On October 12, 2021, the Innovating Knowledge project team released the ‘final version’ of the database (following an earlier release of a beta version on April 8, 2021). This version is ‘final’ in the sense that it represents the end-product of the three-year research project funded by the Dutch Research Organization from February 2018. Since the financing for the development of the database is now exhausted, the ‘final version’ is the possible last stage of its technological growth and improvement. This means that no new features nor a major re-haul can be expected, at least unless additional source of funding can be found out. Nevertheless, the Huygens Institute, where the database is hosted, will continue to maintain the database for the next few years. There are also some hopes that the data in the database will be periodically updated, so new manuscripts can be added and adjustments and corrections to extant entries can be implemented.
What are some of the new kinds of data and novel features in the ‘final version’?
- More than 100 new images were added to the detailed records of manuscripts. These include both images of digitized manuscripts and manuscripts that are currently not available for online viewing.
- Each detailed record now has a header containing information about the record itself. The header contains information about when and by whom was the record made, when and by whom it was last updated, whether any additional contributors provided data for it, and what is the status of the examination.
- Detailed records were linked to extant digital manuscript descriptions. Among the main databases linked are: Mirabile, FAMA, Trismegistos, Jordanus, BStK Online, Handschriftencensus, Manuscripta Medica, and the Digital Handlist of Breton Manuscripts.
- Standard manuscript sigla were added to the detailed records of the Big Isidores. The sigla were taken both from C. Codoñer Merino, ‘Isidorus Hispalensis ep.: Etymologiae’, in: La trasmissione dei testi latini del Medioevo/Medieval Texts and Their Transmission 2, SISMEL: Florence, 2005, pp. 274-276; and M. Gorman, ‘The diagrams in the oldest manuscripts of Isidore’s De natura rerum, with a note on the manuscript tradition of Isidore’s works.’ Studi medievali ser. 3:42 (2001), 529-545.
- Shelfmarks of manuscripts are better formatted. The former shelfmark are now distinguished and included in the header.
- The parsing of the contents of the manuscripts was improved. It should now be clearer on which folia which sections of the Etymologiae appear.
- If material from the Etymologiae appears in a manuscript in a context of a larger collection, this is now indicated clearly. The various collections are now equipped with a standardized label so that they are better discoverable. We plan to produce short clarifying descriptions of some of the most important collections in the EtymoWiki section of our project page.
- Notable interpolations into the text of the Etymologiae are now distinguished from other texts appearing in the manuscripts. They now have their own section in the detailed record view and there is some room for their description. They can also be now filtered through using the interpolations filter. The most important of them will be described in the EtymoWiki section of our project page.
- Sections detailing the presence of diagrams and annotations have been added to the detailed record view and as a filter in the search window. The descriptions of the annotations are now linked to the digital edition of the glosses to the first book of the Etymologiae prepared by the Innovating Knowledge project. The most important diagram types will be described in the EtymoWiki section of our project page.
- More relationships between manuscripts both within and outside the database are now recorded in the detailed record views. Altogether we now know of almost 800 unique relationships concerning manuscripts in the database based on notable innovative features. Some of these relations reflect genetic dependency between manuscripts and others not.
- New download options include XML and Excel.
- The database is now interconnected with the digital edition of the glosses to the Etymologiae.
- Manuscripts with IIIF manifests can now be browsed directly through the database using an integrated Mirador viewer.
- Cascading filters allow you not only to filter manuscripts based on the presence of innovative features. It is now possible to select manuscripts containing specific interpolations, diagrams, and amounts of glosses.
There are, nevertheless, still many elements of the database that we would like to improve in the future (if we are able to secure appropriate funding). We would like, among others, to:
- continue adding sample images of manuscripts that are not digitized and improve the representative images of digitized manuscripts;
- continue adding IIIF mainfests and PURLs of manuscripts that are going to be digitized in the future;
- improve the description of the contents of each manuscript (e.g., add foliation for individual text items and describe them more accurately);
- allow filtering based on the presence of specific texts (not only authors or text types as is the case at the moment);
- improve the description of the text structure (e.g., to record alternative divisions into books and chapters and to allow for filtering based on these structural features);
- improve the record of titles, incipits and explicits of excerpts from the Etymologiae and non-canonical Etymologiae;
- add sources to the information about the place of origin and provenance (just as it is currently added for the date of origin), where presen;
- continue adding literature to the bibliographic section of each detailed record;
- indicate if literature in the bibliographic section can be accessed online by providing a direct link;
- integrate data from external digital resources and contributors.
- add one more visualization feature to the database;
- add a ‘download a pdf’ option to the detailed records;
- add a footer to the detailed record with bibliographic information for each detailed record (so that they are citable);
If you feel that the database could benefit from other improvements and features, let us know.