A grant of £300,000 was awarded to the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the British Library, to produce the first ever digitally illustrated and searchable catalogue of western illuminated medieval and renaissance manuscripts held in the British Library's collections. The award was made by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), under the Resource Enhancement Scheme, and ran for three years to February 2007.
The Project began in March 2005 at the British Library, in partnership with the Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies (CMPS), in the Institute of English Studies, University of London. It was directed by Professor David Ganz (Associate Director of the Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies) and Peter Kidd (Curator of Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts at the British Library), and had two Research Fellows, Dr Kathleen Doyle and Dr Mara Hofmann.
The Project provides catalogue descriptions and images of illuminated manuscripts in the British Library's collection on a collection-by-collection basis. Entries for illuminated manuscripts in the Burney, Hargrave, King's, and Yates Thompson collections are available online and can be found via the DigCIM website
By the end of the Project there were entries for approximately 2000 manuscripts with accompanying images available. It was envisaged that descriptions of all of the illuminated manuscripts in the British Library's collections will be searchable on the internet, making it one of the world's largest on-line resources for the study of illuminated manuscripts.
Some of the manuscripts that were catalogued are major works of art, including items of international fame. Many others are virtually unknown and the project has opened up a wide pool of unique material to scholars, students and the public. The site includes thematic tours, some in the form of 'virtual exhibitions', introducing and exploring aspects of the manuscripts.
Several talks related to the DigCIM Project are being given as part of the Medieval Manuscripts Seminar Series. Conferences thus far include the Arudel Manuscript Conference.