The Walters Ex Libris



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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a manuscript and a folio?

On this site, a manuscript refers to a handwritten book in its entirety, including its binding and all pages contained within.

A folio, or folios, refers to a page or pages within a manuscript. An illuminated folio is a folio containing an illustration, often colorfully painted and enhanced with gold.

It is possible to search across both manuscripts and illuminated folios. Simply check or uncheck the boxes at the bottom of the search menu that read “Search Manuscripts” and “Search Illuminated Folios.”

Why do some manuscripts within the page-turning view read right to left, while others read left to right?

While western books are read from right to left, Islamic books are traditionally read from left to right. This has been replicated within the page-turning view.

Why is a sliver of the opposing page visible in each photo?

Often, a manuscript will be bound so tightly that some of the text and illuminations become lost in the gutter. When this happens, it is impossible to capture an image of the entire folio. A sliver of the opposing folio has been retained in each image to assure the viewer that as much information as possible was captured.

Can a manuscript be searched by its shelf mark?

Yes. Specific shelf marks may be entered into the text search box, however, they must adhere to the following formula, or no results will be returned:

The letter “W” followed immediately by a period and the manuscript’s designated number. The shelf mark should not contain any spaces.

Examples: W.4, W.21, W.102

Please note that not all manuscripts in the collection have been digitized yet. A complete list of all digitized manuscripts is available at The Digital Walters. Illuminated folios from digitized manuscripts are also available on the Walters Art Museum’s Works of Art site.

Are high-resolution versions of the images available for download?

Yes. Images are available on They can be downloaded in four different sizes: a full-resolution master archival TIFF, a 300 PPI TIFF, a Standard All-Purpose (SAP) jpeg, and a thumbnail.

Is there a fee to download and use these images?

No. All Walters Art Museum manuscript images on this site and at are made free for any use under a Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

Can these images be cropped or otherwise altered?

Yes. Once images have been downloaded, they may be altered as needed. Permission from the Walters Art Museum is not needed prior to making these alterations.

Is there a proper citation that should be used when publishing these images?

It must be indicated that the work is owned by the Walters Art Museum, and the Creative Commons license the work is under must be cited in accordance with the terms of the license.

Here is a sample citation for an image:

Include the manuscript number and the folio number or binding part of the manuscript.

Walters Art Museum, W.582, fol 14r, © 2011 Walters Art Museum, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

Here is a sample citation for a manuscript description:

The Walters Art Museum, W.582, online description, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License

If an address for the description is needed, use the URL at which the description was found.

Does the Walters need to be informed of instances in which these images are published or otherwise used?

While it is not a formal requirement for use, the museum asks that an email be sent to with a brief summary of the project in which the images were used, along with any relevant links or publication information.

Is the Walters Manuscript Digitization Initiative complete?

Digitization is an ongoing process at the Walters. It is the museum’s goal to digitize its entire manuscript collection, of which roughly half has been completed and published online to date. Newly digitized manuscripts are uploaded several times per year.


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