Ivana DOBCHEVA | Veronika WÖBER
(Austrian National Library, Vienna, Austria)

Keywords: digitalisation, fragments, manuscripts, bookbinding

The Benedictine monastery of Mondsee was an important local centre for book production in Upper Austria already shortly after its foundation in 748. Especially important for the book collection were the monastic reform movements, which prompted the production of new liturgical books and consequently the discarding of older ones. When a book-binding workshop was installed in the 15th century many of these older manuscripts, regarded as useless, were cut up and re-used as binding waste for new manuscripts, incunabula or archival materials.
The aim of our two-year project funded by the Austrian Academy of Science (Go Digital 2.0) is to bring the fragments kept today in the Austrian National Library, the State Library and Archive of Upper Austria in one virtual collection.
In this talk we would like to discuss some of the technical challenges we encountered by the digitalisation and processing, such as the work with small fragments partially hidden within the bookbinding, sewed in the middle of quires, or palimpsest leaves. Thanks to new tools and digital techniques we are able to visually document the fragments without detaching them from their host volumes. We will also address some disadvantages of digital facsimiles, namely the loss of information about the materiality of physical objects, and what steps we have undertaken to compensate for it through digital reconstructions and description of the fragments. In doing so we keep in mind the needs of a wide group of researchers from the fields of philology, codicology, history of the book and the bookbinding.