About the Resource
This is an open access scholarly digital edition of Sir Hans Sloane’s manuscript catalogue of the section of his collections known as ‘MS 3972B’ (part of the collections of the Department of Manuscripts in the British Library). The catalogue of folios lists manuscript material removed from 3972C.The digitised collection is a part of Enlightenment Architectures, a project which has produced open access digital scholarly editions of five of Sloane’s catalogues, Miscellanies, Fossils I, Fossils V, MS 3972C Vol. VI, and MS 3972B.
Enlightenment Architectures was published in December 2019 by The British Museum (BM) in association with the Department of Information Studies and Centre for Digital Humanities at the University College London.
Type of Resource and Contents
This is a historic collection, providing images of Sloane’s catalogue along with transcribed text, encoded using TEI (Text Encoding Initiative).
Information on digitisation and digital creation
The manuscript catalogue has been photographed digitally, analysed, transcribed, modelled and then encoded using TEI. The images and the digital catalogue have been published in EVT (Edition Visualisation Technology) which is a software for creating and browsing digital editions of manuscripts based on text encoded according to the TEI XML schemas and guidelines. EVT enables free text search, highlighting of named entities in the transcriptions, name and place pick-lists, manuscript image zoom and thumbnail views, adjustments of transcription font size, and much more.
Material included in the original collection
Sloane MS 3972B is a bound manuscript volume containing a catalogue of manuscripts which were collected by Hans Sloane (1660-1753) between 1680 and 1753. Sloane’s manuscript collections were originally catalogued alongside his book collections in the volumes now bound as Sloane MS 3972 C, however, many folios recording the acquisition of these manuscripts were removed by the BM Trustees sometime after 1753 to form a then newly bound and constituted catalogue now called Sloane MS 3972B. The posthumous separation of these materials from Sloane’s own original comprehensive catalogue has resulted in this Sloane MS 3972B catalogue being very different to Sloane MS 3972C in its structure and style, which often vary from folio to folio. The different type of descriptive language required by the cataloguing of manuscripts as opposed to printed books is also noticeable.
Metadata, Media and Formats
A set of descriptive – project focused – metadata is available capturing the high-level elements of the resource, such as Release authority, Publisher, Publication place, Project Investigators, Document modelling etc.
The volume is encoded in TEI XML and the contents enjoy both TEI structural elements (e.g. Text Division, Heading, etc.) and the contextual elements; Author, Publication place, Date and Format.
API / Download
The XML TEI version of the catalogue is available from the UCL research depository (RDR) at https://rdr.ucl.ac.uk/collections/Enlightenment_Architectures/5231765
Usage and citation
According to the project website, all data content is reproducible as long as the source is indicated by referencing the publication and the name of the institutional owner of the original catalogue. The images are not downloadable and have different citations.
Citation for images: British Library images of Sloane MS 3972B and Sloane MS 3972C Vol. VI: courtesy of British Library (Public Domain in most countries except the UK).
Individual citation for the catalogue: Sloane MS 3972B of folios listing manuscript material removed from 3972C. Digital Edition. Alexandra Ortolja-Baird, Julianne Nyhan, Victoria Pickering, Kim Sloan and Martha Fleming Eds. 2019.
The citation page on the website for further info is at
Kim Sloan and Julianne Nyhan are the key people to contact. Please feel free to contact them directly, or otherwise contact us to bring you in touch.
Tips for using the Interactive Reader
- Users can select elements such as date and bibliographic information from the “entities selector” menu located on the bottom menu bar. Depending on the edition entities may include: places, materials, bibliographic information, measures, size, weight, quantity, texture, value, catalogue, and index.
- The “search” feature in the bottom menu bar enables free text search throughout the catalogues.
- For some editions the reader also provides a “Lists” functionality, allowing users to locate person names and place names available in the catalogue through a “List of persons” and a “List of places”.
- The interactive reader also allows for the headings on the page to be read in five languages (English, Italian, French, Czech and German); however not all content is automatically translated to these languages.