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Early European Books: Search

Search Tips

Perform a more detailed search using the pull-down menu with supported field codes as well as the limit to section to apply additional limits.

1. Quick Search

Quick Search box appears at the top of every screen. Your terms will be searched in all fields including historical and linguistic variants. For more information about how to construct a search see the Search Tips page

2. Find historical and linguistic variants

This search feature expands the search query in two ways: by including variants from the CERL Thesaurus, and by including variant characters which were frequently used interchangeably by early modern printers. For more information on this feature see the Search Tips page.

3. Keyword(s)

Enter the word or words you wish to search for into the Keyword(s) box; your terms will be searched in all fields.
For more information on truncation, boolean and proximity operators see the Search Tips page.

4. Indexed Fields (see the box on the right)

5. Page Features

In Early European Books the Page features search allows users to find documents that contain examples of 18 different kinds of special feature (listed below). Users can combine selections from the Page features area with search terms entered in other search fields such as Keyword(s). The Thumbnails display (accessible by clicking the thumbnail facsimile image that accompanies entries on the Search Results display) can then be used to preview instances of all the different special page features within a given document. Each image on the Thumbnails display is accompanied by a list of the special features associated with the page shown.
Although the Page features indexing is applied to individual facsimile Document Images in Early European Books, users should note that illustrations and other graphic elements are not individually subject indexed. A search for Keyword(s): Danmark* combined with Page features: map will retrieve documents containing maps with instances of Danmark in the Full Record, but it will not restrict the search to items that contain maps of Denmark.

See more of Page Features definitions in the box below.

6. Organise your search results

You can choose the order of your results will display: Alphabetically by author, Earliest publication first, Latest publication first, alphabetically by title or relevance.

You can also choose the number of records displayed by page wether 20,50 or 100.

Page Features Definitions

Page Features definitions:

Chart: A page that displays information in a graphic or tabular form.
Coat of arms: A symbolic emblem of heraldic bearings, usually consisting of a crest and motto.
Form: A page with blank spaces to be filled in by hand, often pertaining to legal or church issues.
Genealogical table: A graphic depiction of the line of descent of a family, often in the form of a family tree.
Handwritten page/insert: A page or loose insert without printed text or printed illustrative matter featuring handwritten notes or commentary and/or other marks made by hand.
Illuminated lettering: Lettering decorated with pictorial elements or illuminated with the application of colour, usually a decorated or illuminated initial marking a division in the text.
Illustrated page borders: Decorative elements (frequently repeated) that enclose the main content of a given page.
Illustration: Any graphic representation not specifically listed in other descriptions.
Manuscript marginalia and other annotations: Marginal notes, annotation, commentary and other marks added to the printed source by hand.
Map: A representation, normally to scale and on a flat medium, of a selection of material or abstract features on, or in relation to, the earth's surface or the surface of another celestial body.
Musical notation: The score of a piece of music in whole or in part (i.e. staff, clef, notes etc).
Plan: A drawing showing relative positions on a horizontal plane (e.g. relative positions of parts of a building, a landscape design, a graphic representation of a military manoeuvre).
Plate: An image printed from an incised plate and inserted into the regular numbering and signatures of the book, sometimes in the form of a fold-out.
Portrait: A picture of a person or group of persons.
Printed marginalia: Printed marginal notes, annotation and commentary separated from the main body of running text.
Printers' marks - Colophon: Decorative device or insignia identifying the printer found at the end of the work.
Printers' marks – title page: Decorative device or insignia identifying the printer found on the title page.
Rubricated text: Text printed in red, often on a title page or forming a section heading.

USTC Subject Classification

  1. Academic dissertation
  2. Adages, aphorisms, emblem books, jests, proverbs
  3. Agriculture, viticulture, texts on hunting, veterinary science
  4. Art and architecture
  5. Astrology and cosmography
  6. Bibles (including parts)
  7. Book industry, catalogues and inventories
  8. Calendars, Almanacs & Prognostications
  9. Classical Authors
  10. Courtesy and Etiquette
  11. Culinary arts and Household Management
  12. Dialectics and rhetoric
  13. Dictionaries, vocabularies, phrase books, instruction in foreign languages
  14. Discourses on government & political theory
  15. Drama
  16. Economics (treatises on the economy, regulation of guilds, coinage)
  17. Educational Books (ABCs, how to write letters, grammars, how to educate children)
  18. Funeral Orations
  19. Games and recreations
  20. Heraldic Works & genealogies
  21. History and Chronicles
  22. Jurisprudence (legal texts books, handbooks, commentaries, etc. ) excluding edicts
  23. Linguistics and philology
  24. Literature
  25. Marriage, the debate on women
  26. Medical Texts
  27. Military handbooks
  28. Music
  29. News books (sensational literature, events and conflicts in foreign places)
  30. Ordinances, edicts, proclamations
  31. Philosophy and Morality
  32. Poetry
  33. Political tracts
  34. Religious
  35. Science and mathematics
  36. Travel, topography, maps and navigational manuals
  37. Wedding pamphlets
  38. Witchcraft, demonology, occult writings

A full description of these categories can be found here


Indexed fields

4. Indexed fields

Use the Keyword(s) field to find all records containing a single word or phrase.

