University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Digital Projects

"Digital Projects" have been defined by the Department as online representations of materials which are complete presentation all such items held by the department, or which are ongoing but intended to eventually be complete presentations.

Digital projects are thus distinct from "Exhibits", which are typically related to physical exhibitions of materials held by the department and highlight collections or aspects thereof, but do not attempt to represent the collection completely.

Within the category of Digital Projects there is a further division between:

  • projects which present materials held by the Department ("Digital Collections");
  • projects which present materials relating to but not held by the Department OR non-Departmental projects which present materials held by the Department ("Related Digital Projects"); and
  • projects which relate to materials held by the Department but do not directly correspond to any collection ("Digital Aids").

Digital Collections

Inquisition Collections

The Harley L. McDevitt Inquisition Collection consists of several hundred items, from printed volumes to unique manuscripts and images. The project is intended as a resource for students and researchers and thus contains thematic introductory essays to materials and digital facsimiles of documents.

Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

The Digital Scriptorium contains photos and descriptions of some manuscripts from the collection; however, these descriptions repeat errors from earlier catalogs and introduce new errors, particularly in identification and attribution of texts, transcription, script identification, collation statements, dating, localization, and general descriptive information. The information found on this site should be used cautiously. Additionally, the shelfmarks given in both sources are no longer current.

A new descriptive catalogue is in progress currently by Dr. David T. Gura, Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts, Early Imprints, and History of the Book.

North American Manuscripts Online

An ongoing project featuring images and, in many cases, textual transcriptions of manuscripts from the Department's North American collections. The project includes the following sites:

  • Manuscripts of Colonial and Revolutionary America currently includes collection descriptions of the Department's processed holdings, as well as images of two record groups.

  • Manuscripts of Early National and Antebellum America currently includes collection descriptions of the Department's processed holdings.

  • Manuscripts of the American Civil War currently includes collection descriptions of the Department's processed holdings, as well as images and textual transcriptions of one topical collection, one collection of personal papers, five diaries, 25 letter groups or correspondences, and two military records.

  • Manuscripts of Modern America contains collection-level descriptions of the Department's processed holdings in this area, accessible via the menu at left. Individual collections are typically distinguished by unity of provenance; consequently, the collections described on this site vary greatly in size, from a single manuscript to several thousand.

Numismatic Collections Online

This project features discussions, descriptions and images of coins, currency, and tokens used in Colonial and Confederation America, based primarily on examples in the Department of Special Collections. The following sections of the project are currently available online:

  • Coins of Colonial and Early America features discussions, descriptions and images of coins and tokens used in Colonial and Confederation America.

  • Colonial Currency features descriptions and images of paper currencies of early America through the 1790's. Related items in our collection, such as lottery tickets and fiscal documents from colonial America have also been included.

  • Washington Tokens features descriptions and images of coins, tokens and medals depicting George Washington.

Philatelic Collections Online

This project is a series of pages considering aspects of Irish philately, utilizing holdings in the Department of Special Collections. To date there are two sections available online:

  • Part One: the Forerunners (a group of stamp-like items of political interest, printed prior to or just after the establishment of the modern independent Irish state in 1922)

  • Part Two: the Overprints (overprint designates an addition to the face of a stamp after it has been printed — the Overprints are the first official issue of an independent Irish State)

Sports Collections Online

There are currently three sports projects available online:

Related Digital Projects

Inventory-Catalogue of the Drawings in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan

An ongoing project to create a computerized cataloguing system for the drawings of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, directed by art historian Robert R. Coleman. Of the 8,300 drawings in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, descriptions for almost half are currently available for online searching.

The William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies

The Devers Program in Dante Studies supports rare book acquisitions in the John A. Zahm, C.S.C., Dante Collection, as well as teaching and research about Dante across the Arts & Letters curriculum, in particular in the Medieval and Italian Studies areas, through the sponsorship of conferences, fellowships, lecture series, seminars, and visiting professorships. It also sponsors print and electronic publications of scholarly research through the Devers Series in Dante Studies, published by the University of Notre Dame Press, and as a founding member of the ItalNet Consortium for the creation of scholarly internet resources in the Italian Studies area. The Devers Program also funds an annual program of research and travel grants for faculty and students.

Prémontré Architectural Sites Collection

This project provides access to nearly 800 archival photographs gathered over the years by Rt. Rev. Astrik L. Gabriel, O. Praem., that document architectural sites sponsored by the Order of Prémontré.  All of these photographs date prior to World War II and are important documents of the many sites that were damaged or destroyed during the War.

Medieval Seals: A Collection of Facsimiles at the Medieval Institute

The Medieval Institute is proud to own a collection of over 200 medieval seals in facsimile. These images, mostly French, display the wide range of styles, sizes, and types of seals and seal owners in the Middle Ages. The seals in this exhibit are organized in three ways: according to their user, according to their geographic origin, and according to the insignia displayed on the seal.

Access to the Middle Ages: Medieval Manuscripts in Facsimile

Based on a physical exhibit prepared by Dr. Marina Smyth (Librarian of the Medieval Institute) with the assistance of Catherine Kavanagh and Kathleen Tonry (graduate students in the Medieval Institute), this digital exhibit highlights the historical development of facsimile technology, as well as the central place of facsimiles in the study of the Middle Ages. It is also possible to search for Medieval Manuscript Facsimiles at Notre Dame.

Digital Aids

Heraldic Dictionary

A dictionary to aid people new to the field of heraldry in understanding written descriptions of armorials, such as those used in the descriptions of the Special Collection's Bookplate Database.

Bookplate Database

A searchable database image catalog of approximately 1100 sample bookplates and library stamps from the Department of Special Collections at the University of Notre Dame. The database was created during preliminary explorations of the cataloging and database methodology necessary to support a cooperative online bookplate registry.