New MEI Editing Guidelines (English)



=== General ===
Editing in MEI: The creation of records in MEI has to be discussed and agreed with C. Dondi, New libraries will be assigned a “record owner” status, and their editors will be allowed to create and modify their records. Records pertaining to specific record owners can only be modified by the editors who created them.
Once you are provided with access rights to MEI, you will also receive access codes to the Patterns of Historic Shelfmarks CERL webpage, and to the MEI Editors Flickr account.
Language: The user interface of MEI is currently available in English, German, and Italian. To switch language, click “Language” in the lower left hand corner of the screen, just above the logos.
Login: To edit in the new MEI database, please click “Login” in the lower left hand corner of the screen, then “create a new account” and follow the instructions. Then notify C. Dondi of the submitted request. C. Dondi will activate the ability to create new records and edit them.
MEI editors enter the database by clicking “Login” in the lower left hand corner of the screen. You will notice on the top right-hand corner ‘logout’; this means that you are logged in.

[Help and Contact] Not active at present.
The ‘Select’ yellow buttons give access to information stored in other databases, from which MEI derives information, such as ISTC, or that have been created to support MEI. Select buttons must be clicked on to retrieve data for the MEI fields, otherwise live links will not be created.
MEI consists now of the main database plus satellite databases which have been developed in order to support editing, searching and retrieval in MEI. These can be accessed by clicking “Datasets” in the lower left hand corner of the screen, just above the logos. All are searchable and, for MEI editors, editable:
• Holding Institutions
• Owners of incunabula (Persons and Corporate bodies)
• Geographic regions (geonames applied to geographic areas)
At present this page gives access also to the “Scottish Book Trade Index”, as a test.
The MEI database allows for editing records at copy level only. I.e. it is not possible to edit bibliographical data extracted from ISTC.

Please note: If you decide to discard your editing without saving the new copy, leave the editor by clicking ‘Cancel’.
Please note: You cannot edit a copy while someone else is working on it. If, for whatever reason, you get locked out of the record you are working on, you can unlock it by yourself [[recordID]
Name of record creator / revisor: Please add in the ‘Notes’ field of the ‘Holding Information’ section of the COPY folder: “Created by [name+surname]”. If the record is later revised by somebody else, please add “Created by [name+surname]. Revised by [name+surname]”. In this way the individual contributions are acknowledged and it is possible to refer to them.

==== MEI: How to create a new record ====
Select ‘Create a new record’ from the ‘More …’ menu in the upper right hand side of the screen.
You will see three folders:
• Copy (general description of the copy in hand)
• Evidence #1 (repeatable, where we record any provenance evidence)
• About this record (filled in automatically: it indicates the record owner. However, please check that a record owner has been assigned to the record, otherwise you will receive an error message when trying to save the record)

The first folder in your editor relates to the ‘copy in general’. It is followed by as many “Evidence” folders as the steps of the life of the book which the editor can identify.
Changing the order of the Evidence blocks:
If you need to change the order of the blocks of provenance, in case new or more evidence is found and new blocks have to be created or old ones moved, click on the two black arrows on the right-hand side of the “Evidence #1, 2. Etc” block and drag them up or down in the position you want. The system will then ask you to confirm whether you want to change the order. For example, you have a record with 1, 2, 3, 4 blocks of provenance. You want to swith the position of 2 and 3. Click on and drag the arrows of the third block onto the second. You will be asked to confirm the new order 1,3,2,4. By confirming the order will be changed.
When changing the order of the evidence blocks of provenance information make sure the ‘copy in general’ folder remains always the first one.
(NEW) Copy (MEI) ID: automatically generated number which identifies a copy. It is generated when a new record is saved and it is visible only when a record is displayed.

