Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensis (CEEC)

For first-time visitors and interested "lay"

Explanation of the project title

Obviously, a hisorical research project needs a latin title. Translated the title means 'Electronical codices of the Church of Cologne'. This title may evoke some questions: What might be a 'codex'? And what might be the difference of an electronical codex? And what is meant by 'the Church of Cologne'?

Historians call books 'codices' when they consist of quires of different leaves. In our library most of the codices are made of parchment. (Parchment is made of hide of which hair and flesh have been scraped off.) The term 'codex' as well serves for distinction of the form of e.g. a role. Furthermore codices are written by hand, contrary to the printed book.1

An 'electronical codex' is the digitised form, the image of the 'real' codex. The codizes will be digitized and made accessible in different resolutions for the Web. The user can 'turn over' the digitized pages like a real book and in this meaning we have 'electronical codices'. A feature to develop can be to allow users to reconstruct previous conditions of a manuscript, e.g. in case quires of a manuscript have been reordered at any time. Users should be able to re-arrange the quires in such cases.

The 'codices of the Church of Cologne' means the holdings of a special library, the Episcopal and Cathedral Library Cologne. As the name states, the library consists in fact of two libraries, the Episcopal Library and the Cathedral Library. The Cathedral Library is the older one of these two and exists as institution at least since the end of the 8th century, since Cologne became archbishopric by decree of Charlemagne. The first archbishop of Cologne, Hildebald, is very important in the history of this institution, for he ordered to write some of the books which still are part of the liberary today. The exceptional characteristic of the holdings of the library is that today we have a hugh amount of books which were in the library already in the middle ages and some of them even in the 9th century. Other libraries often have been destroyed or split, many of their books have been lost during the centuries. Here in Cologne we have this unique testimony for the history of education of former times. The oldest book in the holdings of the library has been written 590/604. (For more information on the history of the library see tap Historical Library.) The Episcopal Library consists of a collection of books from different libraries in the diocese and is therefore younger than the Cathedral Library. For example the Episcopal Library contains codices from the former libraries of some romanic churches of Cologne like St. Gereon or St. Ursula.

Access tools

A main part of the work in the project besides the digitisation itself is the collection of information about the manuscripts. For every single manuscripts exists a lot of information and the library and its manuscripts have been catalogued several times. In this project we tend to form a kind of "meta-catalogue" from these single catalogues.(2)

In general there are two ways of access to the material: to search and to browse. For browsing the holdings of the digital library, click the tab Manuscripts. There you will find links to lists that offer different kinds of sorting of the manuscripts, sorted e.g. for signatures, age etc. When the lists themselves are loaded you will find besides a short title of the manuscript the following symbols:

short catalogue information

With this button you request the short catalogue, which supplies the most basic information on a manuscript like shelfmark, time and place of formation and other important characteristics(3) plus a short bibliography.

widened catalogue information

The widened version of the short catalogue adds to this a short description of the contents. This is taken from the catalogue with the highest authority(4);

long catalogue information

the long version of the catalogue lists all information available for a manuscript in the database.

reproductions of the manuscript (first page)

This button leads to the first page of a manuscript. First the page will be shown in the lowest resolution.
Attention: For the complete digitisation of the manuscripts there may exist scans of pre- or past-bound pages. These you may access by using the drop-down list of pages at the top of the webpage or by using the 'previous page' button. These pages are labelled with a prefixed 'V' or 'N'.

reproductions of the manuscript (cover)

This button leads to the bookcover. This encludes bookcovers, spine, locks side, and bookcovers insides.

reproductions of loosely inlaid supplements

In case that the manuscript contains loosely inlaid supplements you may use this button to display them.

