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History of the Book
A guide to research in the history of books, reading, publishing, and print culture.
This guide, created by the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies at the University of Kent as part of their MEMSlib online initiative, lists print and online resources for various aspects of research in the history of the book.
This site depicts the spread of printing through Europe in the fifty years following the European refinement of the tools and process to make impressions from movable type cast in metal. Created by the University of Iowa Libraries.
The Booktraces project is aimed at collecting the unique traces of readers in books, beginning with those from the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century. Thousands of old library books bear fascinating traces of the past. Readers wrote in their books, and left notes, pictures, letters, flowers, locks of hair, and other things between their pages. The crowd-sourced project is looking for people to collect the unique in their libraries to ensure the survival of these books at risk, particularly from the period 1820-1923.
BBTI is a database which aims to include brief biographical and trade details of all those who worked in the English and Welsh book trades up to 1851. There is a separate Scottish Book Trade Index at the National Library of Scotland, so BBTI includes only those Scottish book trade people who also traded in England or Wales at some point in their lives.
BBTI includes not only printers, publishers and booksellers but also other related trades, such as stationers, papermakers, engravers, auctioneers, ink-makers and sellers of medicines, so that the book trade can be studied in the context of allied trades. BBTI is, however, only intended as an index to other sources of information. It is not intended to be a biographical dictionary of book-trade people.
DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks allows scholars and students to investigate the publishing, printing, and marketing of English Renaissance drama in ways not possible using any other print or electronic resource. Includes a search engine of every playbook produced in England, Scotland, and Ireland from the beginning of printing through 1660.
Early Modern Manuscripts Online, or EMMO, is a multi-faceted project funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that will provide scholars and the general public with convenient web access to transcriptions, images, and metadata for a substantial number of English manuscripts from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Early Printed Books was developed by Sarah Werner as a companion to her book, Studying Early Printed Books, 1450-1800: A Practical Guide. Intended to be able to be used both alongside and separately from the book, the website is an open-access, freely available resource that can supplement anyone’s explorations of early printed books.
Developed at Cambridge University, "English Handwriting 1500-1700: An online course" offers a series of lessons in paleographic skills for researchers interested in reading English manuscripts from the 16th and 17th centuries.
The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) lists over 460,000 items that were published between 1473 and 1800. Mainly, but not exclusively published, in English on the British Isles and North America. Features items from the collections of the British Library and over 2,000 other libraries.
The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe project uses database technology to map the trade of the Société Typographique de Neuchâtel (STN), a celebrated Swiss publishing house that operated between 1769 and 1794. As the STN sold the works of other publishers alongside its own editions, their archives can be considered a representative source for studying the history of the book trade and dissemination of ideas in the late Enlightenment. From the University of Leeds.
Created by historian Robert Darnton, this website offers an opportunity to explore the world of books on the eve of the French Revolution. It brings together material from the vast archives of the Société typographique de Neuchâtel, a publisher and wholesaler who provided all kinds of books to all parts of France from 1769 to 1789.
The London Booktrades project is being built from a database designed to contain biographical information on printers, booksellers, bookbinders, stationers, and those in associated trades who worked in and around London from the introduction of printing into England until about the year 1830. There are currently entries for something over thirty thousand individuals, about two thirds of whom have been derived from the archives of the Stationers' Company. Presented by the Centre for the Study of the Book at the Bodleian Library on behalf of The Bibliographical Society and The Oxford Bibliographical Society.
The Lost Plays Database is a wiki-style forum for scholars to share information about lost plays in England, 1570-1642. Plays can be browsed by title, author, year, theater company, or venue; each play's page summarizes the surviving documentation of its existence.
A collaborative, interdisciplinary, and international project in the digital humanities, centered at Stanford University. Visualizes the correspondence, travel, and social networks of early modern scholars.
MEDIATE is a European Research Council-funded digital humanities project, based at Radboud University (The Netherlands), that seeks to study the circulation of books and ideas in eighteenth-century Europe. Currently under construction, the project seeks to create a fully searchable database of eighteenth-century library auction catalogues, in close collaboration with other existing historical bibliometric databases.
The Memory of Paper is a site about paper, paper study, and paper history. It provides various resources in the following areas: historical research of paper in Europe, expertise for paper documents, measurement of structural characteristics of paper, support for the creation of new paper databases, introduction into digital paper studies.
The Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC) is a collective database of all books published in Europe between the invention of printing and the end of the sixteenth century. In 2011 this was brought together with information on books published in Italy, Germany and Britain to create a fully searchable resource covering all of Europe. This provides access to the full bibliographic information, locations of surviving copies and, where available, digital full
The Mellon-funded Visualizing English Print (VEP) project joins computer scientists and literary scholars to scale textual analysis and visualization to increasingly large corpora, beginning with the early modern period. It strives to make early modern texts accessible for computational analysis. Furthermore, its purpose is to design tools to support the workflow of of humanist scholars.
"What Middletown Read" is a database and search engine built upon the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library from November 5, 1891 through December 3, 1902. It documents every book that every library patron borrowed during that period, with the exception of one gap from May 28, 1892 to November 5, 1894.
Women in Book History is a bibliography of secondary sources on women’s writing and participation in the book trades, with an emphasis on early modern England (roughly 1500-1800) and some sources related to the United States. Entries can be filtered and browsed by name, location, language, publisher, field, or period.