Monthly Archives: February 2011

Disaster and digital heritage in New Zealand

One of the unforgettable scenes in The Bone People, Keri Hulme’s famous novel, brings the reader to the remains of a boat built by the Maori ancestors of Joe, which comes only to the surface after a minor earthquake. This week New Zealand has been forcefully hit by a major earthquake. People have been killed by it, many more people got injuries, houses and other buildings have become ruins or are severely damaged. How to rebuild lives and houses? How can one heal the wounds? What has become of all kind of things that form ties with the past, with New Zealand’s cultural heritage?

On my website for legal history the page with digital libraries is on the brink of becoming a separate section. One of its shortcomings is its organization along national borders, for frontiers have changed over the centuries. Colonial history has often destroyed older borders and memories of them. Luckily some digital libraries are the fruit of international cooperation. Looking at my list today I can at least see quickly which collections are important for New Zealand. The libraries I list for New Zealand happen to be not just important for legal history but for the history and heritage of this country at large. Australia, too, will show up in this post because of the historical connections within the former British Empire.

The Digital NZ – Á-Tihi Aotearoa of the National Library of New Zealand is a portal to digitized sources at several cultural institutions. Matapihi is a more general portal of New Zealand’s national library  to find digitized materials. The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre at Victoria University of Wellington has among its projects for example He Pātaka Kupu Ture – The Legal Maori Archive, with sources on Maori legal history. Early New Zealand Books, a digital library of the University of Auckland Library, presents online a number of digitized early editions printed in New Zealand. Sources pertaining more strictly to legal history are present in the digital collection for Colonial Case Law of the Macquarie Law School in Sydney. In fact it is a portal to several sites on historical cases, with a very useful links collection, also for New Zealand. It mentons for instance the New Zealand’s Lost Cases at the Victoria University of Wellington. The Oceania Digital Library is an international digital portal created by the University of Auckland Library, the University of California at San Diego Libraries and the University of Hawai’i Library for the cultural heritage of Melanesia, Polynesia en Micronesia.

One of the most remarkable initiatives for digital libraries I have seen is the New Zealand Digital Library at the University of Waikato. Behind this modest title you find in fact a portal to several digital libraries, not only for New Zealand but for other countries as well. The Greenstone digital library software is used in particular for a number of development initiatives and humanitarian services worldwide. Among the so-called “user contributed collections” is the website “Alive in Truth: The New Orleans Disaster Oral History and Memory Project” concerning the hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans in 2005. At first it might seem wry to find among the projects also the Virtual Disaster Library of the Pan-American Health Organization and the WHO Health Library for Disasters. However, it shows also the outward bound mentality of New Zealand, and these efforts to help worldwide deserve respect and support. I could mention many more links. The website of the Christchurch City Libraries has a well-organized links section, with a special page for links on earthquakes.

Christchurch City Libraries also present a very useful set of legal links. You can follow their tweets for the latest news from Christchurch. For modern law cases the New Zealand Legal Information Institute is the first site to visit; the databases with cases on intellectual property go back to the late fifties and sixties. The Victoria University of Wellington houses an exhaustive website on Indigenous Peoples and the Law which reminds you that continents and subcontinents have a very distinct history before modern nations came into existence. The University of Canterbury in Christchurch gives on its library website an extensive guide to online resources for modern law in New Zealand. To round off for today, let us not forget the legal historians of Australia and New Zealand, united in one society. New Zealanders and Australians try to bridge gaps between a continent and an archipelago. Perhaps we can do something for them, starting with showing our sympathy with the people of Christchurch.


Redeeming the woods of The Hague

When you leave the central railway station of The Hague you will see the Malieveld, a part of the Haagse Bos, the wood of The Hague. The Malieveld is one of the main Dutch places for major demonstrations. The connection with demonstrations on large squares readily explains my interest in the Malieveld. In fact the story goes back to 2006 when the burgomaster of The Hague suggested the Malieveld as the building location for a new Dutch national museum. Five years ago historians showed evidence of an act from 1576 issued by William of Orange forbidding the sale of the Malieveld and the adjacent wood with the objective to cut down its trees. The website of VPRO television´s history channel has a very useful notice on this princely act, with links to the original text and a modern transcription of it, and this forms the starting point of my post.

