User guide

What will you find in SCRIPTA?

SCRIPTA is a database whose objective is to provide to scholars a large corpus of medieval norman charters dating from the 10th to the 13th Century (about 8500 documents in June 2016). The major part of the documents come from old editions, but the database contains also unedited ou newly re-edited documents. To view the textual tradition, click on the area “Show/Hide textual tradition” or, in French, ”Afficher le tableau de la tradition”.

User interface

PLEADE software interface has a rather specific way of displaying and navigating through documents. Viewing a document page (or a list through the “Viewing documents” mode) is available through a new navigator window. This mode of viewing allows the reader to keep in the first original window the context of the search, for example, the list of query results. The new window will display the record of a document. Navigating through this new window is slightly different: on top, you can skip through query results (following, next document). The left column displays the complete list of the documents, listed buy numerical order.

Viewing documents

SCRIPTA allows you to view documents by two means:

  • By list: clicking on “Access to the documents” in the left menu. You will have access to the complete list of all documents of the database. This list will display for each document, in one single line, its number, date, document nature, document type, authenticity, issuer and recipient.
  • By search engine, full-text or on 10 fields of the database, combining criteria.

Searching documents

Three types of queries are available:

  • Full-text (document content and metadata).
  • Combining criteria on data-fields.
  • Finding documents through the bibliography (author or title of an edition or a book or a paper).

Full-text search (Simple search in the left column)

This simple search allows you to search through all the content of the documents, fields, metadatas and document original text. You can type on or several words; you can use AND or OR operators to combine the words in your query.

Example 1: craspois AND piscis will return two results (documents 1658 and 1666). In this two cases, “craspois” is cited in the summary, “piscis” in the original Latin source.

Example 2: craspois AND piscis will return 16 results. Documents contain either crapois or piscis, or both terms.

By default, a query with several words, not separated of AND or OR operators, will use the AND operator.

Example 3: craspois piscis will return 2 results (same as example 1 as shown before).

You can also use wildcards or truncation operators * (for several letters) or ? (for one letter). This wildcards are very useful to search Latin words (plurals, grammatical cases).

Example 1: pisc* AND crass* will return 25 results; pisc* will search forms like pisce, piscatorem, piscis, piscium, etc.; crass* will search crasso, crassus, crassorum, etc.

Example 2: balen? returns 3 results, for balene and balena in the database.

You can also search an exact group of following words, by using double quotation marks, as in “pro panibus".

Example: “pro panibus” returns 10 results ; “in Pascha", 72 results.

The search engine is not case sensitive.

Searching data in describing fields

Advanced search fields (full-text search apart) do not allow to query a free search. All fields are filled with auto-completion as you type few letters in the field. Auto-completion works with any part of the word. Auto completion allows you to select an entry in the list of terms given by auto-completion. You can select several entries in the list. By default, the logical operator OR will be used to search the words you chose in one field. For each field, you can choose on or several terms in an index list (open book icon at the left of the field). You can choose several terms in an index.

The advanced search allows you to query in many fields (except bibliographic fields). Each field content is available for query in the full-text search (see above).

  • Document number: ID of the charter or document in the corpus
  • Document nature: Diplomatic nature of the document, as defined by the whole of its external features (charter, letter, pancarta, notitia, etc.)
  • Document type: Legal nature of the document (type of rights and obligations that the will of the author raises , amend, renew, confirm or extinguish. Ex.: . gift, sale, etc. )
  • Place name of document issue
  • Issuer: the issuer is the person for the name of whom the document was entitled.
  • Issuer as function in an institution: The issuer considered as a fonction in an institution. Written in two parts: beginning with the location, role or function between parentheses marks. Example: Angers (evêque), Perche (comte)
  • Recipient: The recipient is usually the receiver of the document. The recipient is the person who will use the act for his benefit.
  • Recipient as function in an institution: The recipient is usually the receiver of the document. The recipient is the person who will use the act for his benefit; here, the recipient considered as a fonction in an institution. Written in two parts: beginning with the location, role or function between parentheses marks. Examples: Angers (evêque), Perche (comte).

Date: You can search a specific year (first field). But a specific year may return results inside a lapse of time (case of a document dated without precision in a certain interval of time.