Images on the Web

On the Web we provide 4 (in exceptional cases 5) versions of every single manuscript page. These are represented by the following icons:


The icon 'eye' represents the smallest version which enables the user the have the whole page on the screen even with a solution of 800*600 pixel of his monitor. We thought it might be useful to give a review on the whole page first. From there you may zoom in the page in multiple steps.

working quality

The icon 'glasses' represents the page in a width of 1000 pixels which ensures one doesn't have to scroll vertically to read an entire line in a page at a solution of 1024*768 pixels of the monitor.

advanced quality

The third resolution in a width of around 1600 pixels, represented by the 'reading glass', is the only automatically converted version. The contrast has been increased to enhance the legibility of the text.

highest resolution

If a text shouldn't be readable in the other versions, we provide the original resolution of 4491*3480 pixels which is represented by the 'microscope'.

display detail of this page

There may exist display details of a page which may be accessed by this button, the 'scissor'.

The scan images are watermarked. The original images may be requested on CD-ROM from the library after signing a license agreement.

Original images

The images may have three different resolutions, as within the project we changed the cameras used for digitization.

  1. The first camera used within the project has been a ProgRes 3012 (former known as Kontron). The Lamegon lens has a focal width of 14 mm and luminous intensity of 3,5. The digitisation has been done with a resolution of 4491*3480 pixels. The files have a size of 45 MB each without compression.

  2. The second camera used has been a Nikon DXM 1200. The lens has a focal width of 25 mm and luminous intensity of 2,8. The digitisation has been done with a resolution of 3840*3072 pixels. The files have a size of 38 MB each without compression. (For further technical details compare the technical description (pdf) from Nikon.)

  3. The third camera used is a Jenoptik Eyelike M11 (16-shot mode). The sensor measures 24*36 mm. The digitisation has been done with a resolution of 8000*5344 pixels. The files have a size of 128 MB each without compression. (For further technical details compare the technical description (pdf) from Eyelike.)

Reason for the change of cameras was mainly the working speed. While the ProgRes needed 1,5 minutes from the digitisation to saving of the image, the Nikon is able to do it within 15 seconds. Additionally the Nikon allows to flip the image on the fly, while for the ProgRes a seperate batchjob was needed.

References and formation of context

The manuscripts of the Episcopal and Cathedral Library of Cologne are part of a tradition of literature and research wherein the manuscripts and the library itself has been described from different points of view. We endeavour to make available these references digitally as far as possible for without them the manuscripts are less understandable.5 We take into account the limits set up by the copyright to the best of our knowledge. If we should violate one's copyright unwittingly and unintentionally we ask for notification. The respective texts will be removed immediately.

Furthermore we bestir to supply up to date and extensive references. These should be taken into account for serious use and research on manuscripts more than the actual supplied electronical texts . The electronical texts represent due to the copyright laws only an outdated status of research!

Given the current status of technology and possibilities of reproduction of printed works in digital form we provide documents with high percentage of special characters (e.g. for reproduction of truncation signs in manuscripts) and such in Gothic type only as images, not as electronical text. Anyway we like to receive electronic versions of such texts! These would increase the use of this digital library.

1 For further information on manuscript research c.f. Medieval Manuscript Manual and its Glossary.    back

2 The available information is collected in one XML-file per manuscript. Out of this files a database is build from which several lists are generated and the search mechanisms run. C.f. the detailed project explanations.    back

3 The Incipit of the entire manuscript is the first sentence in the manuscript. Word-for-word translation of the term 'incipit' is 'begins' which has been a frequently used phrase at the beginning ofamedieval text. As the text usually didn't have a title the Incipit serves as help for identification, as well in our project and in the 'HAndschriftenzensus Rheinland' for the entire manuscript.
The Explicit on the other hand is the last sentence of a text respectively the manuscript and functions as a further help for recognition and identification.
The more seldom used 'Secundo folio' is another help for the idenification of a text or mansucript. But not necessarily is its location exactly defined. This part of the text may be located on the second leaf (which would be the literal translation of 'secundo folio') or on the last or last but one page.    back

4 As generally several catalogue entries exist for every mansucript which are integrated as complete as possible, the entries have to be arranged in a certain order according to its actuality, completeness of detail, and with this its authority. E.g. the data of the exhibition catalogue 'Glaube und Wissen im Mittelalter' are cosidered to be of higher value as the short entries of the 'Handschriftenzensus Rheinland' or the sometimes antiquated information form Jaffé-Wattenbach.    back

5 C.f. the tap References   back