There is an estimate of between 13,000 and 34,000 active parishes in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Each of them are in the possession of at least several manuscripts necessary for liturgical activities. The biggest collections count several hundred codices (e.g. c. 570 manuscripts are preserved at Dabra Bizan, and 220 (and formerly up to 800) in Gunda Gundē). The manuscripts are usually kept in the sacristy rooms (ǝqa bet) or treasuries (maqdas); in some cases they have been known to be preserved, for the church, by the parish people in their homes. In most cases, the preservation conditions, in particular for the older manuscripts that are not in regular use, are highly inadequate.
A number of microfilming and digitization campaigns over the last forty years have made the content of at least 12,000 of locally preserved manuscripts available to scholars. This is in addition to the manuscript collections in public libraries. The two largest modern Ethiopian libraries of major institutional importance, the Library of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies and the National Archives and Library of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, preserve approximately 1,500 and 850 manuscripts, respectively. The four largest collections in Europe are those of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (1,082), the Bibliothèque nationale de France (over 1,000), the British Library (at least 624), and the Staatsbibliothek Preußischer Kulturbesitz (328). Significant collections are also present in Manchester, Oxford, Frankfurt, Munich, St Petersburg, Moscow, Uppsala, Oslo, Florence, Milan, Parma, Rome (besides the Vatican), Athens, Princeton, Baltimore, and Jerusalem.
For an (incomplete) overview of collections visit the 'Inventory of Libraries and Catalogues of Ethiopian Manuscripts' by Anaïs Wion, Claire Bosc-Tiessé and Marie-Laure Derat (last updated 6 January 2014).
During the first project stage, an electronic version of the early catalogues of the collections of London, Paris, Berlin and Oxford is expected to be produced.