What are the major gaps in the database?

Since the Innovating Knowledge database relies on extant secondary literature, it can account only for those early medieval direct witnesses of the Etymologiae that have been identified. The quantitative overview of the material incorporated in the database makes it clear that specific sub-populations of the larger early medieval population of the manuscripts transmitting the Etymologiae are covered much more thoroughly by the available literature than others. For example, the period prior to the year 900 is almost certainly better serviced by the database than the tenth century because of the existence of E.A. Lowe’s Codices latini antiquiores and Bernhard Bischoff’s Katalog der festländischen Handschriften des neunten Jahrhunderts. The lack of a similar comprehensive manuscript resource for the tenth century makes it obvious that the database is somewhat impoverished on the side of the tenth century.

Similarly, it can be noted that the majority of known ninth-century fragments are preserved today in the German-speaking area. This is almost certainly to the energies of a single man, Bernhard Bischoff, who was able to secure access to even small and poorly known collections in German-speaking lands. By contrast, the absence of fragments of Italian provenance from the database does not signal that Italian institutions do not hold early medieval fragments of the Etymologiae but rather reflects the limited extent of cataloguing fragments on Italian soil. Overall, Italian institutions and the Vatican library likely harbour unidentified manuscripts transmitting the Etymologiae, particularly such that contain excerpts, excerpt collections, or are preserved fragmentarily. On the other hand, the database satisfactorily accounts for the surviving complete copies of the Etymologiae, with the few exceptions of manuscripts in private collections or such that are missing since the Second World War. These serve as a useful benchmark for the survival rates in various regions and periods.