Reading Practices

Much attention is devoted in MEI to the description of manuscript annotations.

Inc.333 marginalia-recipes on titlepage

Like any other material evidence, they are geographically located, at least by area, and dated, at least by century.

Their analysis and description is thoroughly articulated in typology, frequency, and location in the book.

*** *** ***

The key-idea of MEI is to analyze and cathegorize each provenance clue by century (possibly decade) and by geographical area (city and/or country), so that the more the book was used and read in the past – underlined, annotated, rebound, decorated etc. – the more we have provenance blocks of information for describing it and thus retrievable data for research.

MEI indeed provides to classify, within space and time, the identities of the buyers and users -even if Anonymous- distinguishing between personal and insitutional ones, religious and lay, male and female etc., by profession – physician, lawyer, politician, clergy, scholar, civil servant, student, librarian etc. -, and by role (annotator, donor, censor, former owner etc.).

Bio-bibliographical investigations by MEI-editors on the identified owners refine their detection.

Among the material evidence of the users’ traces on books and pages, much space is devoted in MEI to the description of manuscript notes.

Their analysis and description is thoroughly articulated in 17 typologies: corrections, completions, supplements, extraction of key words, collation, translation, structuring the text (pagination etc.), comments, censorship, reading marks (underlining and pointing hands), drawings, corrections/notes by the printer, lecture notes, later rubrication, autograph, pen trials, personal notes.

Below you can see some examples of these typologies.

                                                       *** *** ***



BL_IA.24411 (9)  Inc. V. 162 corrections   Marc. Inc. 333 image correction  ir00214000_02000996 h6r


BL_C.13.c.9 (20) Well 4.c.19 index completion


Marc. Inc. 333 supplementInc. 333 entry_supplement_lunaria grasola

Inc. 333 entry supplement     BL 19.612a ©The British Library Board

Extraction of key words

BL_C.5.c.2 (25)  Inc. V. 499 keywords


BL_IA.24468 (17) il00334000_02013517 variant


Well 3.d.11 translation  Well 3.d.11

Structuring the text (pagination etc.)

BL_G.12028 (34) Marc. Inc. 805 structuring Marc. Inc. 138 structuring Marc. Inc. 138 structuring 2


Rari 632 comment comparacio1

Inc. V. 280_comments 1499

Inc.V.94 exhortation to study


Bodley, Arch. G b.2.

Well 2.d.22 own censorship   Well 2.d.22 own censorship_2   Well 2.d.22 own censorship_3

Reading marks (underlining and pointing hands)

Rari 632 manicula3  Rari 632 mark1  Rari 632 mark3  Rari 632 profilemark5  Rari 632 profilemark4

Marc. Inc. V. 725 manicula  Rari 632 profilemark2  Marc. Inc. V. 725 manicula2  Marc. Inc. V. 725 manicula3


BL_IC.41520 (22)  BL_IB.24403 (24)

Rari 632_Febo  Rari 632 friar

Corrections/notes by the printer

IA.6733a (2)  Misc. 1262.3-typographic correction

IA.17447 (18)

Lecture notes

Marc. Inc. V. 162

Later rubrication


Pen trials

Personal notes

*** *** ***



A few



Location in the book

First few pages

First half


Parts only