Since January this year, a new website prepared by the librarians of the WUL's Manuscripts Department is available at pinax.bu.uni.wroc.pl. It presents basic information on all manuscripts preserved in our library, hence the name pinax, which means a catalogue in Greek. This is a pioneering project because so far no Polish library has made its manuscript inventory available on the Internet.
Our manuscript holdings consist of many smaller collections of various provenance. Some of them have already been thoroughly described and their catalogues are available in printed form (e.g. the Milich collection from Zgorzelec/Görlitz), while others (e.g. the collection of the former City Library of Wrocław) have only old handwritten catalogues that do not meet current standards. They usually do not have indices, that would facilitate their use; moreover, beeing written in 19th century German Kurrentschrift, they are sometimes more difficult to decypher than the codices they aim to describe. Until now, if a reader wanted to find out whether we possess a particular work, he or she faced a daunting task: checking each catalogue individually or asking for help from the librarians. They tend to have more experience as well as access to the in-house inventories, but are not always able to provide answers quickly due to their many other responsibilities.
In order to spare readers the aforementioned difficulties, we have decided to launch a new website. It contains all the basic information on our manuscripts (shelfmark, abbreviated description of the contents, date of origin, languages, provenance, link to a digitised version, if there is any) and allows the user to perform quick searches. Furthermore, after clicking on a found record one can get familiar with the bibliography about a given volume, find information on the writing surface and the binding, and finally check whether it can be consulted in the reading room or whether it is avalaible in microfilm format. In addition to a simple search of the content of the descriptions, it is also possible to filter the results according to particular fields, for example, by selecting a particular language, provenance or date. Since many scholars interested by our collections do not come from Poland, our website is available in three foreign languages: English, German and Latin. Owing to the fact that the descriptions are in a digital form, they can be supplemented and corrected without any limitations. In the future we will also introduce new features, including keyword search, generating reports, data export to various formats. We hope that with the new inventory all interested readers will have a much better access to our collections.