Menota is a network of leading Nordic archives, libraries and research departments working with medieval texts and manuscript facsimiles. The aim of Menota is to preserve and publish medieval texts in digital form and to adapt and develop encoding standards necessary for this work. The archive will contain texts in the Nordic languages as well as in Latin. There are now 15 members of Menota (see bottom of the page) and new members are welcome to join the network. Since its founding in 2001, the archive has been led by Odd Einar Haugen at the University of Bergen

News (in Norwegian)

Text archive

Menota can now offer almost 50 Medieval Nordic texts (around 1.8 million words), several of which are fully lemmatised. The majority of the texts are Old Icelandic or Old Norwegian, but there are also some Old Swedish texts. Old Danish texts as well as Latin ones (from the Nordic countries) are most welcome. A catalogue with full search facilities was opened on 29 June 2007.

The texts have been encoded on one or more levels. The most widely used level is the diplomatic level (as seen in many Old Norse editions), while some texts have also been encoded on a facsimile level (i.e. in a very close transcription) and some on a normalised level (as in the Íslenzk fornrit series). These levels are specified under Facs, Dipl and Norm in the catalogue. By clicking the file name in the second column of the catalogue, you will be able to read the text on one or more levels, depending on how many levels have been encoded.

Menota catalogue. The archive has been built in the Corpuscle application at the Clarino Bergen Center, UiB.

See our helpdesk for an explanation of the catalogue and the display of texts in the archive. It also informs about morphological and syntactic queries that can be made in some of the texts (via PROIEL or INESS)

Encoding guidelines

The Menota handbook offers detailed advice on the encoding of medieval manuscripts in XML, all necessary schemas for doing this, and a full tutorial for first-time encoders. It is compatible with version P5 of the TEI Guidelines. Odd Einar Haugen is the general editor of the handbook, supported by 17 other textual scholars from Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Version 3.0 of the handbook was published 12 December 2019.
The Menota handbook (all versions)


Menota now publishes translations of Medieval Nordic texts. At first, two texts are offered, Jóns saga helga and Niðrstigningar saga, but we soon hope to welcome more translations in the archive.
The translations will be published in open CC licenses. For the time being, they will be published in PDF.
Translations (catalogue set up 1 October 2016).

Menotec project

Menotec was an infrastructure project funded by the Norwegian Research Council (2010–2012) with the aim of transcribing and annotating a corpus of Old Norwegian texts. The transcribed texts have been (and will be) published in the Medieval Nordic Text Archive, while the annotated texts have been added to the treebank of the PROIEL project, as well as being made accessible through the INESS portal. More.

Lexicographical resources

Several dictionaries of Medieval Nordic languages are accessible on the web. They are presently in different formats and the interfaces are not uniform, but they do represent an extremely useful resource:

Söderwall’s and Schlyter’s dictionaries (Swedish) – queries in Fornsvensk lexikalisk databas
Kalkar’s dictionary (Danish) – scanned images of the printed dictionary (launched in 2000)
Kalkar’s dictionary (Danish) – full search capabilities (launched in 2017)

A project headed by Hans Fix, University of Greifswald, has made Walter Baetke’s Wörterbuch zur altnordischen Prosaliteratur accessible in an updated version for free usage. The dictionary can be downloaded as a PDF file (75 MB). A fast connection is thus essential.

Walter Baetke’s dictionary digital (link to registration page)

Ongoing dictionary projects:

Gammeldansk ordbog (Danish) – presentation of the dictionary project
Gammeldansk ordbog (Danish) – beta version of the dictionary with search capabilities

Digital archives and libraries

A number of archives, libraries and museums have started making their holdings of Medieval Nordic texts or manuscripts available via the web:


Some projects associated with Menota:

Medieval Unicode Font Initiative (2001) - character encoding and fonts for medieval manuscripts
Vadstena-prosjektet (2003-2007) - a project funded by the Swedish National Bank


Menota was established on 10 September 2001 at a meeting in Oslo between major Nordic institutions.


The Menota statutes were passed at the council meeting in Reykjavík on 6 September 2003.


The council is an advisory body in which each participating institution is represented by one member. Different departments or sections at the same university are recognised as individual institutions. In addition to the permanent members, other representatives may join the meeting at the discretion of the board.

Notice of meeting



The council appoints a board for a period of three years. The board for the current period (2019-2021) is:

Board members


Rune Kyrkjebø, Norway
Beeke Stegmann, Iceland
Tarrin Wills, Denmark
Sara Risberg, Sweden


Nina Stensaker, Bergen

Handbook contributors

The Menota handbook version 3.0 was published 12 December 2019 on this site. The contributors in this version are Odd Einar Haugen (general editor), Ivar Berg (Trondheim), Haraldur Bernharðsson (Reykjavík), Marco Bianchi (Uppsala), Alex Speed Kjeldsen (København), Robert K. Paulsen (Bergen), Friederike Richter (Berlin), Beeke Stegmann (Reykjavík), Nina Stensaker (Bergen) and Tarrin Wills (København).

There are minutes from several of the meetings by the contributors to the handbook.


Depositor license

Menota now welcomes texts from other institutions or individual researchers, but cannot presently offer assistance in converting texts to XML. Please contact one of the board members (see above) if you would like to deposit a text in the archive. We encourage potential depositors to read the encoding guidelines in the Menota handbook and validate the text against the Menota DTD contained in the handbook. Sample XML files are available for inspection and comparison. The Menota depositor license, which is based on a corresponding document used by the Oxford Text Archive, has parallel Norwegian and English text. Please note that the depositor keeps all his or her intellectual rights to the text after depositing it in the archive. The same text may be withdrawn at any time and also published in other archives and other formats at the depositor’s will (cf. section 3.4 in the license):

Depositor license - v. 1.2 (8 September 2003)
Depositor license - v. 1.3 (1 September 2015)

Cooperating institutions

Denmark: Institut for Nordiske Studier og Sprogvidenskab (NorS) ved KU (herunder Den Arnamagnæanske håndskriftsamling og Ordbog over det norrøne prosasprog ) | Det Kongelige Bibliotek | Det Danske Sprog- og Litteraturselskab || Iceland: Stofnun Árna Magnússonar í íslenskum fræðum || Norway: Riksarkivet | Institutt for nordiske og lingvistiske studier ved UiO (herunder Eining for digital dokumentasjon ved UiO ) | Institutt for lingvistiske, litterære og estetiske studier ved UiB | Universitetsbiblioteket i Bergen | Nasjonalbiblioteket || Sweden: Språkbanken, Göteborgs universitet | Svenskt Diplomatarium, Riksarkivet | Det svenska fornskriftsällskapet | Handskriftsenheten, Kungliga Biblioteket, Stockholm | Institutionen för svenska språket, Linnéuniversitetet | Institutionen för nordiska språk, Uppsala universitet

Opprettet 30.04.2007. Sist oppdatert 26.08.2021. Vevsjef.