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You are here: Home About us Professional activities Manuscripts & Early Printed Books Minimum for Users of the Manuscripts and Early Printed Books Reading Room

Minimum for Users of the Manuscripts and Early Printed Books Reading Room

Manuscripts and Early Printed Books (but not books from the reference library) have to be ordered beforehand (on-line or on the printed form in the Reading Room), e-mail or phone orders are excluded. On-line orders can be placed directly from General Catalogue I, or separately. The separate way of placing orders applies to manuscripts and incunabula, as well as to early printed books not involved in the General Catalogue I.

The shelf-mark is the most important item for placing an order. It is a code composed from letters and numbers which unambiguously identifies the book in the collection. As a rule, it begins with a Roman numeral (e.g. IV A 1) for manuscripts, and with an Arabic numeral (e.g. 4 A 1) for prints. Without knowing the shelf-mark books cannot be ordered. Shelf-marks can be found in catalogues (see below).

Orders can be placed for the delivery to come (one hour in advance at the latest) or  for a posterior date and time. Ordered items are delivered Mondays to Thursdays at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm. It is possible to order up to 5 volumes (not shelf-marks) for one delivery. In the Reading Room one volume/item only can be studied. No book can be lent for home nor can be removed from the Reading Room.

Deliveries of items from the Central Depository Hostivař are made once a week, on Fridays.

In the Reading Room 6 seats are reserved for the study of items from the historical collection (desks No 1 and 2 for manuscripts and desks 3, 4, 5, 6 for early printed books). The user working with the historical collection is obligated to work on these places. The staff member designated to supervise the Reading Room can allocate him a place for study after taking into account the Reading Room occupancy and  character of the lent documents.

It is not part of the tasks of the supervising staff to render assistance with reading and translation of texts.

A manuscript is a book written by hand (exceptionally also a typescript), a print is a book issued from a printing-office. Incunabulum is a print issued before the year 1500. An old print (early printed book) is a print issued before 1800.

Prints of the NL (in the safe-deposits of the Department should be placed all prints in the possession of the NL and issued before 1800) are to be searched in General catalogue I (for the years 1501-1950) on the site . You will find information on the catalogue range at the same place. You can consult the catalogue on the computer in the Reading Room (as well as on every computer connected to the Internet). Czech prints in Czech language together with their shelf-marks are filed  in "Knihopis" (Bibliography)  and are also catalogued in the Manuscriptorium database.

Books from the reference library (unless they are in the Reading Room  in open access) will be brought by the attendance while one waits. The Department's reference library items are marked BMMS.

Documents from the reference library (issued after 1935) can be copied at self-service copy machine in the NL's Reading Room of Periodicals. The staff member in charge in the Reading Room can decide on another way to get a  copy in case of  bad physical condition of the document.

Manuscripts and prints (including newpapers) have to be supported by foam belts whilst studied and only normal pencils of suitable hardness (2, HB, etc.) may be used for writing.

In compliance with the lending rules the so-called substitute carriers are preferred for loan transactions, such as microfilms and digitized copies (Manuscriptorium, CD). In the event that a manuscript or print is in a bad physical condition, it may not be lent to the user. (In Prague, other copies of prints are included in the National Museum Library, Strahov Library of the Premonstratensians, Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Municipal Library of Prague,  etc.). Nevertheless, it is possible to ask the Head of the Department for an exception.

Manuscripts (marked by a concordance CIM Call Nr.) can be lent solely for one day and studied  for a limited period only. Their reservation is not possible. Exceptions from this rule are to be permitted by the head of the department.

On request, the attendant in the Reading Room will explain conditions of ordering microfilms and xerocopies. (Books must not be removed for making xerox; an order must be filled out for xerocopies to be sent by post to the user or collected personally in the Main Hall). If the manuscript has been digitized and does not have a microfilm (the information will be given by the attendant), it is not possible to make the microfilm. Digital copies from digitized documents can be ordered in the Reading Room.