FactGrid:Data model for manuscripts

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Data model for manuscripts

The purpose of this data model is to record as much descriptive data on manuscripts as possible as linked open data; this means in a standardized vocabulary. The project does not aim at making all data of the manuscript descriptions accessible in this form. In some cases, exchange standards are still missing, for example in the case of the quire structure of codices.

This data model is developed according the "DFG-Richtlinien Handschriftenkatalogisierung", chapter "Mittelalterliche Handschriften" [DFG].

The standard model for a medieval manuscript item is Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Broxbourne 84.3 (Item:Q195086)

The data model should allow a data import from different sources, including the most important database for medieval manuscripts in German Handschriftencensus [HSC], and the upcoming Handschriftenportal. An important standard for manuscript description is the TEI msdescription module [TEI]. The Property TEI ID Property:P535 connects FactGridProperties with the TEI.

manuscript items

Label and Description


Every manuscript item should be labeled with "Place, Library, Shelfmark" [Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Broxbourne 84.3; München, Staatsbibliothek, Cgm 252 ] (Place and library names in language of home country; 4° = 4o)

Quickstatement: Len; Lde


The description is a statement on the textual content of the manuscript. It gives "Shelfmark; language and mediatype: information on content". Content = author and title or title/texttype (DFG: Sachtitel) or the topic of a multiple text manuscript (DFG: "sumarische Inhaltsbezeichnung (z.Bsp. kanonistische Sammelhandschrift)").

  • Example: [MS Broxbourne 84.3; German manuscript: Geomancy – Astrology – Recipes for fire weapons (Büchsenmeisterbuch) – Prognostication – Wonder-Drug Recipes – 'Großes Planetenbuch']

Quickstatement: Den; Dde


Alias = "shelfmark" and (if available) "name of the manuscript"

  • Example: [MS Broxbourne 84.3]

QuickStatement: Aen

instance of


Every manuscript should be marked as manuscript (Item:Q15).

manuscript type

According to the format the manuscript is either a

(There are more manuscript types for non-european manuscripts.)

lost manuscripts

If the manuscript is lost:

P2 is Item:Q5 (lost object)

additional information

core information (DFG:Schlagzeile)

Following information should be provided for every manuscript

Project information

research projects that contributed to this data set (Property:P131) => instance of "FactGrid research statement" (Item:Q11295) with "begin date", "author", "online information" etc.


  • Property:P409 (Formed a set with) can be used to link to other manuscripts of the same collection (Überlieferungsverbund)

online resources


(#hier gibts doch schon was, auch ein Datenmodell?)

special information for codices

instance of

Depending on the production of the codex, a codex is either a

  • monomerous codex (Item:Q195260) = a manuscript containing a single codicological unit (Item:Q195167) = a manuscript containing one production unit
  • composite (Item:Q195262) = a codex which contains two or more codicological units (Item:Q195167) = a manuscript containing several production unit

Depending on the number of texts in is every production unit (monomerouse codex or codicological unit) can be either a

  • Single Text Manuscript (#new)
  • Multiple Text Manuscript (#new)

A codex discissus (Item:Q256451) is a codex that was formerly bound together, but is now divided into several parts and kept as independent library units (codices or fragments).

materiality of codices

  • bookbinding tools used (#new property)
    • a "bookbinding tool" (#new Item) can be a "Streicheisen", a "blind stamp", "bookbinder stamp" (#new), a "bookbinder plate" (#new), "bookbinder roll" (#new), identified tools can have an EBDB ID [2]

manuscript content

Data model for codices (work, genre etc.).jpg

section in a document

For every distinguishable 'section in a document' (a text, a music peace etc.) a separate item is created, instance of Item:Q10674.

Every section item should be labeled with "section: Place, Library, Shelfmark, fol. 'X-Y'" [section: Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Broxbourne 84.3, fol. 1r-1v]

The section description gives the title of the work transmitted.

necessary information

PhiloBiblon textual witness

  • PhiloBiblon calls each of the sections of a manuscript a Textual Witness (Item:Q195274). It prefixes the Label with "MS" or "Ed.", depending on whether the witness is part of a manuscript or a print publication. It is Part of Property:P8 the manuscript and a Work context Property:P590. It differs in its treatment of Incipit and Excipit (Explicit) and does not include language information unless the language or dialect is different from the language of the Work context Property:P590. See below

manuscript related information

  • The order number of the section in the manuscript is given with the property 'position in sequence' (P499)Property:P499.

content related information

PhiloBiblon: treatment of incipit Property:P70 and excipit Property:P602

The textual witness of a work can be divided into multiple sections (e.g., prologue, main text, epilogue) and can therefore have multiple paired Incipits and Excipits. In order to maintain the incipit/excipit pairing for each section of the textual witness, Segmentation [[Property:P543] is used with the appropriate Q# for the first value, e.g., Prologue. This is qualified by incipit Property:P70, Folio(s) [[Property:P100] for the location of the Incipit; and excipit Property:P602, Folio(s) [[Property:P100] for the location of the Excipit. The process is repeated for each succeeding value. PhiloBiblon uses a near-paleographic transcription to capture medieval usage.

See exemplary item : MS: Fernando. Historia de la traslación del glorioso cuerpo del bienaventurado san Millán, Madrid, RAH, Cod. 59, ff. 136va-139va (Item:Q393577).

