Archives and Museums

Library Research Skills Tutorial If you fancy venturing into library or archival research, but are a bit unsure of where to start, this basic and very clear tutorial from the University of London Research Library Services should set you off on the right track.

ARTS - Archival Research Techniques and Skills This provides basic information for students at all levels intending to work in archives.

British Records Association This includes online publications on guides to deeds, care of records and a glossary of archival terms. There are also notices of news, conferences and events.

UNESCO Archives Portal A large link site to archives and the material to be found in them.

Archivenet: National Archives around the World This is a basic link page which connects to national archive sites around the world, with more detailed listings of archives in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The European Library This is a portal to the websites of all the national libraries of Europe, and includes catalogues and links to an enormous number of electronic resources. Unfortunately, it seems somebody has bitten off a bit more than they could chew, and it is still seriously clunky and doesn't appear to entirely work properly. Stick with it. It will be amazing when they get it to straighten up and fly right.

The National Archives Formerly the Public Record Office, London, it is now merged with the Historical Manuscripts Commission and provides the digital front door to the main government historical archive in London. They are gradually increasing the scope of their online exhibitions. There is an online catalogue, documents online and various learning resources, including interactive palaeography exercises on documents from 1500 to 1800.. The databases of the Historical Manuscripts Commission are now also available from here, as well as the a2a guide to local record offices in Britain. Essential for historical research on English topics.

The National Archives of Ireland This has an online database of holdings and carries a feature on Medieval Irish Plea Rolls.

The British Library All available information on the grand old lady of British manuscript collections, now including an online catalogue, not complete but much better than anything that went before, of the manuscript collections. They are now putting some images of their medieval manuscripts online.

National Library of Wales An introduction with some digitised treasures displayed. There are online catalogues, but not of the manuscripts section as yet.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France The English language home page gets you into an introduction to another of the mighty collections. There is an online catalogue, several manuscript exhibitions online and a bank of online images. Mandragore allows a database search of the manuscript collection using a range of iconographic criteria.

The Bodleian Library, Oxford This has only the beginnings of an online catalogue; incomplete, and consisting only of HTML pages which can only be accessed by shelfmark. Database technology has not yet landed among the dreaming spires.

Vatican Library and Vatican Secret Archives There are various resources from these historic institutions on their jazzed up websites.

Bayerische StaatsBibliothek, Munich The English language version of this significant library website is under reconstruction. Have a go at the German version, or wait patiently.

Durham University Library Online catalogue including medieval manuscript books and documents. There are also online exhibitions of Medieval Seals and documents from the Durham Cathedral Muniments.

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections This Library of Congress site provides searches for catalogue records of manuscripts in libraries in North America and around the world.

Master: Manuscript Access through Standards for Electronic Records This site is a progress report on a European Union funded project to create a single online catalogue of medieval manuscripts in European libraries. It doesn't exist yet but it gives us something to look forward to.

Society of Archivists this site is where the curators of our literate heritage commune and it provides links to archives in the UK. The site also hosts the Archives for Education and Learning Group which promotes the use of archives in lifelong learning.

Archives Hub Gateway to descriptions and contact information for archives in UK universities and colleges.

Le Centre historique des Archives nationales The French national archives, unable to be ignored by English medieval historians, however Anglophonic they may wish to remain.

AMARC The Association for Manuscripts and Archives in Research Collections, provides links to its institutional members, mainly libraries.

Victoria and Albert Museum This wondrous treasure house of design is not, perhaps, where one might think of looking for medieval manuscripts, but they are there - pretty exemplars of design rather than coherent archives of text.

A2A - Access to Archives A catalogue describing the contents of the many local record offices in the UK. You cannot view the documents here, but you can locate those many documentary items that are scattered among the various local archives. This is now hosted by the National Archives in London. It is not complete, and further progress depends on periodic injections of money, but it is still an enormous aid for historical researchers.

Antike und mittelalterliche Handschriften in der Schweiz / Manuscrits antiques et médiévaux conservés en Suisse A solid set of catalogues and other resources about medieval manuscripts in Swiss Libraries, in German and French.

Medieval Manuscripts in Dutch Collections An English language site with catalogue descriptions of all medieval western manuscripts to c.1550 in public and semi-public collections in the Netherlands. There is also an exhibition of highlights from the collections.


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This site is created and maintained by Dr Dianne Tillotson, freelance researcher and compulsive multimedia and web author. Comments are welcome. Material on this web site is copyright, but some parts more so than others. Please check here for copyright status and usage before you start making free with it. This page last modified 16/2/2010.