The underlying principle of this Edition is the definition and numbering of stints and the names within them. This numbering extends to persons who are referred to in the Durham Liber Vitae (LVD) but not named, as for example, in 25v11:
(1) Milo (et) (2) uxor ei(us).

As explained in the Help screens, the Digital Facsimile allows users:

Users should be aware that the editors have made considerable use of the high resolution images, often enhancing them with Adobe Photoshop (details of the application of which have been included where appropriate in the footnotes). They have, moreover, used the ultraviolet photographs for particularly difficult sections, and they have consulted the manuscript for readings not visible on the images because they are concealed in the gutters of the manuscript. They have also made use, through the courtesy of the British Library, of the binocular microscope in the Library's Conservation Laboratory. It is their opinion that nothing else is legible in the manuscript and nothing else is likely ever to be revealed.

The Digital Edition, which is linked to individual folios of the Digital Facsimile, is intended as a guide and reference for users to set alongside it. Although every effort has been made to make the Digital Edition identical to the printed Edition (vol. 1, pp. 79-230), all citations should be to that version and not to the digital version.

Both versions should be used only in conjunction with the Commentary on the Edition (vol. 1, pp. 233-94), which attempts to guide the user through the sections, quires, folios, pages and stints of LVD, drawing attention to particularities and also where appropriate to more extended discussions in the Introductory Essays. This should be regarded as the principal apparatus for the Edition, footnotes (which can be found in the digital version) only being used to draw attention to very localised peculiarities or problems in the text, and to indicate the beginnings of columns in the case of pages so arranged.

Stints have been dated palaeographically where the surviving letters are sufficiently numerous and sufficiently clear to permit this. Palaeographical dating is expressed after each stint number according to the following key:

Palaeographical dating From To
s.ix 801 900
s.ix in. 800 830
s.ix1 815 845
s.ix med. 835 865
s.ix2 855 885
s.ix ex. 870 900
s.ix/ s.x 885 915
s.x 901 1000
s.x in. 900 930
s.x1 915 945
s.x med. 935 965
s.x2 955 985
s.x ex. 970 1000
s.x/ s.xi 985 1015
s.xi 1001 1100
s.xi in. 1000 1030
s.xi1 1015 1045
s.xi med. 1035 1065
s.xi2 1055 1085
s.xi ex. 1070 1100
s.xi/ s.xii 1085 1115
s.xii 1101 1200
s.xii in. 1100 1130
s.xii1 1115 1145
s.xii med. 1135 1165
s.xii2 1155 1185
s.xii ex. 1170 1200
s.xii/ s.xiii 1185 1215
s.xiii 1201 1300
s.xiii in. 1200 1230
s.xiii1 1215 1245
Palaeographical dating From To
s.xiii med. 1235 1265
s.xiii2 1255 1285
s.xiii ex. 1270 1300
s.xiii/ s.xiv 1285 1315
s.xiv 1301 1400
s.xiv in. 1300 1330
s.xiv1 1315 1345
s.xiv med. 1335 1365
s.xiv2 1355 1385
s.xiv ex. 1370 1400
s.xiv/ s.xv 1385 1415
s.xv 1401 1500
s.xv in. 1400 1430
s.xv1 1415 1445
s.xv med. 1435 1465
s.xv2 1455 1485
s.xv ex. 1470 1500
s.xv/ s.xvi 1485 1515
s.xvi 1501 1600
s.xvi in. 1500 1530
s.xvi 1 1515 1545
s.xvi med. 1535 1565
s.xvi2 1555 1585
s.xvi ex. 1570 1600

Palaeographical dating cannot of its nature be very precise. At any one time, for example, a scribe late on in his career might have been writing in an old fashioned handwriting at the same time as a younger scribe had adopted a much more modern style. Or a whole scriptorium might have continued to use an old-fashioned handwriting when scriptoria elsewhere had adopted new ones. In recognition of this, the dating scheme presented above, which is the work of Michael Gullick, allows for overlaps between dating ranges. Even this, however, does not take note of the full range of possibilities, and users of this publication should bear in mind that the palaeographical dating of the stint is exactly that. It is the dating most plausibly assigned to the hand on the basis of comparison with dating specimens of handwriting. It is not an absolute guide to the date of the stint itself, since (as noted above) the scribe might have been writing in an old-fashioned style. Nevertheless, it does provide a clear starting-point and a firm basis for understanding LVD. Where identifications of persons named in a stint are certain and relevant aspects of their career precisely dateable, it has been refined or reinforced by the use of Arabic numbers in round brackets.

The following symbols have been used in the edition:

( ) = expansion of an abbreviation

The overwhelming majority of LVD consists of names, often in abbreviated forms. Sometimes the appropriate expansions are obvious, either from the sign of abbreviation used, or from the fact that the name is a clearly recognizable one. Sometimes, however, the names are extremely rare, even unique, and expanding them is problematic, especially when abbreviations of letters within them are marked only by a common sign of abbreviation. The edition has therefore marked all abbreviations, using round brackets around the letters which have been expanded from the abbreviation. The editors have, however, erred on the side of caution and have left abbreviations unexpanded in cases where there is any doubt as to what the name was or how it was spelled.

[ ] = an editorial emendation

Very occasionally editorial emendation has seemed appropriate; this is indicated by the use of square brackets, and is generally accompanied by a footnote where there is any possibility for doubt as to the appropriateness of the emendation.

{ } = an erased name or word

Where a name or word has been erased but is still legible, sometimes only with the high resolution digital images or with the ultraviolet photographs, these names or words have been surrounded by curly brackets.

' ' = a letter, word or words added above or beside the line.

It is a convention of the edition, in cases where their placing is not indicated by a caret mark, that additions were written by the scribe above the name or line to which they relate. These additions to the text of LVD are of two sorts.The first are emendations/corrections of his own text by the original scribe. The second are alterations to the original text by a second hand, and are in effect editorial emendations.

→ or ← = a reference forwards or back to where a stint continues or is continued from.

??? = indicates that a palaeographical date cannot be assigned to a stint.

Punctuation has mostly been used in precise imitation of what is in the manuscript, both points and paraph marks. Names have, however, been given majuscule initial letters for clarity, although all the names in the Original Core and many of the surnames in later entries in fact have minuscule initial letters.