The ‘English Short Title Catalogue’ (ESTC) is a comprehensive, international union catalogue listing early books, serials, newspapers and selected ephemera printed before 1801. It contains catalogue entries for items issued in Britain, Ireland, overseas territories under British colonial rule, and the United States. Also included is material printed elsewhere which contains significant text in English, Welsh, Irish or Gaelic, as well as any book falsely claiming to have been printed in London. The database contains nearly 470,000 entries, and represents the holdings of some 2,000 libraries world-wide. The ESTC has developed over the last three decades into one of the most comprehensive and authoritative bibliographies available.
In 2011 the ESTC was awarded a planning-grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to “redesign the project as a 21st century research tool.” As a project consultant under the umbrella of this grant, Carl Stahmer worked with a team of scholars to develop recommendations for leveraging current technologies in order to make the resource more usable to a broad spectrum of researchers and librarians and to harness the knowledge and input of those users to refine and expand ESTC data. Recommendations of the panel included the adoption of a completely new, linked-data, FRBR structured platform. The final report will be delivered in October, 2012, after which the ESTC hopes to secure funding to implement the panel’s recommendations.
Visit the ESTC at estc.bl.uk.