1946-2015 Scriptorium Bulletin codicologique


Sixty-nine years ago, in 1946, Scriptorium, " International Publication of Mediaeval Manuscripts Studies ", was founded by Camille Gaspar, Frédéric Lyna and François Masai. In November 2002, Scriptorium entered the electronic age with the opening of its website that is largely dedicated to the Bulletin codicologique, the review's second part and bibliographical tool. We cannot let this event go by without a brief presentation of the work that has already been accomplished, so that we can better define the objectives we aim to achieve with this new website.

Both Scriptorium and the Bulletin codicologique are edited by the Centre d'Études des Manuscrits (CEM) ASBL (Brussels), presided by Louis Holtz and the Centre International de Codicologie (CIC) ASBL (Brussels), housed in Royal Library of Belgium in Brussels. The Centre d'Études des Manuscrits (CEM) ASBL and the Centre International de Codicologie (CIC) ASBL can also count on the close collaboration of Royal Library of Belgium and Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes (Paris). Scriptorium and the Bulletin codicologique gather hundreds of international specialists of university level.

Scriptorium is a biyearly multilingual publication essentially dealing with codicology (i.e. material description of any aspect of manuscripts: supporting material, page-setting, binding, paleography, miniatures...), informing on cultural environment and offering a bibliography regarding mediaeval manuscripts through Western, Central and Eastern Europe.

Martin Wittek created the Bulletin codicologique in 1959. In this sort of bibliographical appendix of Scriptorium, approximately between 600 and 700 critic reviews of recent papers or works on the study of manuscripts as well as extensive indices containing the manuscripts mentioned throughout the publication are published every year. The Bulletin presents in fact a state of affairs regarding manuscript-related studies and serves as a thread for the scholar who risks losing his way amidst documentation that has become labyrinthine.

On the whole there are presently 68 volumes. It had become absolutely necessary to make this enormous amount of information available on the Internet, both to facilitate the accumulation of the ever-increasing quantity of new data and to put an unlimited mass of data at the disposal of scholars in the form of a unique cumulative index comprehending the tables successively published from 1946 to this day.

This database comprises the manuscript class numbers and the bibliographical references coming from the Bulletin codicologique.

This tool will rapidly become indispensable for every scholar. From today onwards it is accessible via a website that can be consulted easily and that will also offer a number of accessory services, i.e.: a cumulative index, per year and per volume, of the 68 years of articles, notes and material, chronicles and accounts published in Scriptorium (2014 included), an alphabetical list of reviewers and of their contributions to the Bulletin codicologique, per year and per volume (also available).

We would like to point out that the website Scriptorium / Bulletin codicologique is the result of nine months of collaboration between the Centre International de Codicologie (CIC) ASBL and the IT-department of the Royal Library of Belgium - the latter developed the programming system. Equally important is the logistic support of the Royal Library of Belgium in general and of its Manuscript Department in particular, represented by its curator Bernard Bousmanne. Finally, this vast enterprise would not have been possible without the permanent support of Brussels-Capital Region and of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.

© CIC, November 2003