Case Studies

A case study is a sub-project that runs for a limited time and that uses particular examples to investigate the potential of digital fragment research. A case study is carried out and documented in such a way as to serve as a model for future projects. Fragmentarium uses a series of use cases to define the range of digital fragment research.

Fragmentarium implemented six studies in 2016/17 and six in 2017/18. Case studies are led by a fellow, often an early-career scholar, in conjunction with an advisor or advisors. Fragmentarium partner institutions sponsor case studies and collaborate with the fellows to bring them about.

Current and future fellows are advanced researchers, senior doctoral candidates or postdoctoral scholars from different fields of research related to medieval studies (history, art history, musicology, literature, philosophy, manuscript studies, etc.) or IT specialists. The fellows are required to:

  • participate in two workshops organized by Fragmentarium, one at the beginning of their work, the other during their research and which will allow them to share their research and experience with other participants.
  • conduct the case study in collaboration with the partner institution. Digitized fragments will be published together with descriptions on the Fragmentarium Database.
  • write a scientific article based on their research.

Current Case Studies

Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Wien, Cod. Ser. n. 4444, Decretales

Case study 3: Describing book decorations in an online database – Illuminated fragments of manuscripts at the Austrian National Library

Partner Institution: Austrian National Library, Vienna

Collaborator: Mag. Friedrich Simader and Mag. Dr. Katharina Kaska M.A., Austrian National Library

Advisor: Dr. Andreas Fingernagel

Project Description:

This case study carried out at the Austrian National Library intends to create a model for describing book decorations in an online catalogue and database. To develop this model, we chose the fragments of decorated manuscripts, which amount to roughly 10% of the total collection of fragments of the Austrian National Library. On the basis of these fragments, we plan to:

  • Collect and unify all available data from published descriptions of illuminated fragments
  • Survey and describe illuminated fragments in the collection of fragments
  • Describe known illuminated fragments still in situ, mainly in incunabula.

Differences in definitions and vocabulary for describing book decorations in various European languages will make it necessary to use a combined model of basic classification with thesauri and verbal descriptions. As we are using fragments from the 9th to the 15th century from various countries with illuminations ranging from simple fleuronée initials to full page miniatures, comprehensive description guidelines will be necessary. The work will be carried out by permanent staff of the Austrian National Library without any additional funding.

Katharina Kaska and Friedrich Simader both work as curators at the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books of the Austrian National Library in Vienna. Friedrich Simader has already been involved in several cataloguing projects on illuminated manuscripts. He is especially interested in the history of the libraries and collections of the university and court of Vienna. Katharina Kaska is currently writing her PhD thesis on “Texttransfer und Buchaustausch – Netzwerke monastischer Handschriftenproduktion am Beispiel des Zisterzienserstifts Baumgartenberg in Oberösterreich”. Her fields of interest include palaeography, codicology and library history.

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ZZi 1986 back pastedown
Yale, Beinecke Library, BEIN ZZi 1986, back pastedown

Case study 6: Analyzing in situ Fragments in the Beinecke Library Incunables

Partner Institution: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Collaborator: Elizabeth Hebbard, Yale University

Advisor: Dr. Raymond Clemens, Curator, Early Books & Manuscripts, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Project Description:

This case study aims to inventory, identify, and describe the in situ medieval manuscript fragments found in the bindings of Beinecke Library incunables. Detailed descriptions of the binding fragments, which have never before been inventoried, will be compiled into a digital catalogue. Additionally, the fragment descriptions will be imported into the MARC record environment, where they will be attached to the entries for their incunable host volumes, making this material fully searchable to the public for the first time. Beinecke Technical Services will photograph the in situ fragments, and the images will be made available to researchers via the Beinecke Digital Images database as well as the Fragmentarium web application, along with fragment descriptions. This project is part of a larger initiative at Yale to promote the study of medieval manuscript fragments across several collections at the university.

Elizabeth (Liz) Hebbard is a PhD candidate at Yale University. She is a paleographer and a specialist of medieval French and Occitan literature, currently completing her dissertation on troubadour lyric manuscripts. Her manuscript research interests include book history, fragmentology, paleography and codicology, and digital humanities (particularly digital image curation, data visualization, web design, OER, and TEI).

