75870 - Cataloging of Book Manuscript

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Elisa Bianchi
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: M-STO/09
  • Language: Italian
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Library and Archive Science (cod. 9077)

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide the basic knowledge of traditional and computerized cataloging of the Western manuscript book, taking into account the opportunities offered by new technologies in the field of cataloging. At the end of the course the student is able to analyze and contextualize the manuscript in its components; to carry out the description according to the models in use (inventory, catalog) both in the traditional form and in the computerized one; to correctly use the bibliographic tools of reference.

Course contents

The course has the purpose to overview the history of the cataloguing practice, focusing on the recent trends, and to provide also the basic knowledge and the main bibliographic tools in order to describe the medieval manuscripts. The study of these features will be linked with the deep examination of the cultural and historical field, with particular reference to the use of the manuscript as a way of transmission and preservation of the ancient and medieval knowledge.
During the course the following arguments will be deepened: medieval text and book typologies; critical overview of the main cataloguing models; description of the rule sets; the elements of the manuscript cataloguing; the printed and electronic repertories and bibliographic tools; the problems and perspectives about manuscript cataloguing on web.


A) Bibliography for attending and non attending students:

- A. Petrucci, La descrizione del manoscritto: storia, problemi, modelli, Roma, NIS, 1984; seconda ed. corretta e aggiornata, Roma, Carocci, 2001 (Beni Culturali, 24) 

Reference bibliography useful for manuscripts cataloging:

- T. De Robertis, N. Giovè Marchioli (a cura di), Norme per la descrizione dei manoscritti, Firenze, SISMEL, 2021

- ICCU, Guida ad una descrizione uniforme dei manoscritti e al loro censimento, Roma, ICCU, 1990 (available online: https://manus.iccu.sbn.it/upload/GuidaAUnaCatalogazioneUniforme.pdf)

- ICCU, Linee guida per la formulazione e il trattamento in ManusOnLine (MOL) delle voci di autorità di nomi di persone, di enti, di famiglie e di luoghi, Roma, ICCU, 2018 (available online: https://manus.iccu.sbn.it/upload/LINEE_GUIDA_MOL.pdf)

- B. Vanin, P. Eleuteri, F. Bernardi, Guida a Nuova Biblioteca Manoscritta, 2006 (available online: http://www.nuovabibliotecamanoscritta.it/documenti/sezioni/Generale/pdf/Guida_a_Nuova_Biblioteca_Manoscritta.pdf)

Students without any basic knowledge in the history and forms of the book manuscript are required to read:

M. L. Agati, Il libro manoscritto da Oriente a Occidente, Roma, "L’Erma" di Bretschneider, 2009 (only sections dealing with latin and vernacular manuscripts)

B) Bibliography for non attending students:

In addition to the bibliography indicated for attending students, the following texts are required:

- R. Sharpe, ‘Titulus’. I manoscritti come fonte per l'identificazione dei testi mediolatini, ed. it. a cura di M. Palma, Roma, Viella, 2005

- P. Andrist, P. Canart, M. Maniaci, La syntaxe du codex. Essai de codicologie structurale, Turnhout, Brepols, 2012 (Bibliologia, 34)

Teaching methods

Frontal ad online lessons with use of powerpoint and direct access to digital collection available on web, with a strong students involment. Educational visits as well as lessons in the most important libraries of Ravenna and Bologna, and cataloguing exercises on original book manuscripts.

"In view of the type of activity and teaching methods adopted, attendance at this training activity requires the prior participation of all students in modules 1 and 2 of training on safety in the workplace, [https://elearning-sicurezza.unibo.it/] in e-learning mode."

Assessment methods

The exam consists of an oral interview articulated as follows:

To Attending Students:

- bibliography indicated in point A of the program

- discussion of the topics discussed and analysed during the lessons

- discussion of the description of a medieval (or humanistic) codex assigned during the course. The paper is to be submitted to the lecturer (preferably as an e-mail attachment) at least one week before the date of the examination. The guide structure for filling the paper can be found on the course website at https://virtuale.unibo.it.

To Non-Attending Students:

- bibliography indicated in point A of the program

- bibliography indicated in point B of the program

- discussion of the description of a medieval (or humanistic) codex assigned during the course. The paper is to be submitted to the lecturer (preferably as an e-mail attachment) at least one week before the date of the examination. The guide structure for filling the paper can be found on the course website at https://virtuale.unibo.it.


The critical knowledge will be evaluated very positive or positive the student's ability to demonstrate the acquired knowledge in a personal and critical way, using an appropriate language.

More than sufficient will be evaluated the mnemonic knowledge, expressed with conciveness, in a correct language but not very appropriate.

Sufficient will be evaluated the basic knowledge expressed with inappropriate language.

Insufficient will be evaluated the incomplete knowledge of the readings, the incorrect and inappropriate language, the inability to manage bibliographies and texts analised during the lessons.


Recordings of the first two lectures of the course (which will be held in the classroom) will be made available on Virtuale in order to illustrate the syllabus and provide instructions for studying and preparing for the exam, which will be useful especially (but not only) for non-attending students.

Teaching tools

Seminal lectures with the use of power point and Internet for access to collections of digitized manuscripts.

The attendance is strongly recommended, for the practical purpose of the course.

The material used during the course is available on Virtuale website (Virtual Learning Environment https://virtuale.unibo.it/course/view.php?id=16430).

For an adequate acquisition of the course content it should be noted that previous knowledge of palaeography and codicology would be advisable. Students lacking this knowledge can make up for it by selecting from the 12 cfu of their choice the courses "Paleografia latina e diplomatica" and "Il libro manoscritto nell'occidente medievale" (or similar) in this degree course or in other university courses.

Students with disabilities or specific learning disorders (DSA) needing compensatory tools will be able to communicate their needs to the Teacher in order to be addressed to the referents and agree on the adoption of the most appropriate measures.


Office hours

See the website of Elisa Bianchi


Quality education Gender equality

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.