Researchers at the University of Fribourg hope to reveal more about the Middle Ages by piecing together fragments of manuscripts. (RTS/swissinfo.chexternal link)
In medieval times, the vellum of discarded manuscripts was not thrown away, but reused as bookbinding material to strengthen or decorate new volumes. Thus, over time, hundreds of thousands of manuscript fragments became scattered all over the world.
Twelve different research teams in leading manuscript libraries across Europe and the US are now working together on significant fragments for a research platform called Fragmentariumexternal link. Using this platform, reproductions of medieval fragments can be uploaded from different servers, catalogued, scientifically described, transcribed, and collated online. By properly identifying and studying these fragments, historians hope to create a more accurate picture of the Middle Ages.
The University of Fribourg is leading the project, because it has dominated the field of digital manuscript research for many years. Its Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerlandexternal link is considered to be one of the most innovative digital libraries in operation.