Cornell University Library Resources

Virginia Cole, Reference and Digital Services Librarian at Olin and Uris libraries, continually updates the Cornell Library Medieval Studies Subject Bibliography, a comprehensive bibliography and research guide to medieval studies resources. The page contains detailed information on how to locate source material, articles, and manuscripts for any research project related to the middle ages.

Kroch Rare and Manuscripts

Medieval books and manuscripts were among the Cornell Library’s earliest acquisitions. The University’s first president, Andrew Dickson White, and his librarian, George Lincoln Burr (a Cornell medievalist), personally selected many manuscripts during frequent buying trips to Europe. White believed that instruction in history depended heavily on the use of original sources. He bought manuscripts for their instructional value, and his collection contains illustrative examples of most periods and styles. The collection is an invaluable resource for medievalists at Cornell and elsewhere.

The Fiske Icelandic Collection

Housed in the Kroch Rare and Manuscripts Division, the Fiske Icelandic Collection is the largest repository of works on Iceland and on Nordic medieval studies in North America. The collection attracts medievalists from Cornell, as well as scholars from around the world. Received in 1905, the Fiske Islandic collection contains over 32,000 titles in a variety of European languages and in diverse media.

Microfilm and Electronic Resources

Cornell University Library has a wide range of medieval texts and resources available in microfilm form, including the entire British Library Cotton Collection. 

Many of Cornell’s electronic resources are housed in the The Electronic Text Center. Located on the first floor of Olin Library, the ETC is a laboratory for the use of full-text primary sources in electronic form (such as CD-ROM). The ETC provides access to the library’s electronic texts for scholarly textual analysis and editing from a set of dedicated workstations. The ETC is open during the hours the library is open. Ask at the reference or information desks for assistance. The ETC is particularly strong in medieval studies resources, including CD-Roms of searchable full texts of:

  • Archive of Celtic-Latin Literature

  • The Electronic Beowulf

  • Cervantes

  • Chaucer (General Prologue and Wife of Bath’s Tale)

  • Dante’s Divine Comedy

  • The Hereford Mappa Mundi

  • The Sagas of the Icelanders

  • The Lindisfarne Gospels

  • Middle English Compendium

  • The Piers Plowman Electronic Archive

  • Registra Vaticana: Archivum Secretum Vaticanum. (Scanned papal documents John I-Benedict XII)

  • Repertorium der lateinischen Sermones des Mittelalters fur die zeit von 1350-1500

Other examples of Cornell’s electronic holdings:

  • Acta Sanctorum (Library Gateway’s Find Databases), which contains the complete texts of the sixty-eight printed volumes, from the two January volumes published in 1643 to the Propylaeum to December published in 1940. Cornell also has the complete print volumes in Olin at BX4655 .A2 ++

  • Patrologia Latina Database. Alexandria, VA : Chadwyck-Healey, c1995. (Library Gateway’s Find Databases or print version, Patrologia cursus completus. Series latina is now at the Library Annex +BR60 .M63. Index vols. 218-221 online, or in print in Olin Rm 404) Texts from AD 200 through the 13th century plus later ecclesiastical and humanistic scholarship. A complete electronic version of the first edition of Jacques-Paul Migne’s 217-volume Patrologia Latina (1844-1855 and 1862-1865).

  • CETEDOC Library of Christian Latin Texts (On CD-Rom in Olin Electronic Text Center or in print in Olin Room 404.) Texts from the first patristic writings through the 15th century. All volumes published in the Corpus Christianorum, both the Series Latina and the Continuatio Mediaeualis, the opera omnia of major authors. The texts are divided in sententiae and can be searched by author, work, form (term), period.  

The Evolution of the Medieval Book

This site results from an exhibition in the Cornell University Library, which traced the history of the medieval book—its appearance, content, audiences, and forms—from the 9th to the 15th centuries. Drawn from the holdings of Cornell Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, the exhibition presented a rich variety of medieval manuscripts and printed books, from early religious manuscripts and illuminated prayerbooks to the secular works of classical antiquity and the first books printed from metal type.


Saganet is “a cooperative project by The National and University Library of Iceland and Cornell University with the association of the Árni Magnússon Institute to give access via the Internet to digital images of about 240.000 manuscript pages and 153.000 printed pages. The Saganet was opened on July 1, 2001 but work started on July 1, 1997.