Database Segment: This field allows to cluster several libraries together by assigning the copy to an agreed cluster, for example ‘Regione Lombardia’, ‘Regione Veneto’ etc.
Please note: this needs to be agreed with C. Dondi.
(NEW) Language of description: select your language of description among Dutch, English, German, Italian and Spanish. NB: the language needs to be set manually at the starting of a new record and at the opening of a record created with the old version of MEI.
ISTC No. (= Identification of the edition)
First of all the editor should check ISTC and find the ISTC number matching the copy in hand, and copy it.
In MEI, ISTC No., click Select: a new window will open where you can type the ISTC number (or paste it), if you already know it, or search for it by using any available element (Author, Title, Place of imprint, Printer, Date etc.). Click on the record and the ISTC number will fill automatically.
Please Note: Check that it is the correct edition, and that your copy is among the ones listed. if not, keep a note of it and let C. Dondi know, or write directly to ISTC ( and IGI for incunabula in Italian libraries ( please copy C. Dondi in.

Please Note: The ISTC number is automatically generated and should not be changed unless the copy record has to be transferred to another bibliographical record (e.g. if the book being recorded is the copy of an edition other than the one formerly identified)
Please Note: All data pertaining to the bibliographic record (the edition) are taken from ISTC, they must not be changed.

Holding Institution: ID Name of Library that currently holds the described copy. Automatically generated when the name is retrieved from ‘Holding Institutions’ database, where all information on the institution or corrections to the complete name of it have to be made.
Click Select. If the library is not present in MEI, click ‘Create a new record’. You will access the Holding Institution Database, where you write:
Library ID: [it will be generated automatically]. It is the same as the “short form of name” but without spaces, that is the ISTC sigla for that library WITHOUT SPACES. Ex: GorlaMinore, for Gorla Minore, Biblioteca “Lina Airoldi” del Collegio Rotondi.
Institution’s Name: The official and complete name of the Library.
Short form of name: The name of the library as it appears in ISTC.
Country: GB, IT, US, etc.
GeonamesID: this is a number assigned to places and substitutes traditional coordinates (see: In MEI, Holding Institutions have to be georeferenced, the same as any other place related to a copy; so, please, add the GeonamesID of the place of your Holding Institution. You will find it in a list that you access by clicking ‘Select’. NB: choose the PPL number (which identifies the place as ‘populated’; not the ADM number nor numbers assigned to institutions).
Other fields (ISIL, Adress etc.) are optional.

Collection: Name of collection or sub-group the copy belongs to within the library, for example King’s Library, Grenville Library, Sloane Collection.
Shelfmark: Current shelfmark of the described copy
Holding Note: Insert here information relating to the availability or accessibility of copy (e.g. access restriction), alternative shelfmarks (when a copy is currently known/quoted under more than one shelfmark).
Note: Any information pertaining the described copy that do not fit in any other place. This entry can be repeated.
Editors should use this Note field to sign the record they are creating or revising, by filling the field with a ‘Created by (or by adding a ‘Revised by’) [name + surname]’.

Add here info on other copies bound within the same volume. Incunables will be retrieved through the ISTC number (yellow button) and if they are already in MEI you should add the MEI number manually.
Please note: a link between records which describe incunables bound together is generated only when the MEI No. is retrieved through the system. Editors are therefore invited to first create each copy of a sammelband and then to create the link between them.

Note: Any information that relates to the history of the described copy and that is not given in any of the provenance evidence fields
Time period: please, give the time period where the described event occurred. The whole field can be repeated.

Physical description: missing leaves (ex: wants a1r), misbound, etc.
Leaf height: in mm.
Leaf width: in mm.