The Malieveld in The Hague

A part of the Malieveld in The Hague

On February 21, 2011 the Dutch newspaper Trouw brought this again to the attentions of its readers. The article was accompanied by a photograph showing a horsed man dressed as William of Orange addressing people at the Malieveld before a debate on natural conservation in the province of South Holland. The debate on February 19 was organized by the Dutch Society for Natural Monuments, the National Forest Service which owns the Haagse Bos, and the Foundation for the Landscapes of South Holland. I will not touch upon this debate concerning the possibilities for new policies that cuts in the budgets might bring.

Jaap Buis started his majestic study Historia forestis. Nederlandse bosgeschiedenis (2 vol., Wageningen-Utrecht 1985) – available online at the E-depot of Wageningen University – with a short history of Dutch woods and forests. The woods around The Hague were not mentioned as woods in the late Middle Ages, but still as wilderness. The Haagse Bos was created in the fifteenth century. Its maintenance and use as a hunting ground costed lots of money. In 1574, during the early phase of the Dutch Revolt, The Hague was briefly captured by Spanish forces. William of Orange, himself one of the richest aristocrats of the Low Countries, needed money for the continuation of his struggle against the king of Spain, and he proposed the States of Holland to sell the Haagse Bos. Protests by the citizens of The Hague lead on April 16, 1576 to the signing of the Acte van redemptie.

The Institute for Dutch History has created an online database with the correspondance of William of Orange. The Dutch pater patriae got his nickname, William the Silent, not because of his abundant correspondence – some thirteen thousand letters have been tracked down! – but because of his skill in saying almost nothing with much words. In this act the prince of Orange made the citizens of The Hague promise to pay 1500 guilders from the sale of melted down church bells, and 1000 guilders from waiving the right to get back this sum which they had loaned to the prince. William promised in return that the bosch ende warande, the woods and park, would be forever geredimeert ende affecteert, reclaimed and looked after, and that these grounds will never be sold or put to sale for the purpose of cutting down its trees. All this would have to be maintained in full accordance with the old uses and servitudes known to the auditor and bailiff of North Holland.

A point initially missed by journalists and politicians was the fact that this act does not forbid any sale of the woods, but only a sale aiming to get rid of the woods, supposedly to sell the tress as timber and rent out the grounds as building parcels. Buis notes that in 1795 the National Convention was close to selling the Haagse Bos, but the proposal did not get a majority vote (see Buis, I, 14-15 and 328-333).

The Institute for Dutch History shows on its website only the text in a register of the Court of Holland (Hof van Holland, 44, fol. 112r-113v). The original letter has not been traced. The municipal archives of The Hague present the story on their website with a photograph of a copy from 1593 and a translation in modern Dutch. The year 1593 is no coincidence because Maurice of Orange issued in 1593 a new ordinance for the Haagse Bos. William’s act from 1579, the ordinance from 1593 and subsequent relevant documents can be found in the Groot placaet-boek (..) Staten Generael (9 vol., The Hague 1658-1796), the major collection of the acts and statutes issued by the Dutch General Estates, starting in the eight volume, page 654. The set can be consulted online in the section with old printed sources for Dutch history in the Digital Special Collections of Utrecht University Library. Using the website Archieven, an online database for searching in many Dutch archival collections, I found another item at the municipal archives in The Hague, a dossier of the municipal council from the period 1947 to 1953 concerning building plans on the Malieveld and the Koekamp (Gemeentebestuur 1953-1990, no. 5348) which mentions the 1576 Acte van redemptie. Nil novi sub sole! Among the digitized materials in these archives is the Jaarboek “Die Haghe“, the yearbook of the Society for The Hague’s history, and thus you can also check online the 1905 edition of the act from 1576.

