About the project

The libraries of scientists and scholars are defined by their owners' scholarly interests and expertise, regardless of whether they specialize in natural or humanities disciplines. Likewise, the term “scientific literature” is broadly defined to encompass works that contributed to the development of modern science, such as medical treatises, herbals, alchemical and metallurgical works, theological and historiographical works, musicological texts, and works in the field of auxiliary historical sciences.

The research investigates private book collections of scientists and scholars to determine their frequency of occurrence, internal thematic structure, language composition, and level of scientific analysis, as well as to analyze preserved records and traces documenting the reception of scientific literature (in the broadest sense of the word) from the Middle Ages to modern times. It also aims to determine whether particular features of these collections reflect the unique characteristics of their owners and their life stories. A similar inquiry will be conducted on family and institutional libraries to determine the extent to which specific personalities influenced their development and content.

The project places greater emphasis on analyzing specific book specimens and demonstrating how scholars engaged with specific texts, by examining provenance marks, records, comments, and annotations that have been preserved in them. This analysis also extends to exploring scientific and scholarly literature in the libraries of laypeople.

In the second phase, the project aims to reconstruct the links of Czech and foreign scholars whose libraries are represented in our historical collections to the international scientific community, primarily through records preserved in their books, such as dedications or notes ex dono documenting book donations from foreign colleagues, and manuscript notes indicating the migration of books among scientific libraries within the European “republic of scholars” (res publica litteraria). An important outcome of the project that has not yet been utilized is the collection of biographical and historical information on book owners, which is available online in the Provenio Book Owner Database.

The results of the project will be presented through eight exhibitions, four audiovisual documents, and six peer-reviewed articles.

Consortium members:

National museum National museum

National Heritage Institute National Heritage Institute

National Library of the Czech republic National Library of the Czech republic

Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences

Olomouc Museum of Art Olomouc Museum of Art

Project partners:

Moravian Library Moravian Library

Olomouc research library Olomouc research library