This field has been created to allow researchers to identify very quickly important copy features found in incunabula. It offers an immediate view on issues such as incomplete copies, made up copies, etc.. It offers important quantitative options.
Copy features: choose all relevant definitions.
Copy features note: Free field in case you need to provide further information.
Support material note: [NOT MUCH USED] Free field in case you need to provide further information.
Support material (book): Material of printed leaves.
Support material (plates): Material of illustration, generally full-page, for example a Crucifixion illustration on parchment inserted in a book printed on paper.
Watermark: tick if the paper has watermark.
Note on watermark: give information on the watermark.
(NEW) Link to Bernestein database: url of the database, where the description of the pattern of the watermark can be read.
URL: give the url of a digital facsimile of the described copy, if available, or simply a URL to link to an external resource with a picture of some aspect of the copy described (ex: Flickr account).
Display text: visible caption, whatever you type here will appear as live link. If you offer a url of a digital image in Bridwell library and type in display text “Copy in Bridwell Library, 06444” this will be a live link ; see MEI 02009054. ATTENTION: Something must be written here, otherwise the url link will not be displayed.
Note: If necessary, more information on the reproduction provided can be given here.
Identifier: Record Identifiers not listed in ISTC. At the moment identifiers from GW, HPB, IGI, BSB-Ink and SBN(A) can be recorded (see below).
Source: Select the database/catalogue the identifier ID refers to.
Cataloguer’s Note: Working notes, are not displayed publicly.
Source: Add here more bibliographical references, such as studies and publications involving the copy, that have been consulted in the creation of this record.
Completeness: Select one of the two options provided. The editor should use ‘incomplete’ if he/she is including info from published catalogues which do not offer a full description; ‘complete’ if he/she believes no more info can be obtained, or the fields have all been covered.
Editing History: Automatically generated. It records all interventions to the specific record. Now visible only from the editing interface.

=== EVIDENCE 1, 2 etc. (= Provenance evidence) ===
Please remember that an important facility of MEI is to locate and date every piece of evidence; that means generating a new “Evidence folder” for each different block of evidence (not for different type of evidence relating to the same person/institution).
Example: John Smith, London 16th-century, with 16th-century binding, his ownership inscription, and 16th-century English decoration will probably go all in 1 Evidence folder. A German decoration of the 15th-century, then a German or English ownership of the 18th century will go in different evidence folders: one will include 15th-century German
decoration, to indicate that the book in the 15th century was first used in Germany, then a new folder for the 18th-century German/English owner.
* Each change in ownership is recorded by the evidence found in the book or elsewhere.
* PLEASE NOTE, the purpose of the MEI database is to track the movement of the book, from the place it was printed (represented by the bibliographical information), through its first and successive owners or areas, to the library where the book is held at present; THEREFORE THE LAST BLOCK OF PROVENANCE SHOULD ALWAYS BE AN ENTRY FOR THE LIBRARY WHICH HOLDS THE BOOK TODAY, possibly with the year of its foundation.
* If more than one type of evidence relates to an ownership, please record them in the same evidence form (or block of provenance). For example, 16th century German ownership and 16th century German binding.
* To add a new block of provenance click the blue //Add another empty Evidence Field// at the end of a block of Provenance. “Evidence #2, 3 etc.” will immediately show below, as a separate block of evidence.
* If possible provide the evidence in chronological order. It is however possible to change the order of the evidence blocks, by using the arrows that are displayed on the right hand side of the Evidence folder in the quick display (see instruction above p.2, “Changing the order of provenance blocks”)
* To delete a whole Evidence description block, click on the bin on the right hand side of the Evidence folder.
* Save the record.
* To delete a Provenance within an Evidence description block, empty all fields and save.
* Save the record.
Evidence sequence [#1, #2 …]: Automatically generated number to group together the information of an evidence description.
Place – Place Name: If possible, give the place where the ownership described in this evidence can be located.
(NEW) Place GeonamesID: Select the appropriate number from the list provided (click Select); if more than one number is assigned to a place, select the ‘PPL’ (populated place) no. (not the ‘ADM’, nor other numbers)
Note: If necessary, add clarifications or specification on the place here.
MARC Area Code (see also:|MARC Area Code): Provide here the broader geographic area associated with the ownership described in this provenance section. In particular to assign evidence coming from binding, decoration, manuscript annotations, etc. You may use the lookup-wizard by clicking the ‘Select’.
Note: If necessary, give any remarks or clarifications on the geographic area here.
Originally conceived to offer the possibility of dating, by century, a binding or decoration or ms annotation. Also, to offer a broad view, again by century, of the circulation of books.
With the conversion of the dating by century into numbers, there is an inevitable tendency, which we welcome, towards precision. This can be expressed in a number of ways. For example, a book owned by a person born in 1550 will not be tagged simply 1501-1600, but 1550-1600. A book printed in Venice in 1482 and used in Germany in the 15th century will now be tagged 1482-1500. An owner whose dates are 1754 to 1830 owned several books, and therefore we used to tag 18th to 19th century. However, if you have a book with a purchasing date of 1802, you can more precisely define the time the book was in his possession as 1802-1830. If there is a sure provenance date of, say, 1535, and nothing else, use that in the time period (start and end); it will display “1535-1535”. If you don’t know the year, leave it blank. If you only know the date of death, leave the start period blank and the result will be “ – 1850”. If the end time period is not terminated yet, leave it blank, for example, a book purchased by the bodleian in 1840 will appear “1840 – “.
To summarise, editors need, as ever, to use their brain, and decide the best possible way to represent numerically the situation. Please consult the separe file named


