A new database promising to provide access to all books published before 1601, in all languages, will be launched on 22 November 2011. The Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC) will contain a total of some 350,000 titles published in 18 countries. The USTC will create a searchable interface, bringing together data from established national bibliographical projects and new projects undertaken by the project team based in St Andrews, with partners in University College, Dublin. The catalogue will provide access to the full bibliographic information, locations of surviving copies and, where available, digital full text editions that can be accessed through the database. All told, this information will encompass approximately 350,000 editions and around 1.5 million surviving copies, located in over 6,000 libraries worldwide.
This is an exciting new tool for students, researchers, librarians and cataloguers. Tools such as the ESTC, VD-16, EDIT 16, and the HPB are invaluable to any bibliographer; and to have a database that brings information from all of these together and then adds more to what is already recorded is very exciting indeed. Searchers will be able to sort books by multiple criteria: by author, title, printer or place of printing; but also by language and subject. It will therefore offer the first opportunity to survey medical books, or books on architecture, science or literature across national boundaries
The launch will be celebrated on the evening of 22 November with a reception at Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, in the presence of the Consuls General of Germany, Italy and France and representatives of the national book communities represented in the USTC. It will feature the Edinburgh Renaissance Band as well as an exhibition of sixteenth century books. This will be followed by a scholarly colloquium on Wednesday 23 November at the New Club, Prince’s Street, Edinburgh. The colloquium will hear presentations from the Director and Project Manager of the USTC, Andrew Pettegree and Malcolm Walsby, and from four distinguished experts of early print: Ann Blair (Harvard), Ian Maclean (Oxford), Angela Nuovo (Udine) and Alexander Wilkinson (Dublin).