Ali Diakite and Paul Naylor, HMML, Why so Many Fragments? Incomplete Manuscripts in the Timbuktu Collections, 16 Mar 2023 This is really interesting. Do check out the whole article.
“A large amount of the manuscripts digitized in Timbuktu, Mali, that we at HMML have cataloged are fragments—missing pages at the beginning, the end, or the middle of the text, or sometimes all of the above. In total, 38 percent of the 7,537 items in the Aboubacar ben Said Library are fragments. The figure for the Bibliothèque de Manuscrits al-Imam Essayouti (2,696 manuscripts) is 43 percent. Of the 7,751 manuscripts we have cataloged so far in the Mamma Haidara Library, 28 percent are fragments; however, as fragments are typically more challenging to identify and catalog, the number is likely to rise as we tackle more of this large collection.”