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English Short Title Catalog

About the ESTC

The English Short Title Catalogue 

"The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) is a union short-title catalogue of works published between 1473 and 1800, in Britain and its former colonies, notably those in North America, and primarily in English, drawing on the collections of the British Library and other libraries in Britain and around the world. It is co-managed by the British Library and the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside. The database is freely searchable." (From Wikipedia.) 

 The ESTC includes:

  • Lists abridged entries of all books, pamphlets, broadsides, etc, printed in the British Isles, regardless of language between the years of 1475 and 1801. (some items are dated as early as 1470)
  • Entries printed in the British Isles, Colonial America, the U.S. (1776-1800), Canada, or territories governed by Britain, in all languages.
  • Entries of all books, pamphlets, broadsides, etc, printed in English outside of the British Isles between those same dates.
  • Records from Pollard and Redgrave’s A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad 1473-1640
  • Records from Wing’s A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America and of English Books Printed in Other Countries 1641-1700
  • Records from the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (the predecessor of ESTC), including items catalogued by the American Antiquarian Society as part of the North American Imprints Program (NAIP).
  • Newspapers and other serials, which began publication before 1801.

Using the ESTC - Record Detail

Records in the ESTC may vary in their degree of detail. 

  1. For items printed before 1701, you might find:
    1. Fully edited records that have complete transcription of titles and imprints, full pagination and format, extensive notes, subject headings, genre terms and references to Pollard & Redgrave and Wing. (STC and Wing)
    2. Partly edited records based on microfilms that have incompletely transcribed titles and imprints and incomplete pagination and format. They include notes and subject headings, STC and Wing references.
    3. Unedited records based on the entries in STC or Wing (references included) and contain at least the opening words of the title, place & date of publication and format.
  2. For items printed after 1700 forward you might find:
    1. Fully edited records for items printed 1701-1800, which follow the earlier rules established for the 'Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue', have incompletely transcribed titles (with marks of omission as appropriate) and imprints which omit addresses. They have some notes, but no subject headings.
  3. For newspapers and serials which began publication before 1801, you might find:
    1. Fully edited records that have complete transcription of titles and imprints from the earliest issues available. These provide extensive notes, subject headings, genre terms, and links to earlier and later (or related) titles.