USING THE DATABASE:
How do I download an individual manuscript
From the CANTUS homepage, click on the link to View / Download
Make your selections using the pull-down menus in the centre of
screen: 1) the manuscript index identified by its library siglum and 2)
the "fixed" record length or "comma separated values," and 3)
"download." Follow the
instructions in the lower half of the screen to save the records of
your selected index file.
How do I download the entire database?
Currently, the complete database is not available as a single
download. If a user wishes to have all the manuscript indices
(perhaps in a large database on his or her own computer), he or she
has two choices: 1) download each manuscript index individually
as detailed above and
on the “view / download” page or 2) contact the CANTUS office and we
will supply a .mdb file.
How can I use the data after I have downloaded it?
For those users who choose to manipulate the indices on their own
computers rather than or in addition to searching the database on the
index files (which are downloaded in ASCII .txt format) are highly
flexible. We recommend importing them into a database or
spreadsheet programme (Excel, Access, etc.), but they can also be
viewed (and manipulated to
some extent) in word-processing programmes. If you are using a
word-processor, download the "fixed" file format rather than CSV, and
adjust your page layout (to "landscape") and margins so
that each record
fits across the screen without any wrap-around. Use of a
monospaced font (Courier, Letter Gothic, Monospaced, etc.) will line up
the characters for each record. If you are using
a database programme (like Microsoft's Access
for example), you can use either a "fixed width" importing option with
the "fixed" download (and field sizes
as detailed in the "file description" - see homepage), or you can
import the CSV download versions and let the programme determine the
fields in each record.
How do I submit corrections?
If you find an error in these data records, we want to correct
contact CANTUS staff
Is access free?
Access to the database is free. The online searching and
downloading options have been made available in accordance with the
aims of the International Musicological Society’s Study Group Cantus Planus
, which include the
exchange of data in electronic form. Funding and support for
CANTUS are provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Council of Canada and The University of Western Ontario.
THE CONTENTS and FORMAT OF THE DATABASE
Does CANTUS have translations of the chant texts?
are primarily an academic site involved with the creation of a research
tool. Translations of some of the Latin chant texts can be found
in various places on the Internet as well in some modern liturgical
How can I see the original chant?
CANTUS is a research tool
which, like "tables of contents," provides folio or page numbers of the
chants in manuscripts and early printed books. These early
sources are often difficult to navigate, and are sometimes
unpredictable in their placements of chants. If you wish to see
the original chant, you will need access to a microfilm, facsimile, or
digital images (many of which are available on the Internet) of that
source. Referencing CANTUS will aid you in locating that chant
within the folios or pages of the book, film, or image set.
Does CANTUS provide information about the chant melodies or
At this point, only to a small degree. CANTUS is
primarily a text-based inventory. Indexers identify the apparent
mode of each chant that has notation in the original source, and
information about each notational style is provided in the "About the
Sources Indexed" section of the website (along with other manuscript
details). We have decided that it is better at this point to
continue to index new sources in the current system rather than to
spend staff time reindexing to add more information to existing
records. However, some records have melodic incipits or full
melodies in alphabetic strings which, when viewed with the font
"Volpiano," appear as noteheads on a five-line staff with a treble
clef. Download and install "Volpiano" font from the homepage in
order to view these records with musical notation.
Are the full texts of each chant included in the indices?
No, not generally.
However, the full text of each chant is confirmed at the initial
indexing stage. The 29-character incipit field holds the first
few words of the chant for each record in the
database with standardized spellings but the word order, verb tense,
and case of the original source. Each chant is assigned an ID number
CAO numbers, and with "non-CAO" numbers created when necessary).
Users can refer to this
number in CAO to complete the text, and of course, view the original
sources to see the full setting of each chant. In the search
results, the full text which is listed within square brackets is drawn
from our "master chant" table; although the chant has been confirmed by
the original indexer, minor variants which are not recorded in CANTUS
may be present in the verb tenses, cases, word orders, etc. of any
chant in the database. If square brackets do not
appear within a full
text in the search results, then the text that is displayed is the
actual reading of the manuscript for that record.
Why are the full texts not included for each record?
CANTUS was developed in the 1980s before the general use of Windows and
database programmes. Such an update as including the full texts
of the chants in the database has recently been considered, but we have
decided that it is still better at this point to continue to index new
sources in our current format than to spend time reindexing. It
is hoped that users will employ the database as the research tool
it is designed to be, and that they will continue to consult the
original sources for their own research. If users complete this
lacuna in data within the course of their research and have a proofread
set of full texts from any of our indexed manuscript sources to donate,
CANTUS would be pleased to accept them and provide credit in the manner
of an "electronic publication" on the website.
Does CANTUS have microfilms or facsimiles of its indexed sources?
Yes, for some. Unfortunately, we do not have the staff time
available nor the copyright clearances from the home libraries to make
copies of particular folios for use by researchers. It is hoped,
however, that referencing the database will enable researchers to
identify which folios they need from particular sources, and thus save
them time and money when ordering materials from libraries and archives.
How do I obtain photocopies, digital images, or microfilms of
If the source you require is not published in a readily-available
facsimile edition, nor available as digital images, you will have to
contact the library where the
manuscript is housed to request a microfilm or copies of folios.
The CANTUS Database can aid you in locating the manuscripts and the
folios you require, and hopefully save you some time and money in