The Heritage of the Printed Book Database (previously called the Hand Press Book Database) is a steadily growing collection of files of catalogue records from major European and North American research libraries covering items of European printing of the hand-press period (c.1455-c.1830) integrated into one file. This makes it possible for information to be retrieved in one single search across all files.
New files are added to the HPB Database each year. The majority of these files consist of high-level bibliographical records created by book-in-hand cataloguing. Some files contain records created as a result of retroconversion projects, and these are gradually being replaced by sections of enhanced records. The entire system benefits from a unique spirit of international co-operation.
The HPB Database is of interest to librarians and any one else with academic pursuits across many fields of study that use printed books as source material. It is especially valuable for research in intellectual history, social history, and transmission of thought — as well as in the history of printing and the history of the book.
The HPB is freely available. Through their special accounts, CERL members have access to annual use statistics and may access the database through Z39.50 or SRU.