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Wroclaw University Library

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Historical note

Wrocław University Library has Poland's largest collection of prints published before the year 1800, including more than 310,000 publications in 230,000 volumes with an incunable collection of 3270 titles. The beginnings of the Library are connected with the establishing of the University in the year 1811. It started to work formally in 1815 as Königliche- und Universitätsbibliothek zu Breslau. Its resources contained the collections of the united libraries of the Viadrina University of Frankfurt (upon Oder) and the Leopold University of Wrocław, including additionally the book collections of secularized Silesian monasteries. During the Second World War the 75 % of this collection was completely destroyed. Reactivated after the War in the Polish Wrocław, the University Library took over the collections of the former Stadtbibliothek, that mostly survived the War, with valuable resources of Wrocław's gymnasium schools: St. Elisabeth's (so-called Rehdigerana), St. Maria-Magdalena's and St. Bernhardin's, which formed the basis of the reconstructed book collection.

Nowadays, the old prints collection of the University Library consists of such basic groups as the large, in spite of great wartime losses, resource of the former Königliche- und Universitätsbibliothek, the historical resource of the Stadtbibliothek and the resources of many Silesian provincial libraries belonging to convents, schools, palaces and private owners. Some of these collections remained to present times in their historical form, for example Jerzy Rudolf, Duke of Legnica's Renaissance library (so-called Rudolphina). It's also worth paying attention to the enormous (more than 40,000 volumes) collection of so-called Silesiaca: prints coming from local Silesian publishing houses, the first of which began in Wrocław already in 1475.

Each group has its own, often complicated, story, which influences to a considerable degree the character and structure of the whole book collection. There are typographic and publishing works of unique edition, numerous editiones principes and volumes valuable for their acquired features (provenance, bibliophile covers, manuscript notes). The value of Wrocław University Library old prints collection consists, therefore, in both its size and its contents.

Name and coverage of file

The database contains nowadays 5,533 bibliographic records, mostly (about 3,400) descriptions of sixteenth-century manuscripts from different European publishing houses, edited in octavo form.

The chronological and size homogeneity of the selected materials is due to a systematic electronic cataloguing of this part of collection. The rest of the records are descriptions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century prints, diverse in typography and content, chosen to be catalogued according to the current needs of the library (exhibitions, digitizing, acquisitions). A small number of records (25) constitute incunables.

Mode of cataloguing

The books are fully catalogued. All descriptions are prepared directly on the basis of possessed copies. The records are created according to ISBD principles in MARC 21 format. Detailed cataloguing norms are determined by Bibliographic records MARC 21 format for old prints

Suggested headings

The personal author headings and additional headings (printer, publisher, translator, illustrator, promoter, etc) take their forms from the Authority Control File, which allows to search by alternative forms.

The additional personal headings of the authors and addressees of dedication notes appear only in bibliographic records of works included in Polonica (national bibliography) or Silesiaca (regional bibliography).

In the case of works co-edited without common title, the uniform title of the first work is used.

Bibliographic description

In the transcription of non-Latin alphabet titles the PN-ISO standards for transliteration are used.

The number of pages of the work is given, and for sixteenth-century prints – also folded sheets numbers.

The date of publication includes, if it's possible, not only the year but also the day and/or month.

The variants of editions are distinguished and the fingerprint is given.

A comment on the printer's device is placed.

Information about illustrations, portraits, music notes and maps, etc. is included.

Polish and foreign catalogues and bibliographies are always quoted.

Present/Absent fields

If a catalogued work has an electronic version, the internet address is given by http (field 856).

In the record there are locally used fields, containing information about the copy: manuscript provenance notes and historical stamps transcription (field 561), commentaries on the cover (field 563) and defects (field 569).

The field 752 contains the name of the print/publication location in normalized form.

Subjects headings are only used optionally.

Treatment of multi-volume works

Each volume is treated as a separate record, which allows to include information concerning the specific unit. The data about the entity of a multivolume work is given in the commentary field (500) and as an additional heading in the fields 800-830.

A multivolume work is described as a whole in the case of volumes co-edited with continuous pagination or ones without individual titles.

Recommendations for searching

The personal headings (author, printer, publisher, translator, illustrator, author of the dedication note, etc.) and title headings can be searched both by normalized form and the form used on the title page.

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 resources/hpb/content/wroclaw_university_library.txt · Last modified: 2013/09/20 15:06 by baldwin



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