Europa Inventa

Europa Inventa image

A database of information about several hundred medieval manuscripts held in major Australian libraries, galleries and museums


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Australasian libraries, galleries and museums hold many thousands of unique and irreplaceable European manuscripts, art works and historic objects dating from the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries. They are of great value to researchers - both in Australasia and in Europe - not just for their contents but for what they reveal about the persistence of the Early European heritage in Australasia. Collectively and individually, they are unique national treasures of Australia and New Zealand.

Europa Inventa ("Europe Discovered") is the first systematic description of these Early European materials. The Europa Inventa database currently contains information about 300 medieval manuscripts held in the major Australian libraries, galleries and museums (in addition to artworks not included in Manuscripts Online). It is one of the digital services developed for the ARC Research Network for Early European Research (NEER).


This resource is of interest to scholars in manuscript studies and a range of disciplines, especially as Australian holdings are not well-represented in international resource discovery services.

Manuscript descriptions include information on location, appearance, provenance, dates, etc. The database can be searched or browsed by manuscripts, manuscript items, works (for objects) and creators.

The database reuses existing information and metadata. It builds on earlier printed surveys and catalogues, which tend to be restricted in their coverage, may be out-of-date, or inconsistent in the quality and depth of the information they provide. It does not store digital images of manuscripts and artworks; instead, it simply points to such files on the server of the appropriate institution.

Introductory reading

Burrows, Toby. 'Building a Digital Research Community in Medieval and Early Modern Studies: The Australian Network for Early European Research'. Digital Medievalist, 7 (2011). link

Manion, Margaret M. and Vera F. Vines. Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts in Australian collections. Melbourne: Thames and Hudson, 1984.

Sinclair, K. V. Descriptive catalogue of medieval and renaissance western manuscripts in Australia. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1969.

Technical Methods

The records were drawn from a number of printed secondary sources and from online catalogues, which are listed here. The records are marked up using TEI-XML (Manuscript Description) metadata standards.

About the project

Europa Inventa was established as part of the Network for Early European Research (NEER), funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) and based at the University of Western Australia. The project is led by Dr Toby Burrows.


Search Europa Inventa

Source Types

  • Literary Manuscripts
  • Non-literary Manuscripts


  • Manuscript Descriptions


  • manuscripts
  • Australasia


  • English
  • French
  • Latin
  • Italian
  • Spanish


  • Free

Time Period



Network for Early European Research (NEER), University of Western Australia

Cite this page:

"Europa Inventa" Manuscripts Online (, version 1.0, 15 June 2024),