The word redemptie sounds very much like the religious word redemption, and indeed its meaning is not far from the religious concept. In legal texts redemption means buying off or reclaiming something. I could check the meaning of the Dutch legal term in a reprint of a small legal dictionary from the eighteenth century, Franciscus Lievens Kersteman’s Practisyns woordenboekje of verzameling van meest alle de woorden in de rechtskunde gebruikelijk (Dordrecht: Blussé, 1785; reprint Groningen 1988), edited with an introduction by J.E. Ennik and Paul Brood. This “Practicioner’s Dictionary or Collection of Almost All Words Used in Jurisprudence” is really useful for understanding older Dutch legal texts. The Institute for Dutch Lexicography in Leiden makes available online not only the Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal but also dictionaries for Middle Dutch and Early Middle Dutch, and even a dictionary of yiddish words in Dutch. The Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal confirms and expands the meaning given by Kersteman.

The old name of The Hague, Den Haag, is actually an abbreviated form of ‘s-Gravenhage, literally “the hedge of the count”. In the thirteenth century count Floris (Florence) IV of Holland had bought grounds near the village Van der Hage. The counts clearly liked this spot next to a lake, nowadays the Hofvijver. Count Floris V built a large hall, now the Ridderzaal of the Dutch parliament. Since the fifteenth century the county tribunal, too, resided at The Hague. The main pastime of the counts was hunting on the grounds around The Hague. When the dukes of Bavaria came to reign over Holland in 1358 and decided to stay in The Hague all signs were positive for creating a real court like surrounding in which the old sport of hunting was not forgotten.  The court was both hunting lodge and a place to hold court, including attention to literature as shown by Frits van Oostrom in his acclaimed study Court and culture: Dutch literature, 1350-1450 (Berkeley, Ca., etc., 1992).

Living near a princely hunting ground was not easy for the citizens of The Hague. Today the Malieveld and the Haagse Bos form a much-needed green area in the city which houses the Dutch parliament and government and a number of international institutions. The Hague is the residence, too, of Queen Beatrix. As long as the 1576 act is not contested in court the fields and woods near the centre of The Hague are ready to receive people for a demonstration or just for a walk to muse over the amazingly long impact of William’s act.

Centuries of law in Normandy

The classic French legal historiography makes a wonderful neat and crisp distinction between two kinds of law prevailing in a large part of France. Either the droit écrit, written law in the particular sense of learned medieval law, or the droit coutumier, customary law, dominated one or more regions. Within the pays de droit coutumier the customary law of a particular region could influence other regions as well, and this is the case also for commentaries on and collections of the coutumes of a region. Perhaps the best known example are the Coutumes de Beauvaisis by Phillippe de Beaumanoir, edited by Amédée Salmon (2 vol., Paris 1899-1900; reprint Paris 1970). I noticed an announcement for a conference celebrating the eleventh centenary of the law in Normandy at Cerisy-La-Salle from May 25 to 29, 2011, and the bibliographical information provided there stimulated me to look further into Norman and Anglo-Norman law in medieval and modern times.

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the law librarians of the Library of Congress, published on January 18, 2011 a post by Meredith Shedd-Driskel on ‘Coutumes of France in the Law Library of Congress‘. This post has as its central point a beautifully illuminated manuscript of the Grand Coutumier de Normandie. The seven large historiated initials shown in this post make you longing for more. Seeing only one other page and the book’s cover does not make up for the fact that I had expected more, beginning with a complete digital version of this manuscript. Last year for example the Library of Congress published a substantial digital collection of their old books on piracy and documents about piracy trials, which induced me to write a post about pirates. The Library of Congress kindly informed me that they have not planned to digitize this manuscript. On French coutumes this library has published a book by Jean Caswell and Ivan Sipkov, The coutumes of France in the Library of Congress: an annotated bibliography (Washington, D.C., 1977; reprint Clark, N.J., 2006). Used together with André Gouron and Odile Terrin, Bibliographie des coutumes de France. Éditions antérieures à la Révolution (Geneva 1975) one can start further research.

