The database is organised to cross-reference people’s names (authors, copyists, patrons, etc.), work titles and manuscript shelf mark. The search interface is organised as a simple ‘Query’ field that can be used with Latin and Arabic script facilitated by an on-screen keyboard. It is possible to search (with results) using the following fields:
- The main title of a literary work included in a manuscript
- Main author of a given work
- Includes all individuals mentioned in the database as part of the description of works such as copyist, patrons or rulers.
- Where a manuscript was created or copied, or a place mentioned in different notes.
- Manuscript shelfmark:
- is the numeral code of individual manuscripts assigned by the different libraries included in this database.
- Work notes:
- extra information about a manuscript.
- All fields:
- searches in all fields including libraries and collections.
Data can also be browsed using the Browse works link. This will display the data organised alphabetically by title.
Once an initial search has been done, the data matching the keyword will be displayed in a different page. The new interface is divided in two parts. On the left-hand side, a sidebar allows narrowing further the obtained information into other fields such as ‘author’, ‘language’, ‘place of manuscript composition’, ‘Library and collection’ where the work is held, date of composition and copy, etc. The right-hand side of the screen displays the results of the search by offering basic data on related works such as title, author, shelfmark and location of the manuscript. All of these fields can be accessed to obtain more detailed information on each of these aspects of a work.
Each work has its own page, describing the particularities of the text. For instance, a work profile page shows the author name and biographical information about him, the title(s) and a description of the work selected and the relevant codicological information for this manuscript such as dimensions, folio numbers, date and place of copying and information on the copyist(s) and patron(s). Each of these fields can be further explored clicking on the relevant hyperlink.
Arabic, Persian and Turkish are transliterated in accordance with Library of Congress standards. Arabic script is given for all work titles and author names.
Some additional formatting can be used to improve search results.
- Quotation marks (“)
- Double quotation marks before and after a word produces a search matching only the that specific phrase within the marks.
- Multiple fields and words
- Words and fields can be combined by adding additional elements of search clicking the ADD option in the original search page. For example, you could search for “Rūmī” in the Author field AND “masnawi” in the Title field simultaneously, narrowing the search results to the user’s specific interest.
- Asterix (*)
- You can use the asterix (*) to match one or more characters. A search for lit* will match words like “Literature”, “literacy” and “liturgy”, etc.
- Diacritics and special characters
- Although the terms in the database have been standardised using the LC transliteration practises, the searching has been maximised to simplify the results. Therefore, searching for Muḥammad/Muhammad, Şi’ir/Siir or Rūmī/Rumi produces the same results.
- Removing filters
- Searches can be widened again by removing any of the current filters (searches in particular fields for particular values), using the links on the top of the right-hand sidebar.