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Manuscripts Librarians Working Group


In September 2000, manuscript librarians from across Europe met in Stockholm at a conference to discuss recent developments in the field and to exchange information. Participating colleagues agreed to form an Expert Group of Manuscript Librarians under the auspices of LIBER (Collection Development Division). In July 2001 LIBER’s General Conference in London formally approved the Expert Group. Since 2014 the Group has been a part of The Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL).


The Manuscript Librarians Working Group recognises the unique significance of manuscript and archive collections, not only for the world of research and learning, but also for a wider audience of people interested in history and cultural heritage. The primary aims of the Working Group are to act as a forum for curatorial concerns, and to enhance understanding and practical cooperation among curators across Europe, taking account of the differences in approach which have occurred historically.

The Working Group is advising CERL on how best to support the manuscript librarians community and those researchers working with manuscripts in their scholarly carreers. The WG members compiled national background reports. Subsequently, information from these reports and additional information has been transformed into an overview of manuscripts catalogues and electronic resources for the study of manuscripts available on the internet.

Meetings of the Manuscript Librarians Working Group

The National Contact persons and the Board have one day meetings associated with the conferences organised by the Working Group. On the agenda are updates on the National Backgrounds, as well as discussions on best practice and new developments of interest, for example ISMI: International Standard. Manuscript Identifier.


The Manuscript Librarians Working Group aim to arrange a conference every second year. The conferences are open to everyone interested in the topics, and aim to be a place for networking and exchange of information for all working with manuscripts or special collections in libraries or other institutions.

Upcoming conferences

  • Eighth conference

The title for this conference is 'Working with Letters', and it will be held in Oslo on 2-3 June. The full programme and details for registration are available here.

  • Ninth conference


Previous conferences

Details of previous meetings and conferences are available here.

The Board

  • Scot McKendrick, formerly of the British Library (Chair)
  • Secretary: vacancy
  • Two board members: vacancies

Members of the Manuscripts Librarians Working Group

  • Austria, Katharina Kaska, Direktor der Sammlung von Handschriften und alten Drucken, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
  • Belgium, Ann Kelders, Scientific Collaborator of the Manuscripts Department, Royal Library of Belgium
  • Czech Republic, Zdeněk Uhlíř, Coordinator of the Manuscriptorium Digital Library, National Library of the Czech Republic
  • Denmark, Anders Toftgaard, The Royal Library
  • France, Laure Rioust - Chargé de collections au Département des manuscrits, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
  • Finland, Dr. Jaakko Tahkokallio - Curator, National Library of Finland
  • Germany, Robert Giel, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
    and Claudia Fabian, Leiterin Die Abteilung Handschriften und Alte Drucke, Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek
  • Great Britain, Scot McKendrick, formerly Head of Western Heritage Collections, The British Library
  • Italy, David Speranzi, Dept. of MSS and Rare Books of the National Library of Florence, and Martina Bagnoli, Modena Estense Library and Galleries
  • Lithuania, Viktorija Vaitkevičiūtė Verbickienė, Head of Rare Book and Manuscript Department, Martynas Mazvydas National Library of Lithuania
  • Netherlands, André Bouwman, Curator of Western Manuscripts, Special Collections Division, Leiden University Library
  • Norway, Bente Granrud, Head of Section, Manuscripts Department, The National Library of Norway
  • Poland, Agnieszka Fabiańska, Custodian at the Manuscript Division, Warsaw University Library
  • Spain, Anna Gudayol, Cap de la Secció de Manuscrits, Biblioteca de Catalunya
  • Sweden, Katinka Ahlbom, Physical Collections Department, National Library of Sweden
  • Switzerland, Ian Holt, Head of Special Collections of the Zentralbibliothek Solothurn, Switzerland and Chairman of the Swiss Manuscripts Expert Group

National Backgrounds

Concise information country by country about the major manuscripts and archives collections, about the institutions where the collections are kept (website links, historical data, etc.) is available here.

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 collaboration/manuscriptexperts/main.txt · Last modified: 2023/11/23 14:45 by lefferts



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