Medieval manuscripts concerning the law of Normandy

In this post I will try to put the fifteenth century manuscript at Washington, D.C., in the context of other manuscripts and editions of the Grand Coutumier de Normandie as far as they can be consulted online. At least one manuscript has been digitized completely. The manuscript at Harvard University (Harvard Law School, Ms. 91) is written about 1300 and is less lavishly illustrated than the manuscript in Washington. The Huntington Library in San Marino, California, has two manuscripts of the Grand Coutumier de Normandie, HM 1343 in Latin from the first half of the fourteenth century with some illuminated pages, and HM 25862 with the French text from the second half of the fourteenth century. Ernest-Joseph Tardif discussed in his work Coutumiers de Normandie: textes critiques (2 vol. in 3 parts, Rouen-Paris 1881-1903; reprint Geneva 1977) the various versions of the text and edited them. His book is available online at Gallica.

Several manuscripts with the Coutumes de Normandie are illuminated. Most manuscripts are held by libraries, but some are kept at archives, such as the manuscript Rouen, Archives Départementales de Seine-Maritime, ms. 10. The Enluminures website brings you to three illuminated manuscripts held in French municipal libraries (Cherbourg, BM, 13 and 17, and Rouen, BM, 877). How to find more manuscripts in a quick way? Do portals bring you as much as you would like them to do? The Europeana portal brought me to just one manuscript, Paris, Musée du Petit Palais, Duteil 95, of which one can admire four illuminated pages at their website. CERL, the Consortium of European Research Libraries, has created a portal for searching manuscripts and early printed books until 1830; the search for printed books is mainly in a number of national bibliographies. It brings me through Calames to the manuscripts Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, 1743 and 2995. Checking on the Liberfloridus website for the illuminated manuscripts of both this library and the Bibliothèque Mazarine yielded no results. The Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen has two manuscripts, NKS 688 oktav and Thott 1012 kvart. Searching in the REX database of this library eventually ends with a third manuscript, Thott 303 oktav, with the Latin version.

More manuscripts in French libraries can be found using a more usual website, the Catalogue collectif de France. I will not list all these manuscripts, but only stress the need to use multiple search terms. When you look for coutumier and Normandie you will find here twelve manuscripts, searching with coutume and Normandie gives you fifty results, including later commentaries and collections of ârrets, the verdicts of the Parlement de Rouen. If you are not aware of the Latin version you would miss it completely. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Arsenal 804, called Summa de legibus Normannie (sic), and Rouen, BM, 818, Jura et statuta Normannie, are among the few manuscripts with the Latin version.

I could scarcely have made more clear the importance of not only using online catalogues, but also checking the printed versions and the often very detailed indices of manuscript catalogues. In the field of medieval canon and Roman law Gero Dolezalek has put on the website of the Leipzig law faculty alongside his information on medieval legal manuscripts also an extremely rich, fully commented and updated collection of links to online information about medieval manuscripts. The fine list on online resources by Bob Peckham (University of Tennessee at Martin), the impressive list of manuscript links compiled at the Kungliga biblioteket in Stockholm, and the marvellous gateway to manuscript studies of the Senate House Library, University College London, however useful for its purpose, lack such comments. The very least you should do for the manuscripts in Paris is to check also the online manuscript catalogue of the BnF. It is not wise nor really feasible to present in a simple blog post a complete list of medieval – and later – manuscripts with the different versions of the Coutumier de Normandie, including the rhymed versions and collections of maximes. In the bibliography at the University of Heidelberg created for the online version of the Dictionnaire Étymologique de l’Ancien Français you can find in a nutshell a bibliography of the Coutumier de Normandie and other French coutumes, including manuscripts and main editions of the most important versions.

Printed books and the history of the Coutumier de Normandie

Creating such an overview is not just a question of careful using manuscript catalogues, but of research in the existing literature about this text. Let’s turn to digitized books with the Coutume de Normandie or comments on it. The Jacob Burns Law Library of the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., recently acquired a copy of the first edition, an incunable from 1483. In the Spring 2010 issue of their news bulletin A Legal Miscellanea you can find a short, clear and substantial introduction to this and other early editions, besides a good sketch of the importance and role of Norman customary law. Finding this first edition in the online version of the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke (GW) was not easy, because somehow searching for coutumier or coutumes did not work. With the other main search website for incunabula in Germany, the INKA catalogue of the University of Tübingen, it becomes clear this edition is present in the GW with number M43587, where luckily a link is given to a digitized version at Troyes. In the online version of the Gesamtkatalog all editions of municipal and regional statutes, statutes of religious orders and synodal statutes, are filed under the headings Statuta civitatum, Statuta ordinum, Statuta synodalia and Statuta regnorum. Seven incunable editions exist for the Coutumes de Normandie. Legal historians should consult with profit the many digitized versions of incunable editions of medieval statutes indicated in the GW.