It is not clear that this model can be imported using QuickStatements. The default in Wikibase is to collapse the two values of Incipit location and Excipit location under Folio(s) [[Property:P100] rather than correlating them with the Incipit and the Excipit.

Charles Faulhaber (talk) 02:48, 20 February 2024 (CET) Charles Faulhaber (talk) 20:14, 23 February 2024 (CET)

external information


Property:P590 with the corresponding Item:Q14239

Every work is labled with a "author: title" or "title". (For medieval German text, the titles used in the Verfasserlexikon are used. Other titles used by scholars should be given as alias.)

description = genre statement

Property 'media type', could be 'text' (Q195273), ...

A work can be an instance of a genre Item:Q11207 (#LINK to 'list of genres') [or as property genre/sujet (P576)?]


PhiloBiblon: Treatment of work

A work can be divided into multiple sections (e.g., prologue, main text, epilogue) and can therefore have multiple paired Incipits and Excipits. In order to maintain the incipit/excipit pairing for each section of the work, Segmentation [[Property:P543] is used with the appropriate Q# for the first value, e.g., Prologue. The process is repeated for each succeeding value. PhiloBiblon modernizes incipits and excipts in order to facilitate searching..

See exemplary item Fernando. Historia de la traslación del glorioso cuerpo del bienaventurado san Millán (Item:Q395559).

  • date
  • place of origin
  • language Property:P18
  • GND ID
  • genre/sujet (P576)
  • areas of knowledge adressed (P608)
  • literature
  • edition (P???)

online information (Property:P146)

Field of Knowledge and Topic/Object of Discourse

All fields of knowledge should have a P2 + Q76109 statement, all topics a P2 + Q23455 information in order to allow an easy check of new fields and topics against already existing items.


certainty of data

Property:P155 is there to give the certainty of a statement


Date = P106

Precision of Date = Property:P467 (with a list of items to use with this property)

List of FactGRid properties for dates: https://tinyurl.com/yje9w5u5

Example for second half of the 14th century:"P106 $1375-00-00T00:00:00Z/7 P467 Q255217". Explanation: 1375 is not a precise date. In this format (/7) FactGrid displays it as "14th Century" with the "precision of date" (P467) "second half of the century" (Q255217). In a SPARQL-query and in a timeline the date will be shown as 1. January 1375.


P107 should be used to give the total number of folios/pages of a manuscript/codex

P577 can be used to give a collation string, e.g. "II + 523" (in this case P107 would be "525")

It should be noted that in Anglo-American descriptive bibliography "collation" refers to the physical make-up of the manuscript or printed book, i.e., the number of gatherings and the number of leaves in each gathering.

This is indicated by a formula, with the gatherings indicated by their signatures and the number of leaves by superscript numbers, e.g. a-d8 means that the manuscript (or printed edition) has 4 gatherings, signed a b c d, and each gathering has 8 leaves, for a total of 32 leaves in the book. Each gathering would be composed of 4 bifolios. By definition all gatherings must have an even number of leaves unless one has been deleted, either by accident or intentionally. In either case the loss should be indicated.

The classic description of the collation in this sense is Fredson Bowers, Principles of Bibliographic Description (1st ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1949. This is designed for printed books.

See also Philipp Gaskell. A new introduction to bibliography. New Castle (Del.), 1995

M. J. Pearce. A workbook of analytical and descriptive bibliography. London, 1970

Roger Laufer. Introduction à la textologie: vérification, établissement, édition des textes. Paris, 1972

A useful explanation on the web is Collation Formula https://manual.stcv.be/p/Collation_Formula

FactGrid Property:P704 Collation captures this information. However, in the default browser it is displayed as raw HTML data, with the tags, e.g. a-d<sup>8d</sup> . In order for it to be displayed properly it must be inserted into an Item_Talk page with the heading ==Collation== followed by the collation structure. The URL link to this Item_Talk page is then linked to the Item by use of Property:P817 Notes. See exemplary item Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, MSS/7867 (Item:Q393564). --Charles Faulhaber (talk) 01:32, 22 February 2022 (CET)


Exact place = Property:P47 with Item.

Precision of localisation = Property:P425 with Item:Q23567 = near


  • Michael Friedrich and Cosima Schwarke, Introduction – Manuscripts as Evolving Entities, in: Michael Friedrich and Cosima Schwarke (eds.), One-Volume Libraries: Composite and Multiple-Text Manuscripts (Studies in Manuscript Cultures 9), Berlin: De Gruyter 2016, p. 1–26, https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110496956-001.
  • Johan Peter Gumbert, Codicologische eenheden – opzet voor een terminologie (Mededelingen van de Afdeling Letterkunde, NF 67,2), Amsterdam 2004.
  • Johan Peter Gumbert, Codicological Units: Towards a Terminology for the Stratigraphy of the Non-Homogeneous Codex, in: Segno e Testo 2 (2004), S. 17–42.
  • Johan Peter Gumbert, Zur Kodikologie und Katalographie der zusammengesetzten Handschrift, in: Edoardo Crisci, Marilena Maniaci und Pasquale Orsini (Hg.), La descrizione dei manoscritti: esperienze a confronto, Cassino 2010, S. 1–18.