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UCC Library now Re-opened.

Both Boole and Brookfield BHSL Libraries have re-opened with the safety of Library users and staff as our chief guiding principle.

Please see our policies and important changes regarding re-opening here

Special Collections' & Archives' Subject Support: Paleography

How Special Collections can help you with your research, teaching, learning & assignments.

Manuscript Studies

For the beginner a good overview is Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham’s Introduction to Manuscript Studies. It includes an introduction to palaeography and scripts.

Michelle Brown's books about paleography are informative and accessible:

Christopher de Hamel's works on illuminated manuscripts are standard texts:


The standard work is still Bernhard Bischoff’s Latin Palaeography: Antiquity and the Middle Ages

An excellent follow-up is Albert Derolez’s The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books: From the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century.

A very readable and clear introduction especially for the novice is Michelle P. Brown’s A Guide to Western Historical Scripts: From Antiquity to 1600 which also includes numerous images, as well as transcription conventions and exercises.

Introductions to Irish script:

For abbreviations used in medieval writing, consult Adriano Cappelli’s comprehensive Lexicon abbreviaturarum : Dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italiane usate nelle carte e codici specialmente del Medio-EvoAn online version of the German translation is available. You won’t need to be able to read German to profit from the abbreviations demystified here!

A list of works about Palaeography available in Special Collections and UCC Library can be found here

A good example of Latin decrees can be found in The Wyse Collection (1386-1471).

Handwriting from 500 centuries depicting age, health, status, and styles can be found in most of the collections in UCC Library's Archives Service.

Subject Guide

Online Resources

View a range of online resources on the Medieval Studies guide:

  • Online manuscript guides and catalogues
  • Collections of digitised manuscripts
  • Individual digitised manuscripts and printed books
  • Tutorials
  • Themed resources

Opening Hours

Following Government directives that higher education institutions should close, UCC physical campus is closed. If you have any queries relating to our collections please email as this email address will be monitored regularly. 

Face-to-face services at Special Collections & Archives have resumed in a limited capacity as of 20 July 2020: Monday-Friday 10-12:45. Please note that we will have reduced capacity due to social distancing measures, and access will be by appointment only. Walk-ins and same-day requests will not be possible. To book items & a workspace please click HERE.

UCC Library's new Scan and Deliver Service is now live! Submit a request and we'll scan a book chapter/journal article and deliver it to you via email. There will be limited access to material from Special Collections. Every effort will be made to fulfill requests but this may not always be possible due to availability, copyright restrictions, size and condition of materials.