Visiting a relatively small number of digital libraries brings you to digitized editions of the Grand Coutumier de Normandie. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich has several editions, to be found using the OPACplus database. Among important editions it is good to remember the first edition of Le grand coutumier de France (Paris 1539) with the gloss of Guillaume Le Rouillé. At the moment of writing the OPACplus is not working completely as it did. In Paris Gallica has for instance digitized Le grand coustumier du pays et duché de Normandie (Rouen 1515), and not only Tardif’s modern edition, but also another edition of the Latin version, Summa de legibus Normanniae in curia laicali ou Coutumier latin de Normandie (Rennes 1896).

The Fontes Historiae Iuris portal at Lille brings together two editions of the Norman customary law, Pierre de Merville’s La coutume de Normandie reduit en maximes (..) (Paris 1707) and L’ancienne coutume de Normandie (Jersey 1881) by William Laurence de Gruchy, recently reprinted and expanded with an English translation  by Judith Ann Everard (Saint Helier 2009). At Lille you find also easily the links to commentaries by Berault (1612), Routier (1748), Le Royer de Tournerie (1778), and also the remarkable Dictionnaire analytique, historique, etymologique, critique et interpretatif de la coutume de Normandie by Daniel Houard (4 vol., Rouen 1780-1782). The Tarlton Law Library of the University of Texas at Austin has a small but remarkable online exhibition on the history of legal dictionaries, featuring also Houard. At the Hathi Trust digital library you can find his Traités sur les coutumes anglo-normandes (4 vol., Rouen 1776). In this digital library you find also the edition by A.J. Marnier of the ârrets present in a number of manuscripts, Établissements et coutumes, assises et arrêts de l’échiquier de Normandie, au treiziéme siècle (1207 à 1245) (Paris 1839). Let’s not forget to put the law of Normandy in the perspective of the droit coutumier at large. The Centre Lorrain d’Histoire du Droit has put the four volumes of Charles Bourdot de Richebourg’s Nouveau Coutumier General (…) de France (Paris 1724) online. The center at Nancy, too, maintains the Bibliographie d’histoire du droit en langue française, no laurels needed.

The legacy of Normandy’s law

The medieval customary law of Normandy is still living law on the Channel Islands, especially on Jersey. Willem Zwalve wrote about the use of the old Norman customary law in a case at Jersey from 2001, ‘Snell vs. Beadle. The Privy Council on Roman law, Norman customary law and the ius commune‘, in: “Viva vox iuris romani”: Essays in honour of Johannes Emil Spruit, L. de Ligt (ed.) (Amsterdam 2002) 379-386, available online at the digital repository of the University of Leiden. For Jersey the study by Charles Sydney Le Gros, Traité du droit coutumier de l’île de Jersey (Jersey 1943; reprint Saint Helier 2007) has a position somewhat akin to that of works stemming from the Romano-Dutch tradition in South-Africa. At Guernsey lawyers do look for time to time to the Coutumes des bailliage, duché et prévôté d’Orléans et ressort d’iceux by Robert Joseph Pothier (Paris 1740 and later editions). The edition Paris 1780 has been digitized at Gallica. His Traité des obligations (1761) and other treatises were destined to influence the creation of the Code civil, and it is remarkable that this earlier work, too, still has its area of influence.

Large parts of the digitized French cultural heritage can be found using the Patrimoine numérique website. I looked at institutions in Normandy. Normannia is Normandy’s digital library. The Patrimoine site mentions it, but the URL of the website is lacking. As for now I could find for the field of legal history just a few things. Using the rather limited search functionality – just lists ordered by date, author and title – I did only find a small book from 1786 called Recherches historiques sur les droits de la province de Normandie and some Caen guild statutes from 1679, both OCR scanned. The Bibliothèque municipale of Caen has digitized books, but these can only be consulted on spot, and I could not reach the website. A list at Bibliopedia offers you a handy selection of French digital libraries. The municipal library of Rouen has a database with selected images, also from manuscripts. For searching literature on Normandy the Catalogue Collectif Normand can help you, as does the earlier Bibliographie Normande in the journal Annales de Normandie. Les Normands, peuples d’Europe is a portal at Caen. Dipouest is a database at the Université Rennes-2  for searching articles on the history of Ouest-France in scientific journals.

