Glasgow Incunabula Project

The project produced a catalogue of more than 1,000 incunabula in the University of Glasgow Library and other Glasgow institutions.

The project's introductory page
The project's introductory page

In addition, the project undertook a complete revision of the present records for University incunabula scattered throughout the Library’s main online catalogue, many of which – produced nearly a century ago – now show deficiencies and inaccuracies. One of the richest rare book collections in the UK outside London, Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, the University of Glasgow Library has in total 1034 books printed before 1501. In addition, the collections contain a further 26 books often assigned to the 15th century in early catalogues of incunabula but now in the light of modern bibliographical scholarship considered to be printed after 1500 (they are included in the main body of the present catalogue and are also separately listed in an Appendix of post-1500 books).  The University Library’s incunabula (and post-incunabula) collections do contain a number of duplicate and triplicate copies and the actual number of discrete editions described in the catalogue is 964.

The Web Catalogue is essentially a short-title catalogue with author, title and imprint given in a standard form as in ISTC (Incunabula short-title catalogue i.e. the online international database of incunabula maintained by the British Library). Elaborate transcriptions of the title or incipit and colophon or explicit have been avoided since these are generally easily accessible in the standard incunabula catalogues such as BMC (Catalogue of books printed in the XVth century now in the British Museum) and GW (Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke). In a few instances, when no adequate description of an edition exists in print, a quasi facsimile transcription of title and imprint has been provided, modelled on BMC’s entries. The emphasis throughout in compiling each record has been to research and describe the unique attributes of each book i.e. to concentrate on copy-specific details:  provenance, binding, annotations, decoration added by hand, imperfections.

The Web Catalogue can be approached in two main ways. For those users primarily interested in authors and texts, there is an A-Z author sequence. For those users whose interests veer more towards the history of printing, there is an A-Z sequence by country, town and printer. The aim throughout in designing and constructing the Web Catalogue has been to enable the user to exploit to the full the often complex array of data contained within each record. We hope we have been able to go some way to achieving this aim by the construction of a series of indexes, whose contents are directly linked to the full web records.

Project website: https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/incunabula/welcome/


Main contacts: Jack BaldwinJulie Gardham

Start year: 2009

Subject area: Archives & Special Collections

Keywords: Digital CatalogueHistory

Record last updated 2020-01-17