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WolfenbĂŒttel, HAB Cod. Fragm. 80 V

Case study 7: Fragments with Musical Notation in the Herzog August Bibliothek

Partner Institution: Herzog August Bibliothek, WolfenbĂŒttel

Financed by: Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Grant

Collaborator: Antje Hoffmann, MA, University of Music FRANZ-LISZT Weimar/Friedrich-Schiller University

Advisor: Dr. Christian Heitzmann, Herzog August Bibliothek, WolfenbĂŒttel

Project Description:

The WolfenbĂŒttel collection – two boxes full of music – offers a comprehensive collection of liturgical manuscripts spanning the period from the eleventh to the early seventeenth century. Although at first glance many of the manuscripts seem rather sober, they provide candid testimony to the development of ecclesiastical libraries, even if only in a few cases their place of origin can be identified. Moreover, these documents record the liturgical practice, and through it, the cultural heritage of Central Europe.

Antje Hoffmann (Weimar) received her MA in musicology in 2015. In addition to her studies, she has worked at the Free State of Thuringia Music Archive Weimar, the library of the University of Music FRANZ LISZT Weimar, and for several projects for the chair of musicology of the University of Jena. Currently she is working on a Ph.D. project concerning the reception of the person and work of Franz Liszt in the early years of the German Democratic Republic.

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Wien, Österreichische Natinalbibliothek, Fragm. 960

Case study 8: The Medieval Fragments of the Abbey of Mondsee

Partner Institution: Austrian National Library, Vienna

Financed by: Austrian Academy of Science (Go Digital 2.0)

Collaborator: Ivana Dobcheva MA, Mag. Larissa Rasinger MA, Veronika Wöber, Dr. Katharina Kaska

Advisor: Dr. Andreas Fingernagel, Austrian National Library, Vienna

Project Description:

This two-year case study funded by the Austrian Academy of Science (Go Digital 2.0) focuses on fragments from the Benedictine monastery of Mondsee (Upper Austria). Mondsee became an important local center for book production already shortly after its foundation in 748 with phases of increased activity in the 12th as well as the 15th century. When a book-binding workshop was installed in the 15th century many books from the monastery’s collection were cut up and re-used as binding material for its own library.

After the dissolution of the monastery in 1791 the court library in Vienna received nearly all manuscripts from this important monastic library. Many printed books and the remnants of Mondsee’s archive remained in Linz, today the capital of Upper Austria. Already in the 19th century researchers noticed the treasures that could be found in the bindings of these books. They immediately started to remove the oldest and most interesting fragments. Unfortunately, in most cases they failed to note which books those fragments came from. What remains of their work today is a large number of fragments without proper provenance, offsets on wooden boards and tiny remnants of removed pastedowns. In addition many more fragments can be found in-situ in manuscripts and early prints.

Using digital images and the possibilities Fragmentarium offers the Austrian National Library aims to:

  • Develop best practice guidelines for digitizing fragments in situ that are difficult to access (e.g. quire guards)
  • Provide digital images of all known fragments and off-sets from Mondsee in Vienna and Linz
  • Provide manuscript description to be hosted by Fragmentarium
  • Reconstruct manuscripts and bring together fragments and their host volumes
  • Understand the use of fragments for book-binding in Mondsee

For this project the Austrian National Library collaborates with the State Library of Upper Austria, the State Archive of Upper Austria and the Institute of Austrian Historical Research.

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W. Blades, The Enemies of Books, John Frederick Lewis Collection, The Free Library, Pennsylvania

Case study 9: Lewis Fragments at the Free Library

Partner Institution: Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Financed by: Schoenberg/Fragmentarium Fellowship

Collaborator: Emily Shartrand, MA

Advisor: Dr. Nicholas Herman, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies

Project Description:

The Free Library Case Study focuses on manuscript cuttings and fragments from the John Frederick Lewis Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The Free Library’s collection of approximately 2,300 fragments, principally of European origin and dating from the eleventh to the sixteenth centuries, is one of the largest of its kind and remains relatively understudied.

Emily Shartrand is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the University of Delaware

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Amorgos, Monastic library of Chozoviotissa, Ms. 22, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Case study 11: Fragments in Greek Libraries

Partner Institution: The Center for History and Palaeography, National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation, Athens

Financed by: Zeno Karl Schindler/Fragmentarium Fellowship

Collaborator: Athina Almpani M.A., National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Advisor: Dr. Agamemnon Tselikas, Director of the Center for History and Palaeography

Project Description:

This case study focuses on noteworthy fragments produced during the Byzantine period and written in ancient or Byzantine Greek. In particular, it documents and catalogues fragments from patriarchal, monastic, ecclesiastical, public and municipal libraries all over Greece and the Hellenic World. The first phase concentrates on the manuscript collections of the Diocese of Samos, the monastery of Chozoviotissa on Amorgos, the monastery of Iviron on Mount Athos, and the Archdiocese of Cyprus. A second phase will expand the research to other libraries, including those of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the monastery of Ioannou Theologou Patmos, and the Library of the Hellenic Parliament and Ethnological Museum in Athens. The 14-month case study plans to analyze more than 200 fragments.

