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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  • Contribute Data, including your own personal observations of a manuscript or group of manuscripts.
  • Engage With Other Users to facilitate research and conversations about both the history of manuscript transmission and the data gathered in the process of recording this history.
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  • Email or Download Search Results or export the entire contents of the SDBM for your own use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License
New Features
Recent Forum Discussion

ecawlfield posted in Liege/Belgium

3 days

We do have a new Merge function that users at the Editor level and above can use to merge duplicate Place records. When viewing a Place record, you'll see a Merge option listed within the Tools section of your Control Panel. Use this function cautiously, and only when two Place records describe exactly the same information. Beauvais, France should be merged into France, Beauvais, since they match provide the same information but differ in word order. Our data standards require that Places provide the broadest information first. France, northeastern, Beauvais should not be merged, because it captures regional information that was presumably provided by a Source. Place records like this derive from the legacy database, which did not have an As Recorded field for Places. In the future, we will have a better way to deal with records such as these, but for now they need to remain in the authority.


lcleaver posted in Liege/Belgium

5 days

I'm sure there are loads of these name variants. Today I spotted:
Beauvais, France
France, Beauvais
France, northeastern, Beauvais
Is there no easy way to merge such entries?


ecawlfield started Ramamala Library Manuscript Project now available in the SDBM

10 days

Dr. Benjamin Fleming has uploaded an inventory from the Rāmamālā Library Manuscript Project, sponsored by the British Library's Endangered Archive Programme and the Schoenberg Institute of Manuscript Studies. The inventory represents a near complete (95%) record of Sanskrit and Bangla manuscripts currently held at the Rāmamālā Library by the Rāmamālā Trust in Comilla, Bangladesh. Access the data here: https://sdbm.library.upenn.edu/sources/34910/


lisafdavis started Simmons Library and Information Science Students cleaning up legacy records

11 days

Students in my "The Medieval Manuscript from Charlemagne to Gutenberg" class at the Simmons College of Library and Information Science are cleaning up legacy Census and Supplement records as a homework assignment. I created a group of 280 records and, once my students registered as SDBM users, I invited them to join the group. The new "Group" feature is perfect for this assignment, as it automatically upgraded the privileges of my students when they joined and it allows me to easily retrieve and verify their assigned records. They've each got ten assigned records to compare to the relevant entries in the printed Census or Supplement, deleting any data that doesn't come directly from the source and making any other corrections to bring the record into agreement with the source. I suspect that some of them will want to do more than the ten they've been assigned…they're future librarians, after all, and messy data keeps them up at night! - Lisa


lcleaver posted in Duplicate entry

12 days



lcleaver posted in Source 34732 has a warning flag

12 days

Thanks both. Bill - I am determined to do the whole thing, but it is a slow process as the volume is not readily portable and I seem to be endlessly on the move. Hoping to finish it over Christmas though.