Of course I am aware that much more can be said. Just one example: the libraries of Yale and Harvard, too, have rich holdings for the history of French customary law. It has been a tour d’horizon of Normandy. If you really want to look further into French legal history you might as well have a look at the recent guide to histoire du droit en ligne created for the Jurisguide website of the Université Paris-I by Isabelle Fructus of the Bibliothèque Cujas. At the website of this library you can still visit the online exhibit on the bicentenary of the Code civil (1804-2004) which has a generous section on earlier French law, including the various coutumes.

A postscript

In November 2011 Harvard Law School announced the acquisition and digitalization of a newly found medieval manuscript of the Summa de legibus Normannie. Charles Donahue Jr. comments on the manuscript with the sigle HLS MS 220.

A guide to researching coutumes

Only belatedly I noticed the short guide to the official redaction and reform in the sixteenth century of French coutumes provided in 2009 by Isabelle Brancourt, a scholar blogging about her research on the Parlement de Paris in the eigtheenth century. She notes the bibliography by Martine Grinbert on this process of redaction, Ecrire les coutumes. Les droits seigneuriaux en France (Paris 2006).

Bibliographical information and links

Even though this is another late addition, mentioning the website of the journal Tabularia edited at the Université de Caen is useful. You will find not only digitized issues of this journal, but also a yearly bibliographical chronicle and more relevant links for the history of Normandy. The Université de Rouen has started the project Bibliothèque David Hoüard: bibliothèque numérique de droit normand with digitized works from the sixteenth century onwards on customary law in Normandy. At the website of the Université de Caen linguists have created under the title Français légal ancien de Normandie digital versions of a number of old legal texts from Normandy.

Arguing the law with Nicolaus Everardi

In the early sixteenth century some changes become already visible in the way lawyers approached the law. Not only was there a growing interest in the history of Roman and canon law, but lawyers began to free themselves from the framework offered by these legal systems. One of the signs of this are the titles of legal treatises, the growth itself of this genre, and a more systematic approach of law. Nicolaus Everardi’s book on legal argumentation, his Topicorum seu de locis legalibus liber (Louvain 1516) is an example of this development. The book of this Dutch lawyer who presided the Court of Holland and the Great Council of Malines became almost a bestseller because of the reprints published everywhere in Europe. Printers in Bologna, Basel, Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Venice, Frankfurt am Main and Cologne printed this book until the mid-seventeenth century. I have found eight reprints of the first edition and eighteen of the second edition.

On the blog of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Frühe Neuzeit Klaus Graf recently criticized sharply the new database Early Modern Thought Online (EMTO) of the Fernuniversität Hagen that enables you to search for editions of texts in the broad field of early modern philosophy and thought. The EMTO database notes in the search results the availability of online versions. In this respect Graf saw major shortcomings, because EMTO does not harvest its results from some of the major sources for early modern texts online. During my searches in digital libraries I have often looked for a digitized copy of an edition of Nicolaus Everardi’s book on which I wrote my Ph.D. thesis. Against all expectations it was EMTO that finally brought me to a digitized edition of the Topicorum liber, often printed with the title Loci argumentorum legales. More in line with Klaus Graf’s review is the fact EMTO includes only one digitized edition from a library where in fact several editions of it have been digitized, including the editio princeps of 1516. Graf ends his short review with recommending a search strategy. The German Wikisource website has a page on the creation of bibliographies and the collection of bibliographical data which amounts to a guide for searching digitized books. The proof of the pudding of a search strategy or a database is its practical use and effectiveness, so let’s proceed to test it for Nicolaus Everardi (around 1492-1532).

