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The Málaga Corpus of Late Middle English Scientific Prose

» Index » Library » Guided Tour


Here you may learn the essentials of this site and how to use its facilities best. The tour is divided into four chapters: Finding your way around the initial page, Browsing manuscripts, Playing with words (and lemmas!) and Troubleshooting; a short FAQs section has also been added for quick reference.


When you open the initial page, your screen will show this:

Main Window

If you are at a loss for what to do next, since no links are evident (in fact, that is probably why you are reading this), we invite you to mouse over the arrow and click on the scroll on the wall, the arms on the stained glass window, and the several volumes of the bookcase. However, if you don’t have time for fun and games, the following will explain straightforwardly what the initial page contains, and how to go from here to the other sections of the site.

[Back] 1. The scroll

Left-clicking on the scroll will unroll it and display a menu. The menu offers some basic information about the site, arranged into six sections that present: the most salient features of the project: What?; the people and Universities involved in it: Who? and Where?, respectively; a time schedule explaining the stages that led to the final product: When?; the reasons behind the project: Why?; and the way in which it has been carried out: How? Clicking on each of those will open a pop-up window with the corresponding information.
Most sections of the scroll are followed by a mark. The following explains their meaning:


Clicking on this section will take you to another page, either within this site or from an external site (in the latter case a new tab/window opens).


Clicking on this link will open a submenu with new options.


Clicking on this link will invoke an internal pop-up window.

To roll the scroll back up, just click on it again.

[Back] 2. The stained glass window


The stained glass window serves as a gateway to the websites of the several institutions involved in this project: the Universities of Jaén, Málaga, Murcia, Glasgow, Oviedo, and the Spanish Ministry of Education. Each of those is represented by its usual shield, enclosed in a different arch. Click on them if you would like to visit their homepages.

[Back] 3. The bookcase


Just like a real library, the bookcase keeps the truly important information, and is the heart of the site. Using the bookcase will give you access both to the actual (if virtual) manuscripts and to their linguistic analysis. To use it, remember that the spines of the books on the left of the topmost shelf are actually links to the images of a MS. Just mouse over them and you will note that some change colour; doing this will also invoke a tooltip with shelfmark information.

Note: The spines that you see in the bookcase are not actual images of the spines of the real MSS.

Once you have found the desired MS, click on its spine and a pop-up window will provide you with information on the treatise(s) contained in it, as in the following.

Select book
[MS] Select teatrise

Choose a treatise, and then specify whether to see the digitised images and transcription or simply the manuscript description (an abridged physical description and the conventions used in the edition of the MS) from a subsequent pop-up. You can go back to a previous pop-up screen at any time by clicking [Back]. Pressing [Close] will close the pop-up window.


Note: Those MSS found on the third shelf of the bookcase, belonging to the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, only provide the digitized images.


Choosing Images only or Images and Text in the pop-up menu when you click on a spine will start a new Flash animation. Depending on your Internet connection, loading this may take some time. Since loading the whole MS at once would take quite a long time, even with a fast Internet connection, the MS images have been grouped into convenient gatherings of 40-50 pages (or an equivalent number of folios). For example, Hunter 503 is divided into three blocks (0-40, 40-89, and 89-137); these gatherings include both the front and back covers, as well as blank pages/folios. You can choose the desired block through the menu on top of the volume Select Block; the gathering loaded at that time is marked in a different colour – the first gathering in the preceding example.

Once a gathering is fully loaded, there are several things that you can do.

Manuscript open

Browsing. You can browse the MS by turning its pages as you would with a real MS. There are two ways of doing this: manual and automatic (the latter is recommended for old computers and/or those with a low graphic card).
The manual mode tries to simulate the physical act of turning an actual book page. If you are browsing the first block, just click anywhere on the cover and it will open, presenting the first page (normally, a flyleaf). If you want to turn over the first flyleaf, move the arrow to the outer edge of the page, then hold down the left mouse button and drag the mouse to the left until the page is turned, then release. Be sure to turn the computer loudspeakers on while you are flipping the page to listen to the sound effect!

Note 1: You do not need to flip the whole page to turn over the page; it is enough if about half the page is turned.
Note 2: The manual mode is not accessible when some additional effect (Text, Magnifying glass or Marginalia) is on.

The automatic mode works by clicking on the arrows on the toolbar over the MS Arrows. You can turn one page at a time, or else go directly to the beginning or the end of the gathering. Moreover, you can go to a particular page/folio of the MS via the option Go to Go to. You just write the number of the desired page in the box and then hit Go to. If the page is within the block loaded, it will open automatically. If the page is not found, that usually means either that the page is in another block, or that you should include folio information (recto/verso).

