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Promoting Europe's cultural heritage in print and manuscript

CERL seeks to share resources and expertise between research libraries with a view to improving access to, as well as exploitation and preservation of the European printed heritage in the hand-press period (up to c. 1830). The organisation was formed in 1992 on the initiative of research libraries in many European countries and legally came into being in June 1994. So this year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary.
Welcome to our site.

Services and Resources

A wooden common press HPB Database
The Heritage of the Printed Book in Europe, c. 1455 - c. 1830. A database of records from major European and North American research libraries.

CERL Thesaurus CERL Thesaurus
Multi-lingual information about names of persons and places found in catalogues of books of the hand-press period.

manuscript page CERL Portal
Cross-searching of catalogues of European manuscript materials, with the option to search selected early-printed books databases.

Material Evidence in Incunabula Material Evidence in Incunabula
MEI is a database designed to record and search the material evidence of 15th century printed books.

CERL Papers VI Publications
Two new articles about CERL and MEI:
Ingeborg Versprille, Marian Lefferts and Cristina Dondi, 'The Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL): twenty years of promoting Europe's cultural heritage in print and manuscript', in 027.7 Zeitschrift für Bibliothekskultur, 2,1 (2014): Konsortien & Konsorten, pp. 30-40. Online journal of the University of Basel, Switzerland, ISSN 2296-0597. Read more...
Francesca Nepori, 'Et amicorum et MEI', in Vedi anche. Notiziario della Sezione Ligure dell'Associazione Italiana Biblioteche, vol. 24 N. 1 (2014) - ISSN 2281-0617. Read more...

|diagram Collaboration
Find out about CERL's networks, projects and collaborative working groups.

CERL Seminar, Rome, 2005 Seminars and Workshops
The Consortium holds annual international seminars and regular regional and national workshops.

provenancelyon2.jpg Provenance
Can You Help? for provenance queries. Bibliography of provenance sources. Records for book owners in the CERL Thesaurus.

This site is archived as part of the initiative of the UK Web Archiving Consortium


6th International Conference of the Manuscript Librarians Expert Group
'Digital and Traditional Manuscripts: Challenges of a Great Migration'. The conference will be held at the Royal Library in Copenhagen, 9-11 October 2014. Participation is free. The programme can be found here.

B2i will close in December 2014
The current host, the Baryerische Staatsbibliothek, is inviting organisations to take over the hosting of the B2i-portal, which will otherwise be closed down in December of this year. Read the BSB announcement.

CERL Workshop at SHARP 2014 Antwerp
Historical Provenance Research: Material Evidence, Documentary Evidence, and Digital Humanities – CERL Workshop, 17 September, 9.00-13.30. SHARP CONFERENCE (Antwerp 17-20 September 2014). Full programme on http://www.sharp2014.be/cerl-workshop.html

CERL's Secretary awarded ERC Consolidator Grant
Cristina DondiCERL's Secretary, Cristina Dondi, of the University of Oxford, has been awarded a European Research Council Consolidator Grant for her project: “The 15th-century Book Trade: An Evidence-based Assessment and Visualization of the Distribution, Sale, and Reception of Books in the Renaissance”. The Grant is for five years. Read more...

“Thinking Again about the First Printing Revolution with Both Eyes on the Books: Venetian Evidence for Prices, Trade, and Use” by Cristina Dondi at Harvard University
CERL's Secretary, Dr Cristina Dondi, presented a paper on Monday 30 September 2013, at the Houghton Library, Harvard University. She also held a Workshop on Thursday, October 3, in the Houghton Library Seminar Room. The case of a dispersed collection between Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Florence is discussed in the Houghton Library blog, “Contributing data for greater understanding”, introduced by William Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts.

CERL in a Venn diagram
An overview of all CERL activities and services, and their users. Click here...

Download CERL Papers I to III for free

Researching print-runs
Over the years, Eric White, Curator of Special Collections, Bridwell Library, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, has been gathering data on the edition size, or print-run, of incunabula, a notoriously elusive subject. He has kindly agreed to make the c.280 records available to the wider community via CERL.

Powerpoint presentation on the Heritage of the Printed Book database
Jana Hentschke presented the latest HPB developments and data loads to colleagues during a Workshop on Tools for Provenance and Bibliographical Research, at Glasgow University Library on 24 November last year. Her powerpoint presentation is now available.

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