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The Library offers tools that researchers can use in their research, including the ScanTent and Transkribus. Using the ScanTent, you take high-quality images with your mobile phone of both loose and bound material up to A3 size. Using Transkribus enables you to transcribe and annotate handwritten texts.
Person uses Scan Tent to make scans of heritage materials
Photo: Monique Kooijmans

The Scan Tent

The Scan Tent comes with:

  • Transportbag
  • Tent
  • Floor mat
  • 4 tensioning / tent poles
  • LED light tube
  • Non-slip phone mount
  • Adapter + cable

You can use the ScanTent either with or without an app. With the app you can easily save and edit your photos and upload them to Transkribus.

Download via Play Store or Apple Store. You can also scan the QR code on the tent to download the app.

Usage and borrowing

There are two ScanTents in the Reading Room of the Allard Pierson, especially for making images from printed and handwritten material.

There are also two ScanTents available for loan, max seven days. Would you like to borrow a ScanTent? Send a request to the Reading Room desk via the contact form.

House Rules

When using the ScanTent, some rules apply:

  1. Photographs may be taken of the material handed over in the Reading Room, provided the condition of the material allows it. Take a look at the House Rules of the Reading Room as well.
  2. No flash or tripod may be used.
  3. Please observe copyright law when scanning.

Requesting scans

UvA students and staff can also request digital scans or have reproductions made of heritage materials. More information can be found on the Request scans webpage.


Transkribus is a system that utilises artificial intelligence and machine learning to transcribe and annotate handwritten texts. The platform enables you to create accurate transcriptions of various manuscripts, regardless of their complexity. Whether it's medieval texts, ancient manuscripts, or handwritten letters, Transkribus offers an advanced toolkit to digitize and preserve historical documents for future generations.

Benefits of Transkribus

  1. Efficient transcription: You can quickly convert large quantities of handwritten texts into digital format, saving you a significant amount of time.
  2. Increasing accuracy: Transkribus's advanced machine learning algorithm is trained on various handwriting styles, achieving impressive accuracy even when transcribing challenging and hard-to-read scripts.
  3. Interactive user interface: Transkribus doesn't require extensive technical knowledge. After registration, you can immediately start transcribing documents.
  4. Collective intelligence: You can share datasets and collaborate on transcriptions, making it ideal for research groups working on joint projects.
  5. Searchable archives: By converting handwritten texts into digital format, you can easily search and find relevant information in old documents.

Registration and Usage

You can easily register through the Transkribus platform. After registration, you can begin using it right away.

For support, please go to the Resource Centre of the Transkribus supplier.

The Library has purchased credits with Transkribus, gives discounts for UvA employees and can make credits available for larger research projects and groups. Would you like to know whether you are eligible for the credits and how you can use Transkribus via the Library? Get in contact.

J.M. (Jenneken) Schouten

Contact person for Transkribus