TSU has digitized a collection of European books of the 15th century
22.06.2016

The Research Library of Tomsk State University has digitized incunabula. A collection of books published in Europe before the year 1501 will be available to a wide range of readers and professionals from around the world in September.

The collection of incunabula includes 26 copies. One incunabulum was donated in 1962 by the Kazan Federal University and it is a treatise on surgery; the others came into the Research Library together with collections of private libraries or book stores.

- In terms of the content, our collection is sufficiently characteristic for the incunabula period - said Valery Esipova, head of the sector of Study and Disclosure of the TSU Research Library fund. – These are liturgical, natural science, and literary texts. For example, we have a selection of works by Sebastian Brant, the famous German satirist. Among them is Ship of Fools. This incunabulum is interesting because it is provides illustrations. The technique of reproduction of illustrations in the book was already known at the time, but was not often used.

- Many of the incunabula were not preserved in one piece, but each of them has its own individual characteristics. For example, the initials inscribed by hand, unique possessory records, and labels or marks of librarians. All this unites incunabula with manuscripts and makes each copy valuable for researchers - explains Valeria Esipova.

The digitization was done by the special scanner that the University purchased a half and a year ago for high-quality scanning of documents with non-standard formats and documents sensitive to physical pressure. It has a very high resolution and allows seeing even the smallest details, as well as to transfer the volume of relief images.

The electronic versions of the incunabula will be on the website of the TSU Research Library in September.