Digitisation of Traditional Format Library Materials

Digitisation Project Brief - Corsali manuscript

General description of the proposed project

Digitise the Corsali Lettera, a fifteen page manuscript of the first known documentation of the Southern Cross, together with 16 pages of research notes: The Corsali manuscript (Horden House, 1989). Scanning of the item may facilitate its donation, which has been on loan to the Library for fifteen or more years. In order to facilitate public access the owner has given approval for Internet access through the Library's website.

Collection material of relevance to the project

  • MS 7860 - Corsali, Andrea, fl. 1517
  • Letter [manuscript] 1516
The manuscript is a contemporary copy of "Lettera di Andrea Corsali allo Illustrissimo Signore Duca Juliano de Medici, Venuta Dellindia del mese di Octobre Nel M.D. XVI". It was prepared for Andrea Gritti, Doge of Venice from 1523. It provides the only known narrative of a Portuguese voyage in 1515 down the African coast, around the Cape of Good Hope, and into the Southern and Indian Oceans, making landfall at Goa on the Indian coast, later traveling down to Cochin at the foot of India. After rounding the Cape, Corsali observed the curious behaviour of an unrecorded group of Stars (the Southern Cross), which he described and illustrated. The letter was sent from Cochin to his patron, Giuliano de Medici, in Florence (15 pages, the last page blank). Also two volumes of research material: The Corsali manuscript (Horden House, 1989). The Corsali manuscript research notes (Horden House, 1989). NB* The second volume will not be digitised.
  1. Manuscript reference no.: NLA MS 7860
  2. Contemporary copy (1516-1523) on vellum
  3. In Italian

Corsali was a Florentine under the patronage of the Medici family in the Service of the Portuguese. See The Corsali manuscript (Horden House, 1989).

Digitisation is to be from the original material.

Levels of use and user groups - current and anticipated

General public and research potential. The item is not well known and it is expected that Internet access would improve visibility of the item in accordance with the donor's wishes.

Bibliographic coverage of the collection

Catalogued as MS 7860 (extract above under Collection material of relevance to the project) The persistent identifier (PI) will be inserted into the catalogue record to provide end-user access.


Item is manuscript on vellum and is in excellent condition. Accompanying notes are typescript. Digital scanning of the item will ensure a record is maintained of the item if it is either returned to the donor or transferred elsewhere.

Intellectual property or other rights

Property belongs to the Bruce and Joy Reid Foundation.

IT requirements

No special requirements. The digital images will be available as part of the Library's digital collections and managed within the Digital Collections Manager (DCM).

Resource requirements

This collection could be absorbed within the 2003-4 financial year digitisation work plan.


The State Library of New South Wals also has an interest in this item and may seek to have it on display in their exhibition area.

Marketing and promotion

Consider placing on Library's Treasures online exhibition site.


It will take at least two days to scan the items plus time to quality check and upload the images to the Library's website.

Other considerations

Project is urgent as the item may be recalled to the State Library of New South Wales for display.

Contact officer: Maura O'Connor, Map Curator


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