The Digital Scriptorium is an image and cataloguing database that unites the medieval and Renaissance manuscript holdings of a growing number of American libraries. It began in 1997 with the combined resources of Berkeley and Columbia; present membership includes thirty institutions with over 5000 manuscripts and 27,000 images, all freely available on the web. Member institutions include the Huntington Library, New York Public Library, the Houghton Library at Harvard, and the Ransom Center at the University of Texas.
"We look forward to expanding the membership of the Digital Scriptorium and to developing its Web 2.0 capabilities," says Thomas C. Leonard, University Librarian at Berkeley. "Since the base technology for the project originated on this campus, we are confident that the expertise of our staff will re-integrate the program smoothly into our present system, and that we will make the Digital Scriptorium even more useful to medievalists."
During its six-year tenure as host to the Digital Scriptorium, Columbia also contributed to the database's increasing strength. James G. Neal, Columbia’s University Librarian, adds that "extensive work was carried out by our Libraries Digital Program Division to build a highly specific scholarly search engine, and the coverage of the database was significantly expanded." Columbia's Curator of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, Consuelo Dutschke, was re-elected in the annual Digital Scriptorium members' meeting to a second term as Executive Director; she will retain that post until September 2012.
The new URL for Digital Scriptorium, http://www.digital-scriptorium.org, currently directs users to the Columbia site; when the transfer to Berkeley is completed in January of 2011, it will point seamlessly to Berkeley servers.