We recognise that this conversion may well have caused issues, which we will strive to address and rectify as we go along; please let us know what needs to be addressed, as we should be able to fix records in bulk with the new “bulk editing” feature.
(NEW) Give the Start and End of the time period associated with the described ownership.
NB: This is the old MEI’s allocation of period by century; now the system only accepts four digit numbers: ‘1234 – 5678’; please, do not add expressions like ca., approximately etc.: they would prevent the retrieval of the record.
NB: A ‘Note’ field will be introduced here to comment on approximate dating, the same way we have one already in place in the Owner of Incunabula Index, to comment on Activity.
*Note for current MEI editors: Centuries have now been changed into numerical range.
(NEW) MEI now has a Index of Owners, from where we can retrieve all relevant information pertaining to a provenance name already entered in MEI. Before creating new entries manually, therefore, please check the Index, following these guidelines:
How to retrieve data from the Owners’ Index into a MEI record:
Click the yellow “Add another Provenance name field” to access the Index of Owners. The window “Search Owner” will appear. Please type the name you are searching. A list of options will be offered. If your name is among the list, just select it by double clicking on it. In this case a new set of provenance fields already populated with information pertaining to that owner will appear in the MEI record. You only have to add “role”, as this can change.
Please note: the provenance fields just above, if blank, will automatically disappear when you save the record.
If the name you look for is not already in the Index, or you received ‘no results’, click “Create a new owner”. This will direct you to the Index of Owners of Incunabula and the possibility of creating new Owner record. Click “Provenance name” and fill in the various fields (see below, “How to populate an entry in the Index of Owners”). Once you save this Owner record a record number will be allocated, take a note of this. Now you can go back to your MEI record, close the window about creating a new record Owner. At this stage it takes a little time for the system to register the new owner, so it cannot be retrieved straight away. We suggest to do the following: fill in by hand the fields of this new Provenance, including adding the ID of the record Owner that you just created. Make sure what you type matches exactly the information you provided in the new record Owner. This manual operation only needs to be done the first time a new Owner record is created. After that the record will be automatically retrievable from the Index.
ATTENTION: By clicking the yellow “Select” button you will only retrieve an Owner’s number, not the entire information related to that owner.
ATTENTION: By clicking the blue “Add another empty Evidence Field” you create a new block of provenance.
How to add another ‘Provenance name’ section in the same evidence block (eg., when adding the heirs of a given collection if the collection has not moved nor changed property, or a member of a religious order who is using the book which belongs to the order’s library, or else):
Simply click the YELLOW tab “Add another Provenance name field” and select your name. This and previous names will appear within the same Provenance Evidence block.