Page not found
Page found

Note: Selecting a page in a MS can be tricky, as some are numbered by page, some by folios. If you want to see a particular folio (recto/verso) , add “r” or “v” immediately to your number (say, 12v for f. 12 verso).

Magnifying glass.- If you want to have a more detailed view of the MS page, just click on the magnifying glass icon. . A small window will appear on the top left corner, with a red frame enclosed; drag the frame to the particular place of the page that you would like to see more clearly. This effect gives a 2x magnification of the image onscreen; the quality of the magnified image is also significantly better. To deselect this effect, just click on the appropriate icon again.

Manifying glass
Manifying glass

Note 1: Remember that the Magnifying glass and Text tools cannot be used at the same time. Similarly, manual browsing is also impossible while either of these effects is on; the restriction does not apply in  automatic mode.
Note 2: Depending on your Internet connection and server traffic, loading the images may take some seconds.

Text.- This option gives you the chance of having a transcription of the text alongside the MS images. Just click on the appropriate icon Text.

Text open

Note: This option will be off if you chose Images only when selecting the MS.

For convenience, this will first load the transcription of the section copied on the right-hand page of the MS whenever this is possible. To select the left-hand page, click on the button  , selecting either A (left-hand page) or B (right-hand page). Remember that you can  still browse the MS on automatic mode while this option is on.
The transcription has been done using a Unicode 5.0 compliant font (you will find more information about the Unicode standard here). The website has been designed to use an internal version of the typeface, but there is a chance that you might experience problems if your system runs on an old OS. In that case, you will note that some characters appear garbled or as a square boxes. Normally, the problem disappears if you install the free Junicode font. Junicode is a Unicode serif font for medievalists designed by Peter S. Baker (University of Virginia). Junicode includes all characters from MUFI recommendation v. 1.0, and most of v. 2.0.
If you are unsure about how to install a new typeface, follow this link (for MS Windows), and this one if you are a Mac user. If you use some GNU/Linux distribution (Ubuntu, Debian, Ret Hat, SUSE, etc.), please refer to your OS documentation for details.

Marginalia.- Many MSS display a quantity of marginal annotations alongside the body text. If you would like to read them more clearly, just mouse over them and the transcription will pop up.


Remember that the transcriptions of the marginalia are only available if you chose Images and text after you selected the MS. You can always tell which marginal annotations on the page have been tagged by clicking on the lamp icon Marginalia.

Going back to the bookcase.- If you want to change the MS or the MS viewing option, you have to return to the bookcase. To do so, click on Bookcase Back. This will automatically load the latest opened MS window.


You may be interested not just in enjoying the MS images, but may have approached the site hoping to find some linguistic information about the texts. This site provides you with 3 different tools (Word Search Tool, TexSEn and Concordance Manager) for the task.
If you want to search for word and lemma lists, find the open book on the lowest shelf of the bookcase, then click on it. This will take you to the linguistic section of the site (Word Search Tool). Alternatively, you can reach that section by following this link.

Once you are on the page, just select a MS from the list and whether you would like to retrieve the information as a list of words or gathered into lemmas, then whether you would like to see all instances at once (Complete), or one item at a time (1 by 1), allow some seconds to load. Finally, choose a word or lemma from the middle combo as in the example below:


Spellings in the lemma list follow the Middle English Dictionary (MED) conventions whenever this is practicable, even in those cases when the word is not recorded in the MED; only such ME words, having an uncertain etymology, are left as they stand in the MS.
Hits of the desired item (marked in red) will be displayed automatically to the bottom of the form as a KWIC (Key Word In Context) index enclosed within a box. If the keyword was recorded at the beginning of a new page of the MS, a button with a plus sign will appear. Clicking on it will display the last words of the previous page, so as to give a broader context.

Below each of the boxes an open book icon appears . This is a link to the actual MS page where that particular item is recorded. Clicking on that icon will invoke a pop-up Flash window that displays an image of  the actual page/folio where the word can be found;


the KWIC is also provided in a window that you can drag up and down the image for ease of reading. To do that, click on the Click and drag tab and hold down the left mouse button while you drag it to a more convenient place (the cursor will turn into a hand). You can also hide the KWIC by clicking on the Show/Hide text button .
By default, the image of the whole page/folio is set to fit the window, but you can also zoom in and out by clicking on the plus and minus signs. If you zoom in so that you cannot read the whole line, use the Move image pad. To use this, simply mouse over the area below, marked with a green chevron; remember NOT to hold down any mouse button. You know that the mouse is over the pad because a big green arrow will appear below the cursor indicating the direction opposite to the one that you are moving the image to (ie. the arrow will point downwards if you are moving the page up). The chevron will turn yellow while you navigate the image, red when you reach the edge of the page. The speed of scroll is highest by default, but this can also be tuned by clicking on the green rectangles.


