Online resources for bibliography

A selection of openly available resources for studying how early printed books were made and how to work with them:

Vocabularies and working with catalogs

  • John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors: A long-running and easy to understand glossary of commonly used terms in book collecting; the online pdf of the 8th edition is a good place to start when you encounter unfamiliar terms (hosted by ILAB)
  • Standard Citation Forms for Rare Materials Cataloging: Catalogs often use semi-cryptic abbreviations to refer to bibliographies and other citations; this resource from RBMS allows you to search by the abbreviated term so that you can discover that “Goff” refers to F.R. Goff’s Incunabula in Early American Libraries
  • Latin Place Names: Early imprints often use the Latin form of a place name; this RBMS resource allows you to search the Latin for its vernacular, modern equivalent
  • Glossary of Common Latin Terms Found in Imprints of Early Printed Books: A helpful list to consult when the entire colophon or imprint is in Latin (from RBMS)
  • CERL Thesaurus: Since so many early modern personal and place names existed in multiple variants, it can be helpful to consult this thesaurus, which brings together standard authority records and variant entries into a single source



Printer’s devices