The Research Documentation Interface records the secondary literature relevant to the holdings preserved by the Department of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books at the Bavarian State Library. In other words, the database contains references to bound manuscripts, papers and autographs as well as rare and particularly precious imprints, however not music manuscripts and imprints for which – apart from very few exceptions ( A to C and 3725) – the Music Department is responsible. Some 90 per cent of the records pertain to manuscripts.

The appearance of the records may differ depending on the date of their creation: The modern ones, that have been catalogued since 2004, are rather complete, whereas the data coming from the old card catalogue are quite heterogeneous, ranging from retyped records to those in manuscript, sometimes also in abbreviated form.


There are two different search types available: the simple search and the advanced search. Both are quite similar to those of the BSB online catalogue (OPACplus). The shelf-mark of a manuscript or of an imprint is the most frequent and most important search term: In order to get the most precise result(s) possible we recommend writing these shelf-marks in inverted commas (e.g. “Clm 4711”); in addition, one may truncate with an asterisk. The auto-complete function is supposed to help writing the shelf-marks correctly, which can at times be rather tricky. For a complete list of shelfmarks click here.

Obsolete variants of our shelf-marks, such as “” (for Clm), “Cod.germ.” (for Cgm) and “Graec.monac” (for Cod.graec.) as well as those referring to former classifications, e.g. “Cimelia" (Cim.), illuminated manuscripts (Cod.c.pict.) or latin fragments (see the list of reclassified shelfmarks) and standard numbers for imprints (BSB-Ink-, VD16-, VD17-, and VD18-numbers) have not been included in the database, so the relevant modern shelf-marks have to be ascertained with the help of other electronic databases, specifically the BSB OPAC (among others).

Additional search options

- Publication Title

Searching for key words in the publication titles or subtitles as well as for journals and series. For this search as well as for other query terms the auto-complete function is also available. The field dedicated to the title may also contain cross-references in the form of “Siehe“ (=“cf.”) and “Siehe auch”. The most frequent of these references pertain to a specific archive in manuscript form labelled “Handschriften-Archiv”, where one can find unpublished material or photographic reproductions. However, as yet unpublished catalogue records produced by the library’s Manuscript Cataloguing Centre are not included in this archive.

- Author

Searching with the name of the author or editor of the academic publication.

In most cases the pre-2003 catalogue provides the publication title and the name of the author for every single record separately, which means searching with these query terms may result in multiple hits for the same record. Additionally, the database fields have not been reliably filled, so the number of hits may not be exhaustive.

- Year

- Restrict search to titles available in the reading room only

In the search field you may also specifically select records that can be easily accessed in the reference library of the Department of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books (Hbh/…). Off-prints (“Hbh/Sonderdruck”) can be ordered directly from the desk in the reading room. Without prior restriction you will receive a number of hits for titles without shelf-marks or with a shelf-mark kept in the book stacks (to be ordered via the BSB-OPAC).


The list of results shows the core data of the publications (usually their titles, names of authors, year, and shelf-mark). By selecting a specific record you will obtain fuller bibliographic data. However, a considerable number of records coming from the pre-2003 card catalogue may not contain the complete data but will provide, to this end, the images of the respective catalogue cards instead.

In the display of a single record you may continue your search with the author’s name, aspect, and the shelfmarks of manuscripts or imprints as well as the library shelfmarks of the publications themselves. In most cases, a hyperlink to the BSB-OPAC will also be provided, from which you will obtain fuller bibliographic data. In some cases a hyperlink to the full text of the publication (paper, monograph) may be included, too.

In the left section of your screen you may use defining terms or selection criteria (usually referred to as facets) to narrow your results. Most of these facets are self-explanatory, thus only two – the aspect and the record origin – are to be dealt with in closer detail:


This selection criterion pertains to the thematic aspect, under which the manuscript or imprint has been treated in the publication. The following 11 standardised terms have been used:

  • Abbildung(en) = plate(s)
  • Edition
  • Einband = binding
  • Faksimile = facsimile
  • Geschichte = history
  • Kunst = art
  • Musik = music
  • Papier = paper
  • Schrift = script
  • Text
  • Text-Abdruck = printed portion(s) of text

The category has not always been filled. Please note that the respective restriction may thus result in a limited number of hits, i.e., important records may not be included in the sum total.

Record origin

This facet may refine your search according to the record’s origin. There are three different types to choose from:

  1. Alter Katalog (vor 2003) = records of the retro converted analogue pre-2003 catalogue (with the possibility to view the catalogue cards)
  2. Neuaufnahme Aufsatz = records pertaining to papers that have been catalogued since 2004 with full bibliographic data
  3. 3. Neuaufnahme Monographie = records pertaining to monographs that have been catalogued since 2004 with full bibliographic data

If you select “Neuaufnahme” you may well also obtain titles with a publication date prior to 2004. However, in order to limit the publications according to their dates of appearance adequately, we advise you to use the respective facet. <br/> In addition, we would like to highlight the possibility to restrict your search to hits with full text available online, by means of the facet “Bezugswerk: Volltext”.


If you feel that the database is (still) lacking some (more recent) publications, please inform us by using the form attached or via handschriften(at) . You are also welcome to contact us in order to draw our attention to faulty records. Thank you for your cooperation!