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Pinax – new online inventory of the BUWr Department of Manuscripts

Since January this year, a new website prepared by the OR BUWr staff has been available at pinax.bu.uni.wroc.pl. It presents basic information on all manuscripts collected in our Library, which explains the name pinax, meaning catalogue in Greek. This is a pioneering project, because until now no Polish library with special collections has made its manuscript inventory available on the Internet.

Our manuscript collections consist of many collections of various provenance. Some collections have already been reliably described, and their catalogues are available in printed form (e.g. the so-called Milich collection from Zgorzelec), while others (e.g. the collection of the former City Library of Wrocław) have only old manuscript catalogues, the quality of which does not always meet current standards. Old catalogues usually do not have indexes, which would allow for a relatively quick search of their content. Moreover, the notation used in them, prepared in 19th century German kurrenta, is sometimes more difficult to read than the codex itself. Until now, if a reader wanted to find out whether a particular work was in our collection, they were faced with a daunting task: they were forced to check each catalogue individually or to ask for help from OR librarians, who find it easier to carry out such searches. They are usually more experienced and have access to the in-house inventories, but are not always able to provide answers quickly because of their many other responsibilities.

In order to spare readers the difficulties mentioned above, we have decided to launch a new website. It collects all the basic information on our manuscripts: references, abbreviated descriptions of content, dates of creation, languages, provenance, links to digitised versions, and allows quick searching. Additionally, after clicking on a found record you can read literature about a given volume and check what material it is made of, what kind of binding it has, whether it is available in a reading room or whether it has a microfilm. In addition to a simple search of the content of the descriptions, it is also possible to filter the results according to the content of individual fields, for example by selecting a particular language, provenance or date. As many of the requests for our collections come from readers outside Poland, our website is available in three foreign languages: English, German and Latin. Thanks to the fact that the descriptions are in digital form, they can be supplemented and corrected when necessary without any limitations. In the future, new functions will also be introduced, including keyword search, report generation, data export to various formats, etc. We hope that thanks to the new inventory all interested readers will gain better access to our collections.

Adam Poznański

Published by: Maria Kozan

21 Jan 2022

last modification: 27 Jan 2022