Example: “1111” can return as a result a document dated between 1094 and 1220 (document 6094).

You can search inside an interval of time (second and third field of the date form area). If you want to search through an open time interval, type only one year, beginning or ending.

Bibliography: Searching within the author field in the bibliographic database. The results of the query will display a list of documents for whom a book or a paper written by this author is cited in the edition of a document (textual tradition, etc.).

  • Authors (bibliography): searching authors names.
  • Title (bibliography): searching titles of books of papers.

Queries combining multiple fields use by default the logical operator AND between fields.

Example of query: Issuer as function in an institution = Evreux (évêque) and Recipient as function in an institution = Evreux (Hôpital-Hôtel Dieu) returns one document (document 5790, a gift dated 1260).

Searching by index

Seaching by index is available in the viewing window of a document (left menu, index tab). 14 indexes are available:

  • Document number
  • Document nature
  • Document type
  • Authenticity
  • Issuing places
  • Issuer
  • Issuer as function in a institution
  • Libraries or archives (conservation of original documents and copies)
  • Author (bibliography)
  • Title (bibliography)

Information on other fields


Field with 3 values: doubtful (douteux), fake (faux), authentic (Non suspect). Authentic is the default value, but this field has not been subject of a systematic inquiry. Fake and doubtful fields have been systematically checked.


Principal language of the document (mainly Latin in SCRIPTA)


Correspond to the regesta, i.e. the summary of the content of the document.

Textual tradition

Hidden area by default. Click on “Show textual tradition” (Afficher le tableau de la tradition) to read the area.
This area displays the list of the editions of the document, and sometimes the list of manuscripts (original, copies). Editions are named by the letter (a, b, c, etc.).

Critical notes

Hidden area by default. Click on “Show critical notes” (Afficher la dissertation critique) to read the area.
This area displays information about date, source of information, bibliography.

Text of the document

The text content of the document edited in its original language (mainly Latin). The origin of the text is given at the beginning of the field (texte établi d'après…). The letter gives the reference of the manuscript or the edition used in the textual tradition field.



History of your queries. In this version of the database, the history is only recorded for the time lapse of your session. If you use the database later on, or the day after, the history will be emptied.
From the history tool, you can search again queries, modify or delete them.


On the display page of a document, you can save this document in the basket.

The left icon allows to save the document in the basket. The middle icon allows you to export the document (all fields and full-text) in ad PDF file (see below).

To access the content of the basket, click on “basket” in the left menu. The basket will display the list of the documents you have saved during your session.

You have to be aware that data saved in the basket will be kept only for the duration of your session. You should export the documents at the end of your session. If you use the database later on or the day after, the basket will be emptied.

PDF export of documents

You can export a document (metadata and full-text) from the display page of the document. You can also export documents from the basket: one document into one PDF file, or all documents saved in the basket into a single PDF file. You can also export all documents saved in the basket into a single zip file containing all PDF files, one PDF for each document.

Duplicate archived documents

Few documents appear as duplicated in the SCRIPTA datebase. These duplicates were created during the addition of new documents published in more recent publications.

It was decided not to remove the older duplicates for two reasons:

  • maintaining quotability of documents from older versions of the database;
  • linking from older versions to newer editions, while keeping available the previous versions of the documents.

These duplicates are reported in two ways:

  • in the lists of query results or lists of documents, by the words "acte en doublon" (duplicated documents)
  • in the record page of a document, in a frame-box "Acte doublon" (Duplicate document) followed by the words "Voir de préférence l’acte n° xxx" (Better see document number xxx) with a hyperlink to the new reference edition.

How to cite a document

Template for citing a document in your bibliography and you research papers: (“act” menaing “document” or “charter”)
“Acte (number)”, in SCRIPTA, Database of medieal norman documents, dir. P. Bauduin, Caen, CRAHAM-MRSH, 2010-2016. [On line] Accessed (date).


“Acte 5574”, in SCRIPTA, Database of medieal norman documents, dir. P. Bauduin, Caen, CRAHAM-MRSH, 2010-2016. [On line] Accessed June 29, 2016.

The citation area is displayed at the end of the webpage of each document.

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