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English Short Title Catalogue

Information on the project funded in 2003 through the Full Disclosure programme

The proposal "ESTC: Completing the Base File" required funding to allow the British Library's British & Early Printed Collections to employ a temporary rare books cataloguer for six months to assist with the completion of the base file of the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). The cataloguer is dealing with 600 pre-1701 books for which there are as yet no fully edited records on the ESTC file. The records are created to international standards, and include full title and imprint transcriptions and Library of Congress Subject Headings. These records will enhance access to the Library's collections of early British printed material, and at the same time be made available to other libraries undertaking retrospective conversion projects involving material within the scope of ESTC.

The ESTC is an Anglo-American cataloguing project first established at the British Library in 1977, which aims to compile a machine-readable union catalogue for all items known to have been printed before 1801 in the British Isles or its dependencies in any language, and all relevant items printed wholly or partly in English or other British vernaculars in any other part of the world. Since its beginning, the ESTC has been based on the unrivalled collections of material at the British Library, which holds between a half and two-thirds of the known British printed output before 1801. The ESTC file is made available online through the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) and was published in a third CD-ROM edition in 2003.

The final report is available (see PDF files).

Lead Institution: The British Library.

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