(NEW) Please Note: Person and Corporate body are now in the same field: please choose. General information on the owners (and the story of the collections) can be provided in the Owners Index (authority records of the owners).
The entry is divided in two parts: Provenance name and Activity #1, 2, etc. (repeatable).
Provenance name include the following fields:
Personal Name: [Surname, Name]. Example: Correr, Theodorus. If a religious, add the Sigla, ex: Cleuen, Franciscus, OSB
Corporate Name (religious): [City, Order, Dedication, Sigla]. Example: Venice, Benedictines, S. Zacharia, OSB. This is basically the Bod-inc and IPI model, which allows best browsing.
Corporate Name (lay): [City, Name]. Example: Brescia, Biblioteca Queriniana
Use ‘Anonymous’ when the geographical and/or chronological evidence is offered by manuscript notes / binding / decoration / stamps / historic shelfmark / price, without indication of ownership. For example: Italy, 15th century, anonymous, mss notes (from palaeographical evidence).
Type: choose between Corporate body or Person.
Gender: please choose.
Biographical dates – Period of existence: In the sequence 1234 – 5678; or 1234- (if still active)
Note: Add here whatever is relevant for the history of the library of the individual or institution. If a lot of work has been done by the editor, the editor should sign and date this part in the form: “(created by John Lancaster, 2 February 2016)”; if other editors add information it should be equally recorded. Similarly, if we import here information from other catalogues or databases we offer the source, in this form “(source: IPI)”.
Other Identifier: [repeatable] relavant bibliographical reference. For example links to Cerl Thesaurus (CT) and in the near future, Database of Provenance images.
Variant name: repeteable.
Start (year) use only numbers.
End (year) use only numbers.
These fields allow to distinguish separate period in the life of a person or institution, always with special reference to their library/s. Please follow the separate guidelines provided in

Note: Use this to define the numbers. For example, “floruit”, “approximate dates”, start period approximate” “end period approximate”.
MARC area code [Select]
Note. Some editors use this Note field for adding free text information relating to the library of the owner, when such information can be associated specifically with a period in the life of the owner, captured in the Activity. For example, Boutourlin had two libraries in Russia and in Florence, therefore there are two activities for him, and information specifically referring to the Florence library will go in the second Activity.
Geonames Id [‘Select’ yellow button]
Profession / Type of institution [choose]
Characterisation [choose]
If you are aware of different stages in the life of the owner, you can now record them separately, by clicking “Add another activity field” [for example a student in Padua, then a physician in Nuremberg, etc.]

Only once saved for the first time and in Display mode this record will present at the top a record ID.

Role: Please choose.
Provenance Type: select all the relevant options. (NEW)
(NEW) Link to provenance image:
(NEW) Date of evidence: A four-digit number. A space to type a precise date, when present, for example a purchase date, or any date mentioned in an inscription of an otherwise unknown person which helps us placing the owner in a period around that date. Example. “1489”, and in the following Note: “On a1r in an Italian hand: ‘…quod emit Venetiae 1489….’. “1545”. And in the following Note: “On a1r an inscription in English in brown ink: ‘my brother died in 1545 etc…’.” Also, any precise date of acquisition from documentary evidence. In this case the editor needs to explain the date in the Note, as any element provided should be self evident. Example: Date of Evidence: “1834” Note: “Douce books were bequeathed to the Bodleian in 1834”.
Note: Free text to transcribe an ownership inscription, or to provide further provenance information which is not expressed in the book itself such as ‘Cicogna bequeathed his collection to the city of Venice’, etc.
Method of acquisition: Controlled language. Please choose.

Binding Note: Free text to describe a binding. Note: The name of the binder has to be placed in a block of provenance, the same as a former owner.
Binding Date: Controlled language. Please Choose century.
Binding Type: Controlled language. Please choose.
(NEW) Binding height; depth; width: in mm.
(NEW) Binding description in EBDB: provide a reference to the EBDB or other binding databases.
Board Material: Controlled language. Please choose.
Cover Material: Controlled language. Please choose.
Binding Status: Controlled language. Please choose.
Furniture: Controlled language. Please choose.
Titling: Controlled language. Please choose.
Tooling: Controlled language. Please choose.
Edges: Controlled language. Please choose.
Writing on edges: Controlled language. Please choose.
Gauffered: Controlled language. Please choose.

Decoration Note: Free text to describe decoration.
Decoration Elements: Controlled language. Tick as many as needed.

