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The Electronic Monumenta Germaniae Historica on CD-ROM

The Monumenta Germaniae Historica on CD-ROM contains selections from the eponymous collection of medieval Central European Latin and Greek texts first published in 1826. Selections from all five divisions - Scriptores, or holy books, Leges, or laws, Diplomata, or government documents, Epistolae, or letters, and Antiquitates, or commentaries on classical works, are included. While only a sample of each book is currently included on the CD-ROM, the Brepols publishing house plans to gradually make the entire Monumenta Germaniae Historica electronically accessible over the next ten to fifteen years.

Searching the Monumenta Germaniae Historica

Standard Search, the search window which appears when you load the MGH, allows you to search for Latin or Greek keywords within documents. You can also choose to search according to the MGH’s own filing system of “series” and “collectios,” as notated in the index of the manual, although a knowledge of the printed format of the MGH is necessary for these searches. It may be simpler to use the search boxes of “Auctor,” “Titulus,” and “Formae”, which correspond to the standard search parameters of Author, Title, and Key Word. The first Search box, the “series” box, denotes which section of the MGH you are searching: Scriptores, Leges, Diplomata, Epistolae, or Antiquitates. You cannot browse these larger sections.

To conduct a search type your search terms into the appropriate search boxes or browse in each of the categories. You can move between the different search boxes by using the Page Down and Page Up keys. By pressing F2 when a given search box is highlighted, you can browse that category and view a list of all the entries in that category, with the exception of the Series search box. Within the Browse section, you can skip ahead by typing the first few letters of your goal or scrolling down rapidly through the alphabet with the page up and down keys. There is no difference between “entry” and “word.”

The complete list of authors contained in this edition of the 1996 MGH is on pgs 23-24 of the MGH manual, located on the bookshelves of the ETC. Combining Search Terms, wildcards, and truncation

The MGH uses seven main special Boolean operators. These can help you narrow your search and obtain more precise results.

1. “+” corresponds to “and,” which will let you search for documents that contain, for instance, “femina” and “vir”within the same document.

2. “,” corresponds to “or,” which lets you search for documents which contain either the word “femina” or the word “vir,” to continue the example.

3. “#” corresponds to “not,” meaning that you are looking for sententiae containing “femina” but not “vir.”

4. “*” allows you to view various forms of a word. For instance, if you searched for “femin*” you would find results containing the words “femina,” “feminae,” “feminarum,” and so forth. This can also be used as a prefix. If you type “*itas,” you will view all words ending in the letters “itas,” such as “civitas,” “auctoritas,” and so forth.

5. “?” is similar to “*”, but designates only one missing character. For instance, if you typed “vir?”, you would view results containing the words “viri,” and “viro” but not the words “viris” or “virorum.”

6. “/” allows you to specify an order of proximity between two separate terms which you are searching. For instance, if you typed “vir /3 femina,” you would view all sententiae which contain the word “vir” within three words of the word “femina.”

7. “%” is similar to “/”, but specifies not only proximity, but order of appearance. If you typed “vir %3 femina,” you would be asking for all sententiae which contain the word “vir” within three words of and before the word “femina.”

Viewing Search Results

After searching, the number of “sententiae,” or brief sections containing your search terms, will appear at the bottom of the screen. Click on F3, the Display button, to show these sententiae. They are in an alphabetical order by title. You can scroll through the sententiae by using the Pg Up and Down keys. By pressing Enter, you can view the entire text of the sententiae listed at the top of the current screen. By pressing the Escape key, you can return to the list of the sententiae, or the search engine itself. Since this is a limited selection of documents, the number of results produced by a search will often be quite low.

Browse (F2)

As mentioned before, by paging down to a given search box and then pressing F2 you can browse all the items in that category. By then clicking on an author or title, you can view the complete text of their works.

List (F4)

List produces a title list of all documents produced by a given search. These cannot be viewed in that format, however; you must press F3, or Display, to actually view the text of the documents.

Memento (F6)

While viewing a specific document, you can press F6 to obtain bibliographic information on that document. Not all documents in the MGH have bibliographic information available.

Output (F5): Printing and Saving

To print or save a document, press F5. The computer will automatically print the current screen; you can also highlight text by holding the mouse button down and dragging it. The computer will then print the selected section. The computer will give you a choice of whether you wish to save or print the document. You can move among the various choices by hitting the space bar in the “Write to” box. You can also choose to save your selection in ASCII format.

Exit (F7): This command quits the program.

Option (F8): This command changes the Boolean operators which link the different search boxes. The default operator is “and,” or “+,” but you can change it to “or,” or “not,” so that you find, for instance, all works by Pope Alexander III which do not have the word “femina” in them.

For More Information:

Consult the on-line help or the user manual.

© 2000 Yale University Library
E-mail questions to
Phone Reference (203) 432-1775/1780


© 2007 Yale University Library
This file last modified 07/16/01
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