EMTO points to an edition of Everardi’s book made available by Google Books. However, a quick look at the book shows a shelf number and a book mark of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. Google Books indicates more editions have been digitized, and it is strange EMTO does not include this information. Until recently the Digitale Sammlungen formed the only gateway to the books and manuscripts digitized at Munich. These rich collections contain digitized works of Everardi’s name sake, Nicolaus Everardi of Ingolstadt (1495-1570). The new OPACPlus offers more search possibilities than the Digitale Sammlungen. It appears not only editions of the Topicorum liber have been digitized but also his Consilia (Arnhem 1642, a late edition) and even four editions of the Synopsis locorum legalium, a reworking by Georg Adam Brunner (Magdeburg, around 1555, Darmstadt 1610, Ingolstadt 1643 and Regensburg 1671).

The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has digitized the editio princeps of 1516, the reprints Bologna 1528, Paris 1543 and Basel 1544. A second augmented edition appeared for the first time in Louvain in 1552, posthumously edited by sons of Everardi, and the reprints Lyon 1564, Venice 1567, Lyon 1579, Frankfurt 1581, 1591, 1604 and 1620, Cologne 1662. Thirteen digitized versions is more than I could have imagined!

Searching Nicolaus Everardi

Which books by Nicolaus Everardi do you find following the bibliographical strategy recommended by Klaus Graf? I will use also Graf’s general Leitfaden, his compact guide at the NetbibWiki. The Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog (KVK) is the first major tool to use. This meta-catalogue searches in library catalogues and collecitve catalogues worldwide and increasingly indicates digitized books. To show its range and depth I will take the example of the edition Paris 1543, the only result given by EMTO. When working on my thesis I had only found copies of this reprint in Munich, one at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the other one at the other side of the Ludwigstrasse in the university library of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. The KVK shows copies of the 1543 reprint in Rostock, Halle, Dresden and Washington, D.C. in the Library of Congress. Somewhat surprising remains its absence in French collections. The German Wikisource has a fine list of digital collections. Searching in them will take more time, but is the obvious thing to do. To this German list I would add for completeness’ sake in the field of wiki’s the list of digital library projects on the English Wikipedia.

Let’s continue with the search tips of the Wikisource list. OAIster is since a few years integrated with WorldCat, an initiative to search in library catalogues worldwide. After having seen the results found by the KVK OAIster’s harvest is very minimal, just one book written by the Ingolstadt namesake of Nicolaus Everardi, and not surprisingly digitized at Munich. OAIster’s slogan “Finding the pearls” sounds a bit hollow to me. At this moment six of his works have been digitized. The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine BASE does find only these six works at Munich, because only the documents in the Digitale Sammlungen are among the repositories harvested by BASE. Using the Europeana library portal brings you to twenty results. Only one Munich copy of an edition of the Synopsis by Brunner is noted here, the six works of the Ingolstadt Everardi are present, and nine results from Munich specifically for my Everardi. The university library at Ghent has digitized the reprint Lyon 1579, and the Göttinger Digitalisierungszentrum the reprint Frankfurt 1604. Europeana finally shows bibliographical information for the reprint Bologna 1528, Venice 1539 and 1567 with images of the title pages made available for the census of Italian imprints of the sixteenth century.

The Wikisource list continues with a number of German tools. The BAM portal, a portal to German libraries, archives and museums, mentions almost 200 search results for Everardi, fourteen of them for Nicolaus Everardi, three for the Ingolstadt law professor and one for a Memoriale juridicum created by Georg Bucksulber from Everardi’s work. BAM finds the Consilia of the Ingolstadt Everardi (2 vol., Frankfurt 1603-1604), but not one digitized book for this test case. The list mentions ZEVEP which searchs in repositories and publishers’ catalogues, and the OPUS site at Stuttgart mainly presenting modern materials in digital repositories of German universities, with nothing for my example. EROMM, the European Register of Microforms and Digital Masters, does bring just one result for my case. The Zentrales Verzeichnis Digitalisierter Drucke seems promising. It yields all digitized books in Munich of my example, but it succeeds in presenting as separate objects the parts of the alphabetical index in the edition Frankfurt 1604 held at Göttingen. I will not tediously list all German catalogues. One of the more interesting is the Okeanos server of the library centre for Nordrhein-Westfalen and Rheinland-Pfalz. This centre has also created Digibib which enables you to choose libraries anywhere in Germany, to use it as a meta-catalogue for all Germany, or to use links in its generous link selections. The HEBIS portal from Hessen is leaner than Digibib but brings less search results for my case. Intriguing and frustrating is the link to a digitized manuscript of Nicolaus Everardi Ingolstadtiensis at Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, HB VI 15, a persistent link unfortunately not – or not yet – correctly resolved. Searching directly at the website of the Stuttgart library did not bring me to this manuscript.