Rubrication note: Free text to transcribe the note.
Rubrication date: Insert the year in the form 1234.

Controlled language. Please tick as many as needed.
Manuscript notes: Free text to describe the notes.
Ms notes (frequency): Controlled language. Please choose.
(NEW) Location in the book: Controlled language. Please choose.

Stamps (note on stamps): Free text to describe a stamp.

On the CERL website there is a “Pattern of Historic Shelfmarks” table, which MEI editors use to gather data on historic shelfmark found in incunabula. This table sits within the CERL’s website, that is outside MEI. Eventually, live links will be provided in both directions.
Shelfmark pattern No.: Add here a number corresponding to the pattern, NOT a transcription of the shelfmark.
Shelfmark Description: Free text to describe the hist. shelfmark.
If the shelfmark you want to describe does not match any of the listed patterns, please add your new pattern, then add that number in this field.
Example: Shelfkmark pattern no. : “22”. Shelfmark description: “B. 7 n. 3 manuscript on c. a2r”. The “Pattern of Historic Shelfmarks” table will tell us that that shelfmark pattern no. 22 was used by the Franciscans of San Cerbone as evidence by MEI record 02005628 now in Florence, Biblioteca Provinciale dei Frati Minori.

If a historic shelfmark pattern corresponds to the one you are describing, simply provide in the “pattern of historic shelfmark” field in MEI the number which corresponds to that pattern. If you have a new pattern, then you have to add it to the list.
To be able to modify the CERL webpage with the patterns of ‘Historic Shelfmarks’ ([]=pattern) you have to access the HELP pages of the CERL Website. Please get in touch with Cristina Dondi if you have not been given this access yet.
By clicking “Pattern of Historic Shelfmarks” you enter into the page. Click “login”, in the top right-hand corner, just below the “search” box. Type your Username and Password. Once in, click at the very bottom of the page, right-hand side, “edit this page”, and just copy the style of editing already used in the table. Click “Preview” to check that your additions have been inserted correctly; if positive, click “Save”, then log out. To access this page from the CERL website (instead of from MEI), you have to click “login”, and continue as described above.

Price (amount): Insert numbers here such as 345 or 6.6.0.
Price (currency): Specify currency here such as French Francs, this will soon become a controlled list of currencies, like for the patterns of hist. shelfmarks.
Note: Free text to comment on the price.

[Editing Status] Certainty: Please note whether the information provided is certain or uncertain. For example, if transferring data from a printed catalogue which may offer a dubious transcription of an ownership note, please choose ‘uncertain’. If you are offering an educated guess, but think that there is space for improvement, please choose ‘uncertain’. The editing status should be set when a new evidence is created or when substantial changes are made to an evidence description. Clicking here will set a new status, which is displayed publicly in the record’s full display. Indicate the reliability of your evidence description.
[Editing Status] Source: Give the type of source your evidence description is based on. Multiple sources can be ticked.
Book in hand = if you are working…book in hand, mostly recording copy specific information relating to the book in hand for the first time. Bibliography = If you are transcribing from secondary sources (ex. Catalogue of incunabula of Sir Thomas Smith; the copy census of an edition, etc.). Library catalogue = if you are transcribing from a library catalogue, whether in print or electronic. Auction/sales catalogues = if the information provided comes from auction or booksellers catalogues. Historical Library Catalogue / Accession Journal = if your infromation comes from these type of ducumentary sources. Unknown/other, for the rest.

=== About this record ===

Context (Record owner): Automatically generated (different editors generate records belonging to different record owners, for example, Richard Foster and Winchester College). However, please check that a record owner is provided.

