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Purpose

The medieval manuscripts of the College have not been catalogued as a group in the last 150 years (Henricus O. Coxe, ‘Catalogus codicum MSS. Collegii Reginensis’, in Catalogus codicum MSS. Qui in collegiis aulisque oxoniensibus hodie adservantur (2 vols., Oxford, 1852), vol. I; reprinted as H. O. Coxe, Catalogue of the manuscripts in the Oxford colleges, with an introduction by K. W. Humfreys (East Ardesley, 1972)); some have been treated to detailed scrutiny, but the resulting publications are widely scattered. This catalogue aims to present new descriptions, compiled to modern standards, and bring together the fruits of previous scholarship.

Scope

This catalogue includes:

  • 58 manuscript codices in Latin, English, French, Greek, Scots, and Arabic, written before c.1600
  • 2 medieval Latin codices which belong to the College Archives
  • a small number of loose medieval leaves, and some flyleaves/pastedowns still in situ in post-c.1600 volumes

This catalogue excludes:

  • some pre-c.1600 manuscript codices which are primarily ‘archival’ or ‘documentary’ in nature
  • all medieval single-sheet charters, etc., belonging to the College Archives
  • two guardbooks containing about 150 miscellaneous fragments and leaves; descriptions of these will be added to the catalogue in due course
  • post-medieval manuscripts: these will be the subject of a future cataloguing project

History

The preparation of the catalogue was started in 1999 under the Librarianship of Jonathan Bengtson and the Fellow-Librarianship of John Blair, who were keen that the College should provide its users and staff with a modern guide to its remarkable holdings; it has continued under Bengtson’s successor, Amanda Saville. The work was entrusted to Peter Kidd, at that time an Assistant Librarian at the Bodleian Library, and now at the British Library.

Publication

The catalogue is being ‘pre-published’ on the College website as a series of PDF (Portable Document Format) files. (Further technical information is available below).

The intention is to publish the text as a conventional printed volume, with additional material not currently available on the website (including an historical introduction, indexes, etc.), and reproductions. Negotiations with a potential publisher have begun. The printed volume will constitute the ‘official’ catalogue, but it is anticipated that the web version will be updated periodically (especially with new bibliography). It is the intention that the descriptions will be encoded in XML (eXtensible Markup Language) in due course, when international standards for the description of medieval manscuripts emerge.

Addenda and corrigenda

One of the main reasons for ‘pre-publishing’ the catalogue on the Web is to enable users to contribute addenda and corrigenda, to ensure that the printed version is as full and accurate as possible. Readers are strongly encouraged to contribute, and their help will be publicly acknowledged. Please write to Peter Kidd.

Copyright

Please contact the Library ( Library@queens.ox.ac.uk ) if you wish to re-use any text or images in any form. We ask this in order to keep track of the work being done on the College’s manuscripts for the benefit of other users, not to obstruct bona fide non-commercial users. The text and images on this website are copyright.

Technical information

PDF files can be read using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be download here. We recommend the use of version 6 or later, if the specifications of your computer allow it (for details see the Adobe website. The files can be read with earlier versions of Acrobat, but they lack some very useful functionality. For example, using Acrobat 6, if after viewing an image you use the ‘back’ button of your browser, you should return to the place in the PDF file from which you came; in Acrobat 5, by contrast, you will usually return to the top of the document. If you have not already done this, you may wish to configure Acrobat to open PDF files as a plug-in within your browser, rather than as a separate program; this will allow you to use your browser’s ‘back’ and ‘forward’ buttons, rather than having to switch between separate Acrobat and browser windows.

The images are 500 pixels along their longer side: this size was felt to provide an appropriate balance of relatively fast-loading speeds and adequate image quality, without the need to scroll on a typical 15” monitor. They were taken by the cataloguer primarily as an aid to the cataloguing process, and are therefore not of ‘professional’ quality, but serious students will realise that imperfect images are better than none. If you require different or higher resolution images, for non-commercial purposes, please contact Peter Kidd.

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