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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

Update from our Director of Library Services, Colette McKenna regarding Library Services During COVID Level 5 - 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

As per Irish Government direction from midnight 21 October 2020 for 6 weeks all counties are placed on Level 5 under the Plan for Living with COVID-19. The advice is: Stay at home with certain exceptions. Please note this time frame may be extended. 

Previous appointment services in Special Collections and Archives are suspended during Level 5.

We are offering the following as alternate means of access to Special Collections & Archives:

  • Scan & Deliver for Special Collections' material including items in the Reference Reading Room, Microform and items that show Special Collections by Request / Special Collections by Appointment on the library catalogue.
  • Reprographic requests for manuscripts & archival material via

Every effort will be made to fulfil scan & deliver / reprographic types of requests, but this may not always be possible due to availability, copyright restrictions, size and condition of materials.

If you have any collection queries or other queries please email:

In order to facilitate research queries, a virtual appointment service for Special Collections and Archives will shortly be established and details will be forthcoming.