Cultural Heritage Markup Language for Manuscript Images Text-Encoding of Medieval Manuscripts Digitisation
Institute of Information Theories and Applications FOI ITHEA
The Arnamagnæan Institute, principally in the form of the present writer, has been involved in a
number of projects to do with the digitisation, electronic description and text-encoding of medieval manuscripts.
Several of these projects were dealt with in a previous article 'The view from the North: Some Scandinavian
digitisation projects', NCD review, 4 (2004), pp. 22-30. This paper looks in some depth at two others, MASTER
The Arnamagnæan Institute is a teaching and research institute within the Faculty of Humanities at the University
of Copenhagen. It is named after the Icelandic scholar and antiquarian Árni Magnússon (1663-1730), secretary of
the Royal Danish Archives and Professor of Danish Antiquities at the University of Copenhagen, who in the
course of his lifetime built up what is arguably the single most important collection of early Scandinavian
manuscripts in the world, some 2,500 manuscript items, the earliest dating from the 12th century. The majority of
these are from Iceland, but the collection also contains important Norwegian, Danish and Swedish manuscripts,
along with approximately 100 manuscripts of continental provenance. In addition to the manuscripts proper, there
are collections of original charters and apographa: 776 Norwegian (including Faroese, Shetlandic and Orcadian)
charters and 2895 copies, 1571 Danish charters and 1372 copies, and 1345 Icelandic charters and 5942 copies.
When he died in 1730, Árni Magnússon bequeathed his collection to the University of Copenhagen. The original
collection has subsequently been augmented through individual purchases and gifts and the acquisition of a
number of smaller collections, bringing the total to nearly 3000 manuscript items, which, with the charters and
apographa, comprise over half a million pages.