Courtbooks of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
VU Library Manuscript collection includes 543 books of court acts of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, 1540–1845. It is a specific manuscript collection. These documents are most important for research of Lithuanian, Polish and Byelorussian history. Information accumulated in them witnesses court activities, reflecting a broad political, social and economic panorama of Lithuanian history, life in the past, community and individual psychology. The abundance of accumulated information enables us to consider them as unique reference books that reflect changing life standards. These courtbooks are significant as a source of material culture, and documents supplementing other sources. Chronologically ample documentary material is interesting and vital to the history of language, historical geography, and geneology investigation. Books are written in old Byelorussian and Polish languages.
In 2000, the project of the courtbooks' digitization was started. Its main goals aim has been to preserve these unique courtbooks for future generations, to create a full text manuscript database, to ensure the possibility for researchers from all over the world to study the cultural heritage not only at the library but also on the internet. The project was supported by the Open Society Institute and Open Society Fund, Lithuania.
At present, the digitized texts of 10 courtbooks are available on the internet.