by their scribes or illuminators, but also unidentified manuscripts that are traditionally unlikely candidates for exhibition or reproduction in print. DS enables free and open discovery of information about historically significant but often understudied manuscript materials.

With the DS 2.0 redevelopment project, DS will also act as a data repository, semantic portal, and knowledge base, allowing users to explore and query heterogeneous data contained in manuscript records from multiple sources in a single interface powered by Linked Open Data. In addition to the wealth of aggregated data in DS 2.0, many DS records also link out to the websites and digital repositories of our member institutions, where users can discover more detailed information about the manuscripts, as well as images, in their respective home collections.

Collectively, DS data bridges the gap between researchers and resources through a network of member institutions with common interests and shared user communities. As an organization with national representation, DS serves the interests of a diverse community of scholars, teachers, students, hobbyists, booksellers, and collectors—anyone with an interest in premodern manuscripts.

DS welcomes new members and encourages institutions both large and small to join our mission to enhance accessibility to data about rare manuscript materials. For further information about membership please see Finances.

For more information about DS, see our article in Wikipedia and our item page on Wikidata.