Athina Almpani holds an M.A. in Canon Law (NKUA) and specializes in Greek Palaeography and Byzantine manuscript studies. Her research interests include fragmentology, codicology, and diplomatics.

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Houghton Typ 315, Praefatio in Ezram, 12th century

Case study 12: Boston-Area Fragments

Partner Institution: Houghton Library, Harvard University

Financed by: Houghton Library/Fragmentarium Fellowship

Collaborator: Elena Iourtaeva, MA, Harvard University

Advisor: Dr. William Stoneman, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Project Description:

This case study focuses on the manuscript cuttings and fragments found in the Houghton Library and other Boston-area collections. Building on the intense collaboration among experts involved in the exhibition Beyond Words: Illuminated Manuscripts in Boston Collections (, the study aims to illuminate the dense interactions between manuscripts culture, trends in North American collecting, and the shifting role of manuscripts in creating cultural capital in American institutions.

Elena Iourtaeva (MA, Medieval Studies, University of Toronto, 2014) has extensive experience in both Information Technology and Manuscript Studies. As a medievalist, she has a particular interest in palaeography and codicology; she is eager to combine this interest with her experience as a professional photographer to develop how best to tell the story of these fragments. Her research focuses on the reception of Islamic treatises of natural philosophy in the West, and she is currently working on a Ph.D. in Art History under Professor Jeffrey Hamburger at Harvard University.

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Completed Case Studies

Bodleian Library Oxford, Arch Ge 5, g

Case Study 1: In situ manuscript fragments in the incunabula of the Bodleian Library, Oxford

Partner Institution: Oxford, Bodleian Library

Financed by: Zeno Karl Schindler/Fragmentarium Fellowship

Collaborator: Ruth Mullett M.A., Cornell University

Advisor: Prof. Nigel F. Palmer, Oxford University

Project Description:

This case study takes a step towards providing detailed in-depth descriptions of all in situ medieval manuscript fragments found in incunable bindings in the Bodleian Library. The descriptive entries produced will complement the printed catalogue, A Catalogue of Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century now in the Bodleian Library, and cover all records for sections ‘A’ and ‘B’. At the same time, the descriptions will fully integrate with the Bodleian’s digital incunable catalogue (Bod-Inc) and forthcoming online manuscripts catalogue, as well as the Fragmentarium platform. The descriptive model will not only be flexible enough to be implemented across these three digital platforms, but will simultaneously allow each catalogue entry to exist as a thorough, independent description.

Ruth Mullett (PhD 2017, Medieval Studies, Cornell University), is interested in how medieval literary history can be seen to move through a conversation with the cultural past. Her research interests include book history, digital humanities (particularly manuscript imaging and digital cataloging techniques), manuscript fragmentology, paleography and codicology, and museum and library studies.

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GenĂšve, BibliothĂšque de GenĂšve, Ms. lat. 16, fol. 45v

Case study 2: Rendre la bibliothÚque de Florus de Lyon à son intégrité (Restore the library of Florus of Lyon to its original state)

Partner Institution: Biblissima

Financed by: Zeno Karl Schindler/Fragmentarium Fellowship

Collaborator: Pierre Chambert Protat, Campus Condorcet, Paris M.A.

Advisor: Prof. Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk, EPHE, IRHT, Campus Condorcet, Biblissima

Project Description:

Florus of Lyons is known both for his encyclopedic compilations of the Fathers, and for his critical, almost philological appreciation of manuscript traditions. By chance, more than a hundred codices which then belonged to the library of the Cathedral of Lyons, among which a few dozens were annotated or written by Florus himself, are still preserved in today's European libraries, representing a rare opportunity to observe the contents and life of a Carolingian library. Doing so consists not only in identifying surviving codices, but also in studying, not unlike an archaeological enquiry, the remaining fragments of what has been lost, and the way they have been dispersed. The fragments of otherwise lost codices, the dispersed parts of surviving ones, and the fragments of texts Florus used in his own works, display a wide range of information on the contents and characteristics of the library of the Cathedral of Lyons in the 9th century.

Pierre Chambert-Protat is currently finishing his PhD in historical and philological sciences at the École pratique des hautes Ă©tudes (EPHE) in Paris and at the University Lyon II. Under the supervision of Anne-Marie Turcan-Verkerk and Paul Mattei, his dissertation focuses on Florus of Lyons as a reader of the Fathers: Patristic Documents and Studies in Lyons' ninth-century Church [].

