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General Introduction The purpose of these brief introductory remarks is to tell you, first, what kind of information you can find on this website and, second, how you can retrieve this information. The core of the whole site is a scholarly database. This database contains all kinds of information about the illuminated medieval manuscripts of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek and the Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum. You can get access to this 'electronic catalogue' in various ways. When choosing your way, your own expertise and wishes should guide you. If you do not routinely consult databases and your interest in medieval illumination is not a professional one, you may start with our guided tour. This will help you to get acquainted with the collection in general, and with the subject matter of the illuminations in particular. The tour contains many links to the database, so you can compose many of your own 'virtual' galleries of pictures while you read the texts. An important feature of the catalogue is the richness of subject information. To give systematic access to the subject matter of the circa 10,000 miniatures, historiated initials and border decorations we have applied the Iconclass system . A special version of this system is included on this site. This allows you to browse through all the terms that were used for subject indexing in a systematic way. To find your way through the applicable index terms, a keyword search option is provided. Should you prefer German or French to English when consulting the subject index, you can easily switch languages by clicking the appropriate flag. Choosing this option will take you straight to the database's search form. You can compose your query by filling in the form. To assist you with that, you may consult the indices. These will provide you with the terms that are valid for the various fields. If you are familiar with medieval books and have some experience with the use of an electronic catalogue, you should be able to work with this interface without too many problems.
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