“The material consists of the entire range of Icelandic family sagas. It also includes a very large portion of Germanic/Nordic mythology (the Eddas), the history of Norwegian kings, contemporary sagas and tales from the European age of chivalry. A great number of manuscripts contain Icelandic ballads, poetry or epigrams. These Collections are kept in The National and University Library of Iceland, The Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland and in the Fiske Icelandic Collection at Cornell University. All manuscripts, on vellum and paper, and printed editions and translations of the Sagas as well as relevant critical studies published before 1900 are included and available through the Internet.”

A description of the Saganet Goals and Scope, the Collections and its Implementation and Functionality is provided on its webpage.

Other Online Resources

This list is not designed to be exhaustive. Instead, we have tried to pinpoint major gateways to medieval resources on the Internet. Some resources will be duplicated, but each of these gateways offers some unique and interesting links. In the future, we may include more detailed “Webliographies” on specific subject areas.

General Sites:

  • ARTFL Project (University of Chicago) The Project for American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language (ARTFL) is a cooperative enterprise of Analyse et Traitement Informatique de la Langue Française (ATILF) of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Division of the Humanities, the Division of the Social Sciences, and Electronic Text Services (ETS) of the University of Chicago.
  • Georgetown University Labyrinth Homepage. Excellent resource for medievalists. The Labyrinth not only provides information but also contains a wealth of links to many other medieval Web resources.
  • Voice of the Shuttle:English Literature, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval. From the English Department at UC Santa Barbara. Worth a visit for literary scholars; the “Authors, Works, and Projects” section, in particular, is a great starting point. Also contains a list of calls for papers on medieval topics, links to medieval online images such as the Bayeux Tapestry, and links to the homepages for several medieval journals (for example, Cahiers Elisabethains).
  • NetSERF: The Internet Connection for Medieval Resources (at The Catholic University of America) In addition to resources in various disciplines, NetSERF’s research center contains a wealth of information for graduate students and professors: conferences, articles, fellowships, and so forth.
  • The Medieval Feminist Index. A searchable index of feminist articles on medieval studies in a variety of geographic and subject areas. Not comprehensive, but a helpful supplement to research.
  • The Digital Scriptorium An image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts hosted by UC Berkeley, intended to unite scattered resources from many institutions into an international tool for teaching and scholarly research.
  • Digital Index of Middle English Verse :
  • Richard III Society
  • Stanford University Library Medieval Resources
  • Online Etymology Dictionary
  • Word Free Modern English translation dictionaries for Modern French, Spanish, and Italian.

Electronic Text Sites:

  • ARTFL Project Searchable Online Vulgate Bible (University of Chicago)
  • ARTFL Project Textes de Français Ancien The “Textes de Français Ancien” (TFA) database was established by the Laboratoire de Français Ancien (LFA, University of Ottawa), in collaboration with the ARTFL Project (University of Chicago). The original collection was composed of texts from the 12th and 13th centuries, digitized for the preparation of a lemmatized database of Old French (project in collaboration with the Institut National de la Langue Française). Middle French texts (14th and 15th centuries) have been added to this collection subsequently. The database will be expanded further by the LFA in the future.
  • Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL). “Classic Christian books in electronic format, selected for your edification.”
  • The Internet Medieval Sourcebook for Medieval Studies. Hosted by the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies, is specifically designed for teachers to use in teaching. The goal, in their words, is to “construct an Internet Medieval Sourcebook from available public domain and copy-permitted texts. [A few short extracts -abiding by the standard 300 word “fair use” rule may be posted.] The problem with many of the Internet available texts is that they are too bulky for classroom assignment. For instance, all of Pope Gregory I’s letters are available, but in one 500 page document. The Sourcebook then is in two parts. The first is made up of fairly short classroom sized extracts, derived from public domain sources or copy-permitted translations, the second is composed of the full documents, or WWW links to the full documents.” The Sourcebook includes a “wide range of texts which address elite governmental, legal, religious and economic concerns [and] now also includes a large selection of texts on women’s and gender history, Islamic and Byzantine history, Jewish history, and social history.”
  • The Unbound Bible Contains nearly every major English translation of the Bible to date, including both King James versions. Also contains Douay-Rheims and the Latin Vulgate.