Welcome to the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts (SDBM)! The SDBM aggregates observations of pre-modern manuscripts drawn from over 12,000 auction and sales catalogs, inventories, catalogs from institutional and private collections, and other sources that document sales and locations of these books from around the world.

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Recent Forum Discussion

lcleaver started SDBM_21015

about 17 hours

I was editing SDBM_21015 and when I tried to save it I got the message 'something went wrong'. Now whenever I try to do anything with that record I get the same message. Sorry!


ecawlfield posted in Abbe de Rothelin

5 days

Thanks so much for pointing this out, Laura. I've merged the last two records into one name, with a new standardized format and VIAF ID number (SDBM_NAME_35429). I hesitate to merge the first two names (de Rothelin and Rothelin), because at least one other provenance agent in the database has the name Rothelin, and we wouldn't want to confuse the two identities. I've flagged these two names as problematic. If any other users can help us confirm that the Abbe de Rothlin owned the manuscripts that currently only show de Rothelin or Rothelin as provenance agents, please share!


lcleaver started Abbe de Rothelin

6 days

At the moment the database has:
de Rothelin
Rothelin, Abbe Charles d'Orleans de
Rothelin, Charles d'Orleans de

I'm assuming that at least the last two could be combined, unless anyone knows better? I'd suggest using Rothelin, Abbe Charles d'Orleans de, as some entries describe him as 'Abbe de Rothelin'.


mfraas started Mac-Carthy-Reagh Catalogues

14 days

Bill's comment on a duplicate entry from the De Bure catalogs of the Mac-Carthy-Reagh collection led me do dig deeper into them. There were a number of SDBM sources for these catalogs and it was somewhat confusing. Should be cleaned up now but the problem remains that there are two catalogues of this collection:

  1. The 1815 catalogue SDBM_SOURCE_882 (https://sdbm.library.upenn.edu/sources/882) which includes the entire collection, and
  2. the separately issued 1817 catalogue of remainders from 1815 - keeping the same lot numbers but with many fewer mss. on offer - this is SDBM_SOURCE_909 (https://sdbm.library.upenn.edu/sources/909)

Every item in the 1817 catalogue (909) is also present in the 1815 (882), but the reverse is not true. I see that some of the lot numbers listed in entries for 1817 do not exist in that catalogue and could only have come from the 1815. In any event, it's worth time for someone to do further untangling. I've put URLs for the digitized versions of both cats in their source info.


lransom posted in currencies

23 days

Thanks for asking this question. Price data is tricky. There was a time when all non-US prices were converted to the historic USD equivalent. There was a good reason for doing this early on, but as the SDBM grew, it became inconsistently applied. So, now it's hard to know for these early entries if the price is in USD or something else. The early entries, or what we call the "legacy data," are flagged as such and users are warned that the data may not follow current standards, so that can help you determine somewhat what prices are accurate. If you can supply the correct price, by the way, we will update the record. Records that aren't flagged as legacy records have been verified or are new entries, so the data should be more trustworthy. If you have a specific question for an entry, leave a comment in the entry and we'll try to answer it as best we can.

We don't use the symbols because from a data management point of view, it's much easier to deal with letters than with symbols.

Again, thanks for raising this. I imagine many others will have the same question.


wsp started currencies

24 days

I can't make out whether the prices listed under auction and dealer catalogues are in local currencies or in dollars. Occasionally British catalogue prices are prefixed with GBP (couldn't you just use the pound symbol £, incidentally?), but in most cases there is no such prefix, and it's unclear what currencies are being used.