Digitisation and deep scientific indexing of manuscripts of the Bibliotheca Amploniana in the Erfurt University Library

The 889 medieval manuscripts of the Bibliotheca Amploniana, the library of the Collegium Porta Coeli of the old University of Erfurt - since 2002 held in the Erfurt University Library as a deposit of the City of Erfurt - are a unique testimony document on the history of the humanities and sciences in the late Middle Ages. At its core is a donation of 633 manuscripts by the physician Amplonius Rating de Berka (d. 1435), including a particularly important collection of medical writings.

These codices from the 9th to the 15th century form the most extensive collection of books of a medieval scholar preserved in its entirety as well as the most prolific holdings of a college library of this period.

Its significance lies not only in the (sometimes unique) texts that have been handed down, but also in the manuscripts themselves, which are unique testimonies of early university life in France, Italy, England and Germany and which, through their ownership histories, provide an insight into the international knowledge networks of the late Middle Ages.
Since a catalogue of the holdings compiled by Wilhelm Schum in 1887 no longer meets today's scientific requirements, the content indexing data in Manuscripta Mediaevalia was completed and provided with standard data for 324 manuscripts, mainly in the fields of medicine and natural philosophy, with DFG funding between 2008 and 2013. A research documentation with over 3,000 titles was also set up in the OPAC of the Erfurt University Library.

The continuing strong interest of the scientific community in the collection as well as significant finds from more recent times (e.g. unknown texts of the Church Father Augustine in 2008) make it essential to now edit the Amploniana according to the standards of the 21st century, i.e. through complete digitisation and scientific cataloguing.

In a three-year (2019-2022) cooperation DFG-project between the University Library of Erfurt and the Manuscript Centre Leipzig, which has been running since October 2019 and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 317 of the manuscripts are being digitised by  Erfurt University Library of Erfurt and made accessible in the "Digital Historical Library Erfurt/Gotha" provided by the Thuringian University and State Library Jena (ThULB) (for the individual manuscripts, see the scope  extend of digitisation below).
The scientific catalogization refers to 118 medical manuscripts from the digitisation collection (see below for the scope of scientific catalogization). They originate from the donation of Amplonius and his immediate surroundings. Cataloguing is carried out according with DFG guidelines and is – located both in Erfurt and Leipzig - carried out under the direction of the Manuscript Centre Leipzig and distributed in Erfurt and Leipzig. The results of the scientific catalogization are continuously made available to research via the manuscript database "Manuscripta Mediaevalia" and are later incorporated into a new manuscript portal which is currently under development.

Project in the database of research projects at the University of Erfurt

Extent of the DFG project in detail

Extent of digitisation: The digitisation comprises 317 medicalnatural-philosophical manuscripts.

Overview of the current status (PDF)


Extent of scientific catalogization: The deep scientific catalogization comprises 118 meticulous medical manuscripts from the digitisation collection.

Overview of the current status (PDF)