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"monasterium" ...
... the beginning
... beyond borders
... from project to institution
... today and tomorrow


"monasterium" ...
is the Latin root of the English word “monastery”, often shortened to “mom”, but what relation does it have to our virtual primary source archive? Quite simple. It lies in the following story of the founding of this project.

... the beginning
The project took off in the Austrian province of Lower Austria, which is rich in monasteries. From their founding in the high Middle Ages, these monasteries have stood without interruption, so that this region can boast an unbroken archival tradition. As a result of their great historical meaning, these archives guard the better part of the tradition and history of this country from the Middle Ages and early Modern Period. The strong historical relations between the monasteries and throughout the surrounding country establish the ideal conditions to realize the possibility of a virtual retrieval system of these broadly distributed sources. Spreading out from the St. Pölten episcopal archive, work on this project began with the energetic support of government and the monasteries themselves.

... beyond borders
Often we must venture into absolutely new territory; as this was considered for all involved, not as an invasion, but rather as much more as a challenge united with the possibility of further development, so it goes ever farther. The logical consequence of this was a more and more intensely developing exchange of ideas and experience with interested colleagues inside and outside the country. More and more has formed a network of likeminded people with the goal of collaboration beyond boarders, free from historical resentment and differences of mindset. The virtual world recognizes no borders and so it became more and more clear that would also need to be an archive beyond borders - and indeed in that aspect, not only physical but also in its content. Since that time, the preservation of exclusively religious primary sources was given up, so that Monasterium, despite its name, now stands more than ever as a virtual archive for all kinds of Middle Age and Early Modern Period primary sources.

… from project to institution
The logical consequence of the project with the Lower Austrian monasteries was reaching out to the other Austrian provinces and the countries neighboring Austria. With the support of the Austrian State Ministry for Education, Art and Culture (Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur) and the European Union, Monasterium has succeeded in finding the financial support to manage a further out-reach effort. With this, the many already existing connections between the archives could finally be merged in June 2006. The Memorandum (link) created for this has since then presented the underlying basis for collaboration in the Consortium. However, the Consortium did not intend to stand on this document permanently, and has striven to further develop itself. This lead to the November 2007 creation of a basic declaration of intent, in which the emerging network and its connected virtual archive established a more enduring common union in ICARus (International Centre for Archival Research).

... today and tomorrow. has now developed into the largest virtual archive of its kind worldwide. Sources of the “primary source” variety for the central European region are now available in an online encyclopedia unlike any other historical source. It is our goal to continue building this archive, maintaining accessibility and networking with other historical online resources.


Click here   to see which archives are already part of Monasterium!


Stiftsarchiv Admont online!
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Number of Estonian charters expanded
(05/13/2014) read more

Das Spanische Archivportal - PARES
(04/08/2014) read more

Europeana APE Culture2000 ENARC