Historical copies are records extracted from library catalogues of collections now dispersed. Of these copies we know the exact edition they belong to, we know that at a certain point in the past they belonged to a certain private or institutional owner, but we do not know their present location. It is very important to keep these records separate from the rest of the copies described in MEI.
Their importance for Provenance history is such, however, that we have devised a way to record them in MEI:

Insert in “Database Segment”: “Historical Copy”
Insert in “Holding Institution”: “HistoricalCopy” (yes, with no space).
Select in “Evidence 1” (or 2, 3 etc), “Source”: “Hist. Library Catalogue”
Fill in the fields relating to the owner as usual, indicating in the field “Provenance Note” the source of the provenance information, for example “catalogue of the Library of the Franciscans of Monteaperti, 18 century, Siena, MS **** ff. ***”.
Select in “Type of Provenance”: “Bibliographic reference”.
In the future, if/when the physical copy of this record is identified, we just have to remove replace “Historical copy” from the entry “Holding Institution” with the name of the Library now holding the copy that once belonged to the Franciscans of Monteaperti, and add the shelfmark in the apposite field.
“Historical copy” in “Segment” should be retained for the moment.

Exactly the same process can be applied to copies in the trade. See record MEI 00200404:
Insert in “Database segment”: “Trade copy”.
Insert in “Holding Institution”: “TradeCopy” (yes, with no space).
In Shelfmark: “Sotheby, London, 2013, lot 209”.
We then create the record with as many blocks of provenance as are witnessed by the book. The last block of provenance will be Sotheby, with, in the Note field of the Provenance Note, a full record of the sale catalogue: “Music and Continental Books and Manuscripts, London 5-6 June 2013, lot 209 (£30,000-40,000)”.
If the book will resurface in a public library or in private hands which want to share the information, all we have to do is change Holding Institution and Shelfmark to the current one, and add a new block of provenance to reflect current ownership. The Sotheby’s block of provenannce evidence will be just another step in the life and movements of the book.


This option is now in place but it is not working that well. Our advice to the Editors is to take pictures and store them for the moment. CERL is in the process of setting up a Provenance Digital Archive where images can be stored, metadata created, and then linked out to MEI.

A Flickr account under the name of Aldus Manutius has been created to be used by all MEI editors, to allow to upload images which they want to link out to from the MEI database (while CERL provenance images database in preparation).
To link to a single image, please follow these instructions (provided by MEI editor John Lancaster):
After uploading the image:
1) click on the photo – the image will appear in a separate window;
2) move the cursor to lower right – several icons appear when that is done (otherwise they are hidden);
3) click on the one on the right – it’s a downward-pointing arrow. If the cursor hovers over it, the label “Download this photo” appears. (The label is a little misleading, since you can do other things too.)
4) a box will pop up – click on “View all sizes”;
5) the image will appear again, but now with a list of sizes above it – “Large 1024” is always highlighted for me (but if the image is smaller, that may differ);
6) right-click on the image, and choose “Copy image address” – the address will be temporarily saved, so you can paste it elsewhere;
7) go back to the MEI page where you want to link the image, position the cursor, and paste the address, either by using the menu or in most cases just typing Ctrl-V (Windows) or Cmd-V (Mac).

Provenance type: Inscription
When an inscription cannot be read, please provide further information, by using consistently one of the following expressions:
* Erased inscription: when in the book can be found an ownership inscription later erased and not legible.
* Deleted inscription: when in the book can be found an ownership inscription later crossed out and not legible.
* Unread inscription: when in the book can be found an ownership inscription which the cataloguer is not able to read (but maybe somebody else will).


ID. It is the short form of name, that is the ISTC name, but without spaces and without accents. This is a database requirement.
Institution’s name: The full name of the library.
Short form of name: The ISTC form of name
Country: please use the MARC codes
Geonames ID [select]

[The following are optional:]
ISIL (International standard identifier for libraries)
MARC Organisation Code
HPB File code

1) To assign a chronological descriptor, necessarily approximate, to material evidence such as binding, decoration, manuscript annotations assigned on palaeoraphical competence
2) Use these data, that is a combination of precise dating and approximative dating, to search e visualise wide-ranging queries. In this way, a former owner with biographical dates 1489-1530, a binding datable to 1501-1600, a marginal annotation mentioning the year “1523”, will all be retrievable when querying the database for books used in a certain place between 1501 and 1550.

