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CERL’s Aims

The Consortium’s purpose is to share resources and expertise between research libraries with a view to improving access to, as well as research on and preservation of, the European printed heritage.

CERL’s major electronic initiatives are listed below. In addition, CERL organises seminars and workshops and produces publications.

For further details about CERL’s goals, consult the five-year Development Plan.

Heritage of the Printed Book Database

Go to the main description of the HPB

The HPB (originally known as the Hand Press Book) Database started to take shape in 1994 when the Consortium began to gather and edit MARC files for European pre-1830 printed books. It consists of files contributed by member libraries and other organisations, adapted to function in a single catalogue system. The database structure allows all files to be interrogated through a single search interface, thus integrating information deriving from many major research libraries as well as specialised institutions.

It became a live file available for searching in 1997. The records are made available to members for downloading for use in derived cataloguing, on the principle of a shared catalogue. The greatest import of the project is, however, in providing scholars with a source for the multilingual print culture in Europe on a scale hitherto unknown.

In November 2008 the members of CERL voted to change the name to the Heritage of the Printed Book Database but to retain the initials HPB.

The database currently holds over 3 million records. For a list of the current holdings of the database, please consult Content of the HPB Database.

CERL Thesaurus

Go to the main description of the CERL Thesaurus

The CERL Thesaurus (CT) is a public database which contains forms of imprint places, imprint names, and personal names as found in material printed before the middle of the nineteenth century (including variant spellings, forms in Latin and other languages, and fictitious names). It also contains provenance details with links out to library catalogues describing the books once owned by the listed person or institution, thus facilitating the reconstruction of now dispersed collections.

The file was created as a reference tool for bibliographers and scholars of the history of the book and is based on authority files made available by member libraries and others. It has also been adapted to provide assisted searching on names for the Heritage of the Printed Book Database and the CERL Portal, as well as acting as default authority file for provenance names in MEI. This facility could be made available for a similar function in other databases.

CERL Portal

Go to the main description of the CERL Portal

The CERL Portal (CP) is intended to provide access to distributed databases containing manuscripts materials and descriptions of early printed books.

The CERL Portal support the search of these materials in combination with the HPB Database, using the CERL Thesaurus to facilitate assisted searching.

The Electronic Publishing Centre (EPC) of the University Library of Uppsala in Sweden has hosted and maintained the CERL Portal since 2005. Dr Ivan Boserup of the University Library in Denmark, together with the CERL Secretariat, is responsible for the programme of adding new features and additional database resources.

Material Evidence in Incunabula

Go to the main description of the MEI database

MEI is a database for recording and searching the material evidence of 15th-century printed books: ownership, decoration, binding, manuscript annotations, stamps, prices, etc. MEI is linked to the Incunabula Short-Title Catalogue (ISTC), from which it derives the bibliographical records, and it allows the user to combine search of bibliographical records with copy-specific records.

It was created in 2009 by Cristina Dondi and developed by Alexander Jahnke (DCG) with funding from the British Academy granted to Nigel Palmer and Cristina Dondi.

MEI is freely available via the CERL website, and an ever increasing group of academics and librarians records provenance information for their collections in the database.

Web resources for the history of the book

Go to the main description of the Web resources for the history of the book

One of the Consortium’s long-standing aims is to develop added-value access for scholars and researchers to web-based digital resources that are important for the study of the early European book.

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 about/cerl_aims.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/13 16:29 by dondi



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