To reach TexSEn (a specific-purpose programme to retrieve information from annotated corpora, including words and lemmas, word-classes, grammatical categories and context, among others) find the three books at the left corner of the bottom shelf of the bookcase and click on the top one. Click on the second book of the same pile to reach Concordance Manager, an online application which serves to view the concordances generated with TexSEn.

Concordance Manager

Finally, we find a pen and ink on the same bottom shelf. Click on it to reach the Site Map, a floorplan of all the pages that you can find on this web.



This section refers to some possible issues of the site. Please write to us if you experience a problem not addressed  here.

Q. The page stalls when uploading.
A. This is a connection speed issue and, although less common with broadband, it can also be due to a variety of reasons (server overrun, running programs in the background, etc.). Please keep in mind that most sections of the site consists of big Flash animations (normally in excess of 5 Mbs), which take a while to load, particularly if you have a slow Internet connection.

Q. I cannot see any images.
A. You need to have a version of Adobe Flash Player installed on your system to see the animations. To check whether you have Flash installed, go to... If you do not have Flash installed, you can download the latest version here.

Q. I have a version of Adobe Flash Player on my system, yet the images of the site do not show. I can only see blank rectangles instead, with a button in the middle.
A. Your browser is blocking the Flash animation. Enable the browser to execute it, as the animations of the website are completely safe to run. To do this, ... If you are using Mozilla Firefox, you probably have Flashblock [] installed on your system. To allow execution of the animations, go to "Tools > Add-ons", double-click the Flashblock icon, then add <> to the Whitelist. Reload the page by pressing F5.

Q. I click on the open book icon to see the MS page/folio where a given word/lemma appears but nothing happens.
A. Your browser is probably blocking pop-ups. If you use MS Internet Explorer, go to "Tools > Internet Options > Privacy tab", then uncheck "Block pop-ups". If you use Mozilla Firefox, go to "Tools > Options...> Contents tab", then uncheck Block pop-up windows. If you still want to disable pop-ups for other sites, you can also add to the list of allowed sites. To do that in MS Explorer, press the Settings... button, then enter the address to the list. In Mozilla Firefox, press Exceptions..., then enter the address to the list.

[Top] FAQ

Q. I would like to see a list of the available MSS.
R. You can see a list of available MSS on the following page.

Q. I have loaded a MS, what’s next?
R. Once you have loaded a MS, you can browse the pages either manually or automatically, read a transcription of these pages, and see a more detailed view of these by using a magnifying glass [Visit section].

Q. I would like to read the transcription of the MS.
R. The only way of reading the transcription is by choosing Images and Text when prompted, then clicking on the appropriate icon.

Q. I would like to know more about the MS particulars.
R. To do so, go the the second top shelf of the bookcase, then mouse over the rightmost books (you will note that tooltips will appear sometimes) until you locate the desired MS, then click on the spine. A pop-up window will load where you can learn more about the editorial conventions used in the transcription, and read a brief physical description of the MS.

Q. I would like to know more about the language of the MS.
R. This site offers the possibility of searching on the word and lemma lists drawn from the MSS. To use it, just select the appropriate query in the combo boxes. Results yielded from your query are moreover crossreferenced to the MS page(s) where they are recorded. To do that, use the open book icon.

Q. I have clicked on the open book icon while searching the lists; what is this?
R. When you click on the open book icon a Flash animation is invoked that displays an image of the actual MS page/folio where that word/lemma appears. You can zoom in/out and navigate the image as you would in a real MS, by clicking the appropriate buttons.

Q. I have access to MSS Hunter 503 and Wellcome 542. Can I see the other MSS?
R. Yes. MS Hunter 503 is just a showcase to the site contents. Copyright restrictions and content access control made it advisable to require user authentication in order to see the other MSS. If you would like to be granted access to the other MSS, fill and send us the following form. You will then receive a message with a user name and a password that will unlock the rest of the site.
All manuscripts are freely available. No registration is required.

We trust that this document was helpful. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at se TOD amu TA suprocagalam should you have any problem or query.