Greek Manuscripts in Sweden

General description: The aim of the project is to publish an online catalogue of all the Greek manuscripts in Swedish libraries and archives. This will also entail a full digitization of the manuscripts, some 36 000 pages in total. Libraries that will contribute material to the database include Gothenburg University Library (4 MSS), Linköping Diocesan Library (28), Lund University Library (5), The National Gallery, Stockholm (1), The Royal Library, Stockholm (5), The Skokloster Castle Library (3), and Uppsala University Library (74), in all 120 manuscripts.

The Greek manuscripts, in the form of bound parchment and paper volumes, include a rich and diverse collection of texts from antiquity and the Byzantine period. They originate mainly from the Byzantine cultural area from the tenth century onwards, but some are Renaissance or early modern manuscripts from Western Europe. The existing nineteenth-century catalogue is outdated and in many cases incorrect. Furthermore it does not cover all manuscripts. It is therefore essential to create a new catalogue according to modern principles, including detailed codicological descriptions. Combined with a comprehensive digitization of the manuscripts this will facilitate and encourage new research on the material among Swedish and international scholars.

Implementation description: The manuscript descriptions are encoded in TEI P5 using a customised ODD schema which, to a certain extent, was influenced by the ENRICH schema ( However, some modifications have been necessary, which means that our schema and the ENRICH schema are not completely compatible. Our schema also provides cataloguing guidelines with examples, and documentation of the elements and attributes used. In order to eliminate inconsistencies in the encoding, we enforce strict limits regarding the attributes and their values. We also make use of Schematron rules to check that the content is valid in certain elements. The manuscript descriptions are structured around the notion of codicological units: the intellectual content, physical description, and history, where applicable, of each unit is described in separate <msPart> elements, whereas information common to all units, e.g. the binding, provenance, and bibliography, is described outside the <msPart> elements, directly under the <msDesc> element. In each manuscript description the items will be linked to specific folios of the digitized manuscripts using the @facs attribute in the <locus> element. This will enable image retrieval from the image server.

The Uppsala University Library digital repository, ALVIN, will host the TEI-files, schema, style sheets, and images of the digitized manuscripts. The images will be stored both in the original TIFF-format, and in the JPEG2000-format for display on the web. The JPEG2000 images will be saved in a multi-resolution tiled pyramidal format to enable fast zooming and panning capabilities in the image viewer.

The manuscript descriptions are published continuously on the project web site as the project advances ( The web interface for the catalogue is built with the eXist-db open source software ( which provides powerful search and browsing capabilities for the catalogue. To facilitate user-friendly orientation, the images are displayed adjacent to the manuscript description in the interface.

Related resources: The TEI-files, schema, style sheets, and source code for the eXist-db interface are also stored in the project GitHub repository (


Eva Nyström & Patrik Granholm
Section for Manuscripts and Music
Carolina Rediviva
Box 510
751 20 Uppsala
Telephone: +46 18 471 3995

Last recorded change to this page: 2014-06-09  •  For corrections or updates, contact