Dating by Time Periods is no longer using centuries, but ONLY NUMBERS. As numbers have to be read by the system, there cannot be letters or symbols, but only “1234 – 5678”. Here below you can find out how to continue expressing an approximate or generic dating, whilst conforming to new requirements:


XVI-XVII sec 1501-1600
Fl.1510 1510 ‘Floruit’
16..-17.. 1501-1600 ‘Approximate date’
16?-17? 1501-1600 ‘Approximate date’
?-1678 -1678
1540-? 1540-


This manner of presenting time periods allows the editors to be more precise, by using any available date, for example, the imprint date as a term after which, necessarily, the volume has been used in the 15th century. Therefore, all time periods assigned to the 15th century will have to be converted taking into consideration the imprint date, that is:


 Imprint date YES NOTE FIELD
Pr. 1476 1476-1500 ‘ Approximate date’
Pr. not after 1489 1489-1500 ‘Approximate date’
Pr. between 1489-92 1492-1500 ‘Approximate date’


Similarly, the editor should use any given date to limit the dating by time periods, for example, purchase dates, or dates mentioned in manuscript annotations:


(acquisition 1582) 1582-1582 ‘Floruit’
(mention of 1678 and 1692) 1678-1692 ‘Floruit’
(owner’s biographical dates: 1523-1578) 1523-1578
(owner’s biographical dates: 1523-1578, plus purchase note 1545) 1545-1578
(owner’s biographical dates: 1523-1578, plus purchased note 1545, plus sale note 1575) 1545-1575


There are two types of dating in the Index, biographical dates, and dates of activity.
Rossi, Paolo, 1856-1938
Venezia, Benedettini, S. Georgius Maior, OSB 982-1806
If full dates are not known, the editor will use approximate dates as outlines above, for time periods.

The Activity allows to single out meaningful changes in the life of the owner (and its collection).

For example, the German student Christoph Scheurl, purchased books while a student in Bologna between 1500 and 1503; back in Nuremberg, he continued to enrich the library. The objective here to be able to capture the fact that the book, by being purchased in Italy, was first distributed in Italy, not in Germany where it was later taken; see MEI 02000451, Laetus Venice 1499 owned by Scheurl.
Example: biographical dates: 1481-1542
Activity 1: 1500-1503 Bologna, student
Activity 2: 1504-1542 Nuremberg, scholar

Count Boutourlin with his two collections, the first in Moscow, the second in Florence.

The monastery first secularised, then open again with a new book collection.




IF you are copy&pasting data from other pages, please check that you are not including a tab stop character, because it causes the rendering of the entry form to fail. Although tab stop characters are not by definition wrong, they are never meant to be there. When developing the editing client I didn’t anticipate someone entering them, for it is not likely to enter a tab stop into a web form by typing, since hitting the tab key should jump the cursor to the next field; (from Alex Jahnke).


(NEW 7 June 2016 by J. Lancaster) INDEX OF OWNERS – Personal vs. corporate entries for booksellers
This came about as the result of looking at the case of Bernard Quaritch, and the firm that continued after his death, eventually becoming Bernard Quaritch Ltd. (as it is to this day).  Bernard Quaritch the man began his career in 1847, but the firm as a corporate body began only in 1899, after Bernard’s death.  Of course, as is the case for most individual booksellers, Bernard had a business, with employees, etc. – but he was the principal and clearly had full responsibility.  After his death, the responsibility was more diffuse, even though the firm was not converted to a limited company until 1917.This will surely come up repeatedly with individual booksellers – they will almost always have a company structure, whether incorporated or limited, or not, and often with employees, but when the principal responsibility lies with a single person, it is appropriate to enter the provenance under that individual (e.g. H. P. Kraus).  When that person no longer bears the responsibility, whether by reorganization, retirement, incapacity, or death, and the company continues under the same name, then that’s when a record for the corporate body should start.
Cristina Dondi and Alessandra Panzanelli, 25 January 2016; rev. C. Dondi 2 Feb. 2016.