The manuscripts are listed by repository and shelfmark. The opening part of each entry consists of the shelfmark; sigla assigned to the manuscripts in Forshall and Madden (1850) and, if different, in Dove (2007); the Summary catalogue number for manuscripts in the Bodleian Library; and the identification of the place of origin and date. The body of the catalogue entries is divided into seven main sections: Text, Decoration, Dialect, Physical description, Binding, Provenance and Bibliography, each briefly explained below.
The textual contents of each volume are presented as a numbered list. In the descriptions of the biblical text only deviations are recorded from the standard inventory and order of books and prologues in the Earlier and Later versions, given in Appendix I. Several descriptions include a transcription of all rubrics that appear at the beginnings of biblical books and prologues to illustrate this feature. The descriptions of the biblical text always note the presence and form of the chapter numbers, rubrics, running titles, marginal glosses and added material within the text, corrections and original or added notes in the margins. The indexing letters and double strokes in the margins, as well as any other indications of the beginning and end of Mass lections, such as rubrics or the use of red and yellow wash, are also described.
Quotations from manuscripts preserve the original spelling and capitalisation, except that a majuscule letter after a large initial is rendered as minuscule. The word division is normalised, except for inscriptions on the bindings and ownership inscriptions. Most abbreviations are expanded silently, though some are expanded within round brackets, if a more diplomatic transcription is desirable. A double vertical bar ‘||’ indicates line breaks in lettering on bindings. In transcription of Middle English texts, special characters are used to represent thorn (þ) and yogh (З). In psalms the Vulgate numbering is used throughout. Verse numbers in the biblical text correspond to those in Forshall and Madden's edition (1850) and not necessarily to the variable verse division in manuscripts.
Where textual boundaries correspond to physical divisions between the quires, this is noted in square brackets on a separate line. The descriptions of composite manuscripts follow the same pattern as elsewhere, but textual contents, decoration, dialect, script, ruling and other features of composite parts are described separately within each section.