Across the Planet. The Past and the Future of Libraries

De scientia venandi per aves, MS 446, fol. 1r (1450 –1475) © Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University
Treatise on falconry, MS arabe 2831, fol. 1r (1444) © Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
Kitāb na‘t al-ḥayawān, MS Or. 2784, fol. 229r (13th century) © British Library, London
MEFA digital archive, ContentDm view

key details

14 September 2023
Online on Zoom
4pm — 6pm (CET)


  • Factum Foundation
  • University of Oxford


Cristina Dondi, Professor of Early European Book Heritage at the University of Oxford, where she also leads the 15cBOOKTRADE project, will present a research on the lost Benedictine Library that was once part of the monastery at San Giorgio Maggiore, now home to the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and ARCHiVe – Analysis and Recordings of Cultural Heritage in Venice. The monastery was suppressed in 1806 and its rich collection of manuscripts and incunabula was dispersed. Dondi and colleagues have identified the location of over 180 important works and continue to add new titles as they are located in museums, libraries and private collections.

While Dondi’s research is focused on a disbanded library, the work of the Middle-East Falconry Archive (MEFA), commissioned by the Mohammed Bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Fund (MBZRCF) and carried out by Factum Foundation based within ARCHiVe, is centred on bringing all known medieval Arabic manuscripts on Falconry together online in one place.

Carolina Gris (Factum Foundation, Madrid-Venezia) will present a summary of the first two years’ work and discuss the role of IIIF and inter-library sharing to make specialist areas of interest available to a wider audience of both scholars and general interest users. This approach to the creation of specialised repositories of knowledge is paving the way to a new future for libraries and library users.


Cristina Dondi

Cristina Dondi is Professor of Early European Book Heritage, and Oakeshott Senior Research Fellow in the Humanities at Lincoln College, University of Oxford. She is also the Secretary of CERL. In 2009 she created the international database Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI). She is the editor of Printing Revolution and Society, 1450-1500. Fifty Years that Changed Europe (Venice, 2020, open access), and, together with Dorit Raines and Richard Sharpe, of How the Secularization of Religious Houses Transformed the Libraries of Europe, 16th–19th Centuries (Turnhout, 2022).

Carolina Gris

Carolina Gris is responsible for coordinating and implementing 3D digitisation projects for Factum Foundation in Italy and other locations in Europe.
She has taught theoretical and practical workshops on digital preservation, and has lectured and published on new modes of access to cultural heritage. She has managed the Middle East Falconry Archive (MEFA) since 2021.

Across the Planet. The Past and the Future of Libraries