The overview at the German Wikisource has not forgotten other countries. In passing the TROVE website of the National Library of Australia is noted. The clear presentation of the different types of search results make it certainly look like a kind of treasure trove, but it brought me for this very specific case only a few useful results. The Pionier portal to Polish digital libraries is in principle the kind of tool which should bring results covering many or all digital libraries in one country, but alas without results for my Dutchman. Wikisource continues with a brief section on digitized manuscripts, scientific journals and newspapers. The low rate of digitization in Switzerland is lamented, but to E-rara one can at least add retro-seals for digitized journals, the mainly Francophone RERO DOC digital library of the West Swiss library association, and for manuscripts e-codices. Dana Sutton’s Philological Museum deserves well-earned praise for his efforts to create an analytical bibliography and to locate copies of digitized books with texts in Neo-Latin written after 1500. As for now only the Ingolstadt Everardi is to be found here. Elsewhere Graf almost groans about finding out about the holdings of digital libraries in Japan, but here progress is surely possible as shown at the “DigiMisc” page of the NetbibWiki.

Some conclusions

Perhaps the Everardi case is too much a case of a rare book, a rather paradoxical conclusion for a book reprinted so often during 150 years and even having its own offspring in the form of a Synopsis and a Memoriale, but some conclusions seem clear. Using the major collective catalogues and meta-catalogues is indeed the best point of depart. The KVK and its sisters for theology and religious history, the Virtueller Fachbibliothek Theologie und Kirche and the Kirchlicher Verbundkatalog, combined with Digibib and the BAM portal, give Germany a very dense coverage. Given the fact that Europeana exists only a few year it is no wonder its results can sometimes seem meagre. Wikisource did not mention the European Library, the consortium of Europe’s national libraries. The Wikisource page does offer a useful general approach to digitized books, and not just a handy list for checking bibliographical data. The NetbibWiki, an initiative of Klaus Graf, offers far more detailed pages on many aspects of libraries and digital collections, for example for incunabula. It helped me very much creating my own page on digital libraries with a focus on law and legal history.

To me the best practice seems to start using the major meta-catalogues, such as the KVK, Melvyl (California), the Belgian LIBIS networkURBS and maybe the Vatican Library as a class of its own, then to go to the large digital libraries and specific national digitization projects, and finally to use the collections assembled for the field of legal history, history and law. This is a world awaiting to be conquered, and surely searching digitized materials will still consume time. However, taking into account this triple approach means also you are following the path set out by Everardi who discussed among his forms of legal argumentation a enumeratione partium, “from counting the parts”.

A postscript

Klaus Graf points at his blog Archivalia to a list of French digital libraries at Bibliopedia. Karen Reeds points to the Internet Archive, only briefly mentioned in the list on Wikisource. It contains a growing number of books from American and Canadian libraries, and the search possibilities of the Internet Archive deserve close attention.

For old juridical books it is never too late to check the holdings of the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte in Frankfurt am Main and this institute’s catalogues of old editions created by Douglas Osler. National bibliographies, bibliographies of legal books – e.g. the Bibliography of Early American Law by Morris L. Cohen (6 vol., Buffalo, N.Y., 1998; supplement 2003) – and special bibliographies for old editions, some of them online such as the Short Title Catalogue Netherlands, the Short Title Catalogus Vlaanderen for Flanders, the German VD16, VD17 and VD 18 (with digitized copies), the English Short Title Catalogue, the Italian EDIT16 and the Catálogo Colectivo de Patrimonio Bibliográfico Español, should not be forgotten. Book History Online is a database of the Dutch Royal Library in which you can search for bibliographical literature.