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fragm lat 5-1r
UniversitÀtsbibliothek Leipzig, Fragm. lat. 5

Case study 4: Cataloguing and Digitization of Manuscript Fragments of the Leipzig University Library

Partner Institution: Leipzig University Library

Financed by: Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation Grant

Collaborator: Ivana Dobcheva M.A., Central European University, Budapest

Advisor: Dr. Christoph Mackert, Leipzig University Library

Project Description:

A large portion of the rich fragment collection at the Leipzig University Library remains to this day uncatalogued and hence unexplored. A noteworthy exception are the fragments found in situ in historic bindings of incunabula volumes – 2014 their content and codicological features were published by the Leipzig manuscript centre within the catalogue of incunabula. This data will now be integrated in the Fragmentarium database, serving in this manner as a model for retrospective conversion of analogue fragment descriptions into digital ones.

The current case study focuses on the circa 850 disjoint fragments from the library collection, which are only partially examined. In the period 2008 to 2011 the manuscript centre of the Leipzig University Library prepared an inventory, listing all fragments stored in boxes, giving them shelfmarks and recording basic codicological data. Building on this work, the objective of the fellow, Ms Ivana Dobcheva, is to catalogue scholarly a part of the Latin disjoint fragments, recording their content and further codicological and palaeographical characteristics. In addition, the fragments will be digitized by the library. The expected number to be processed within the 13,5 months is 250 fragments. The aim of the case study is thus to provide new source material for future studies – publicly available and searchable in the Fragmentarium database.

Ivana Dobcheva specialises in manuscript studies and early medieval science literature. She works on a PhD entitled “Transmission and Reception of the Aratea in the Latin West (8th - 12th c.)”.

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p. 3
Stiftsbibliothek St. Gallen, Cod. Sang. 1397V, p. 3.

Case study 5: Psalms and Psalters in the Manuscript Fragments at the Abbey Library of St. Gall

Partner Institution: Abbey Library of St. Gall

Financed by: SNSF Grant

Collaborator: Prof. María Adelaida Andrés Sanz, University of Salamanca, Spain

Advisor: Dr. Cornel Dora, Abbey Librarian of St. Gall

Project Description:

The project consists in a codicological, palaeographical, critical and philological study of manuscript fragments of Latin psalms and psalters preserved in the Abbey Library of St. Gall. This case study is related to Isidore of Seville’s works and his hypothetical revision of the Latin Psalter.

This case study focuses on the location, description and examination of the fragments of the Latin Psalter preserved in the Abbey Library of St. Gall. Northern Italy and the Lake Constance region are important areas for the early transmission of Isidore's works as well as for their Precarolingian and Carolingian reception. This is also the area of origin of some of the fragments of psalms preserved in St. Gall. The Latin versions of fragments of psalms and psalters preserved in the library will be studied thoroughly and the obtained results compared to those provided by the current editions of the Latin Psalter edited to date. This type of study will raise methodological questions on the treatment of manuscript fragments, and it will further new perspectives on the study of Early Medieval versions and revisions of the Latin Psalter (including the hypothetical Isidorian one).

María Adelaida Andrés-Sanz is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Salamanca (Spain). Her main research interest focuses on the study and editing of Late Antiquity and Early Medieval Latin grammatical and exegetical texts (5th to 10th c.), specially the writings of Isidore of Seville (or attributed to him). In recent years, this research topic has led her towards the study of the Latin Bible and its exegesis in Early Medieval Spain and Europe.

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London, The British Library, Cotton MS Otho A X f.4r

Case study 10: Burnt Anglo-Saxon fragments at the British Library: Reassessing the evidence with multispectral imagery (MSI)

Partner Institution: The British Library, London

Financed by: Zeno Karl Schindler/Fragmentarium Fellowship

Collaborator: Dr. Andrew Dunning, The British Library

Advisor: Dr. Claire Breay, Dr. Andrea Clarke, The British Library

Project Description:

The burnt fragments of the Cotton manuscripts are among the most evocative artefacts of medieval culture, both for the tragedy of their destruction and the mystery of their contents. Many of the surviving leaves remain critical to scholarship, often containing unique texts or their earliest known copies. Work on other fragments at the British Library has shown that multispectral photography makes it possible to extract more information from what survives. The burnt leaves are continuing to deteriorate, and it is critical that digital techniques be applied to document and to preserve their present state. This project will publish photographs of fragments from key remnants of Anglo-Saxon Cotton manuscripts in the Cotton collection on Fragmentarium.

Andrew Dunning (ORCID: 0000-0003-0464-5036) is Curator of Medieval Historical Manuscripts, 1100–1500, at the British Library. He received his doctorate in 2016 from the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto.

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