Additions and Varia


An "addition" is a neutral term to indicate that someting is "later added" or secondary from the view point of the cataloguer: it should never be used to mark a content, that presupposes another perspective.

Additions (or additiones) are very often written in a secondary hand, and they are later than the main text(s) of the manuscript. They mark the so-called "secondary life" of the manuscript as the latter is used as a repository of documentary information, i.e. a true archive. These value are provided for the @type in the <desc> element.

It is crucial that <additions> should be used only for elements added later to the text! Therefore, they do not include subscriptions or supplications written at the same time as the main texts.

When describing an addition, please provide if possible:

  1. language;
  2. hand (by a recent/old hand, by the same hand as that of the main text, by the same hand as that of another addition, etc.); "in a secondary hand" should be avoided: it is obvious;
  3. ink (in recent ink, hardly legible because of the faded ink, etc.).
  4. readability (hardly readable, washed/scratched out etc.);
  5. whether the addition is rhymed.

If you cannot decide if the text is a main content or an addition, follow the criteria identified by Andrist in the COMSt book (p. 512) to identify strata. Additions would always be quaternary strata (independent content, not indepedent material, autonomous writing project) whereas copied additions are primary strata. In the case in which a manuscript has a donation note which is a "added written element" thus preserving its writing project and the integrity of its content in comparison with the main text, but without material independence, than it is an addition, and we encode it as such. If instead the unit is part of a primary writing project, the fact that it is copied from an addition does not change the fact that it is an msItem in a msPart or msDesc.

The example of the Liber Aksumae compilation, should be encoded as msItems.

These additions are encoded in an <additions> element in <physDesc>, which will contain a <list> of additions. A general note on all additions can be added before <list> within a <note> element.

Each <item> will have a structure as follows:

<list> <item xml:id="a1"> <locus target="#1r"></locus> <desc type="OwnershipNote">Crude ownership note in pencil.</desc> <q xml:lang="gez">ዘ<persName ref="PRS11944GabraM" role="owner"> <roleName type="title">አባ፡</roleName> ገብረ፡ ማርያም፡</persName> </q> </item> </list>

The @xml:id of additions will use "a" and a consecutive number.

If the language of the addition is known but no excerpt is copied, use an empty <q> as in the following example from BLAdd16187 .

<q xml:lang="am"></q>

You can specify the type of addition in the <desc> element, using one of the values provided for the @type.

If the addition is written in the margin or on a guard leaf, add to <item> also a @rend with value marginal or guardLeaf.

If the type of document is known, then there should be a narrative entity to which a @ref can be given.

<item xml:id="a2" xml:lang="am" ref="NAR0001gwǝlt"> <locus target="#3v"></locus> <p>Land donation (gwǝlt) of <persName ref="PRS8344sahlaDe">Śāhlā Dǝngǝl</persName> (A.D. 1832-40, and again 1841-55) to the priests of <placeName ref="LOC2550Darasg">Darasge</placeName>, in Amharic. </p> </item>

If a work with its own work ID is added later to a manuscript, it will be added as an addition specified with the type "GuestText" having its work ID in the description:

<item xml:id="a10"> <locus from="115v"></locus> <desc type="GuestText"> <title type="Complete" ref="LIT3957SalotaB">ጸሎተ፡ ቡራኬ፡ ዘቅዱስ፡ ባስልዮስ።</title> </desc> <q xml:lang="gez"> <desc>The following is the incipit:</desc> ኦሥሉስ፡ ቅዱስ፡ አብ፡ ወወልድ፡ ወመንፈስ፡ ቅዱስ፡ ባርክ፡ ዲበ፡ ሕዝብከ፡ ፍቁራን፡ ክርስቶሳውያን፡ በበረከት፡ ሰማያዊት፡ </q> </item>

The same you can do if there is documentary text which you want to identify. When creating the record a keyword should then be used to put the text in its correct position as non-literary. We have in the category of keywords for Subjects for example "Other" but also "Legal Document". If LIT4972Don is in fact according to the definition in the schema a Donation Note, you can add that keyword to the work record.

If the text is a primary strata and we happen to have also manuscripts where this text is an addition, then you could add a <relation> (e.g. with saws:isCopyOf for @name) which connects the <msItem> with the addition in question.

In additions as anywhere in the manuscript description, a <handNote> should be created for each identifiable hand, whether it can be described from available pictures of the manuscript or whether the catalogue provides sufficient information for assigning certain additions to individual hands. If no such information is available, no <handNote> should be created, as it cannot always be excluded that the addition is written in the hand of the main text.


Under Varia or extra, we list the following phenomena, which simply concern the copying process or are more trivial than additiones:

  1. the title of the work written on the front board or cover, sometimes with blue or black paint or ink;
  2. the midpoint in the "Psalms of David" (in Ps. 77, after the word በደመና፡);
  3. the presence of stamps of the owning repository;
  4. part of the line is taken up or taken down (e.g., in the Psalters);
  5. glosses written in the margins;
  6. the so-called tamallas-sign, in the shape of a cross (as +) or two perpendicular lines (as ┴ or├), indicating the place where the omissions (written in the upper or lower margin) belong;
  7. omitted letters, words, lines or passages inserted interlineally, in the margins, at the beginning/end of the line ;
  8. erasures;
  9. corrections written over erasures, in the main hand or in a later recent hand;
  10. erasures marked with thin black and red lines;
  11. corrections immediately indicated by the scribe through thin series of dashes above and below the letters or the words;
  12. spaces for rubricated names left unfilled;
  13. unfilled spaces marked with thin black lines;
  14. cues for the rubricator written in the margin or in the interocolumn (e.g., small digits);
  15. erased names or names secondarily written over erased names (typically in the supplication formulas);
  16. the scribe reduced the size of his handwriting to accommodate the end of the line;
  17. the scribe used compressed script ("compressed" means two lines in a space originally meant for one single line), often to accommodate lines written over erasure;
  18. monthly or daily readings are usually indicated by writing the names of the months and weekdays in the upper margin of the folio, sometimes within frames;
  19. pen trials, notes crudely written in pencil or pen;
  20. scribbles and doodles.

Please not that these phenomena should only be encoded under Varia if the text in which they occur is not transcribed. I.e. if space for rubrications in left unfilled in incipits, and these incipits are transcribed in the manuscript description, the unfilled spaces should be encoded properly there and the information does not need to be repeated under Varia.

See also Text Encoding.

Information provided in the catalogue which would ideally be marked up directly in a transcribed text, such as the names of owners or patrons mentioned in supplications or elsewhere, can also be recorded in Varia if the textual context is not provided by the catalogue:

<item xml:id="e1"> <locus target="#1r"></locus> <desc>The owner was <persName ref="PRS12179BatraG" role="owner"></persName>.</desc> <q xml:lang="gez"></q> </item>

The @xml:id of varia will use "e" and a consecutive number:

<item xml:id="e2"> <desc>The text was frequently corrected, many words were erased or restored by <ref target="#h2"></ref>.</desc> </item>

This page is referred to in the following pages

Revisions of this page

  • Pietro Maria Liuzzo on 2018-04-30: first version of guidelines from Wiki
  • Pietro Maria Liuzzo on 2018-04-24: stub of page
  • Dorothea Reule on 2018-05-16: Edited and split from manuscript contents page
  • Dorothea Reule on 2018-05-23: Added paragraph on handNotes
  • Pietro Maria Liuzzo on 2018-06-18: Added summary of Issue 917
  • Dorothea Reule on 2018-08-03: Added encoding of owners in varia