Digital Scholarly Editions of Five of Hans Sloane’s Manuscript Catalogues Published Online

Digital Scholarly Editions of Five of Hans Sloane’s Manuscript Catalogues Published Online

The Enlightenment Architectures research team has today published online open access digital scholarly editions of five of Hans Sloane’s manuscript catalogues of his collections.  These five catalogues represent a selection from across the three national institutions which were created by Hans Sloane’s will: the British Museum, the British Library, and the Natural History Museum (London).

As part of the Enlightenment Architectures project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, these five manuscript catalogues have been analysed, transcribed, modelled and then text encoded using TEI, the Text Encoding Initiative standard markup language.  This research outcome of the Enlightenment Architectures project aims to provide a collection of prime exemplar TEI encoded materials for these highly significant early modern museum catalogues — collection management ‘paper tools’ for the shaping and production of knowledge in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The editions are:


These five publications have been designed for free consultation in association with the Sloane Consortium of UK national institutions which hold the original manuscript catalogue documents and related collections of Sir Hans Sloane: The British Museum, The British Library, and the Natural History Museum, London. All 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 manuscript as listed above and on the information pages of the publications themselves.*  

These scholarly editions 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.  

The publications will be available for online consultation for three years until December 2022, when the Sloane Consortium envisages being in a position to migrate this significant research data to a larger discovery platform which will encompass a more comprehensive range of open access catalogues of Sloane’s collections.

We hope that these editions will be of value to the wide range of scholars, museum professionals, and interested individuals.


The Enlightenment Architectures Team

Principal Investigator:  Dr Kim Sloan (Prints & Drawings, British Museum)
Curator of British Drawings and Watercolours before 1880 and the Francis Finlay Curator of the Enlightenment Gallery

Co-Investigator:  Dr Julianne Nyhan (Information Studies, UCL)
Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), Department of Information Studies, UCL

Senior Research Associate:  Dr Martha Fleming
Project Manager and Research Coordinator, Sloane Consortium (BM, BL, NHM)

Postdoctoral Research Assistants:

  • Dr Alexandra Ortolja-Baird (Prints & Drawings, British Museum)
  • Dr Victoria Pickering (Prints & Drawings, British Museum)

Ph.D Candidate:  Deborah Leem (Information Studies, UCL)


* Images of the folios of the manuscripts have kindly been provided by the holding institutions under the following understandings and conditions:

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)

Natural History Museum images of Fossils 1 and Fossils V:

courtesy of Library and Archives, Natural History Museum, London (Public Domain)

British Museum images of Miscellanies:

© The Trustees of the British Museum. Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence