Medieval Memoria Online

4.4 Points of special interest

Possible problems when researching text carriers and texts

In the MeMO database the titles given to text carriers depend on how they are described by their present-day holding institutions, and may therefore vary greatly. Text carriers of the same types may carry different kinds of titles. Some titles include only a number or a code, while others may carry a more descriptive title, or a name that is mentioned in the text carrier itself. The descriptions of the inventories of the archives also vary greatly. Archive inventories may include names or terms that do not conform to the terminology used in this database. A text carrier which is described as a chronicle in the inventory of an archive, may be called an overview of biographies of conventuals in the MeMO database (see for instance MeMO text carrier ID 2). A register described as a list of annuities, may be called a register of pittances in the database.

For the naming of the text carriers, the MeMO database uses the names given in the inventories and catalogues of the holding institutions as much as possible. In addition the database may also give the name of the manuscript in the original language. Also included are the name of the holding institution and the location of discovery. A description is included if the information is still not informative enough.


Possible problems when researching memorial registers

Lists which consist solely of names are not always immediately recognizable as memorial registers. The MeMO database deliberately includes a wide variety of lists of names. For example, there are member lists of fraternities, because these may also have functioned as lists of deceased brothers and sisters. Some of these lists require additional research into their use. Others are immediately recognizable as lists with a memorial function. Succession lists, for instance, show a chronological succession throughout the centuries of representatives of a particular office, or of heirs of families.


Possible problems when researching narrative sources

For the description of the narrative sources priority has been given to pur sang memoria-texts, especially chronicles of monasteries and biographies. Chronicles with a greater range (such as world chronicles) most likely possessed some memorial elements as well, but for now these chronicles have not been included.

In some cases literature and websites which take the texts rather than the entire text carriers as their point of departure have been used for the description of the narrative sources. This has the following consequences for the descriptions of the narrative sources in the MeMO database:

  • Information about any texts other than the narrative source which may be present in the text carrier may be missing, because they were not discussed in the literature.
  • Specific details about the text carrier, such as page and folio numbers, and the contents and set-up of the entire manuscript may be missing or incomplete in the MeMO database, because many publications do not discuss entire manuscripts.