The Author field covers names of authors, editors, publishers, companies and performers.
Personal names can be entered either forename followed by surname or surname, forename. We standardise author names by using the Library of Congress name form as an authority form.

You can use the Select from list link to browse and identify names from the index. When selecting from a list of names, the names of people are listed in the format: surname, forename. 

Title Keyword
The Title keyword(s) box limits your search to the document title. e.g. "Epistolæ astronomicæ" . Alternatively Click the Select from a list  link to choose from a list of titles.

The title is transcribed directly from the title page of the print volume, e.g. Tychonis Brahe Dani Epistolarvm astronomicarvm libri, quorum primvs hic illvstriss: et lavdatiss: principis Gvlielmi Hassiae landtgravii ac ipsius Mathematici literas, vnaq; Responsa ad singulas complectitur. This is supplemented by the Alternative Title field, which is generally taken from the library catalogue, and might include short titles, translated titles and uniform titles, e.g.: Epistolæ astronomicæ. For more information on truncation, boolean and proximity operators see the Search Tips page.

-         Imprint
(e. g. publication details) - ProQuest transcribes this exactly as written from the title page, so that the original form is searchable, e.g. ‘Uraniburgi: ex officinâ typographicâ authoris, 1596’. However, we also add standardised place names and publisher/printer names. Our partnership with CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries) allows us to search the CERL Thesaurus to find variant place and publisher names, so that we can automatically map historical variants of Copenhagen such as Hafniae, Hassniae, Kaupmannah, Kibenhavn or Krupmannsköfn to their standardised modern form.

  • Use Place of publication to retrieve documents published from a specific location. You can either enter the name in the search box or Click the Select from a list  link to choose from the place of publication index. Note that this field will only display in the full record format.
  • Use Printer/publisher name to retrieve documents published by a specific printer or publisher. You can either enter the name in the search box or Click the Select from a list  link to choose from the Printer/publisher name index. Note that this field will only display in the full record format.

Date of publication
You can narrow searches according to date of publication by specifying a range of years using the from and to boxes that comprise the Date of Publication search field (e.g. Date of publication: from 1482 to 1600) or by entering the same year in the from and to boxes (e.g. Date of publication: from 1482 to 1482). The default values in the from and to boxes to represent the earliest and latest publication dates that occur within all the bibliographic records that can be searched and retrieved within Early European Books.

  • Early European Books limits itself to providing facsimile images of items printed before 1701. However, some of the sources upon which it is based associate pre-1701 imprints with later items, and in a number of cases it has been found necessary to capture later material in order to provide the fullest possible access to the pre-1701 printed record. In order to ensure that searches not restricted by date retrieve all possible matches in the collection, the limit of the default Date of Publication range is set at 1900.
  • The from limit for Date of publication default range is set at 1455, the approximate date of the first European printed books. Please note that the earliest publication date in your search results will vary depending on which collection(s) you have access to.

Bibliographic number

Click the Abbreviations reference link to view complete references to abbreviations in the bibliographic name/number field for the alphanumeric entry used in STCI and Wing.

USTC Subject Classifications

EEB is comprised of material from 5 source libraries and as a result, it has been subject to 5 different ways of capturing meta data on these titles. The USTC has reviewed and standardized the EEB dataset on the following fields: 

  • Place of printing
  • Language
  • Year/date range
  • Region of printing

As a result, the data is now more consistent and delivers better search results - The current ‘subject’ search on EEB enables   researchers to select all terms provided by 5 different source libraries, as one integrated list of terms.

As of spring 2016, subscribers to EEB have also been able to search collections using specially assigned USTC subject classifications. These new terms are a standardized version of the USTC classification scheme.

There are 38 new subject categories. See the list in the box on the left, and a full description of them can be found here

We retain the source library’s subject indexing where this is available and we are aiming to add further Library of Congress subject indexing ourselves to allow consistency across different content sets.

ProQuest adds this information where it’s not present in the library catalogue record.

Search records by the country in which the work in question was printed/published.

Page features
(e.g. Coat of arms; Illuminated lettering; Portrait) – this is something ProQuest adds as part of the digitisation.

Source library
The list of source libraries
will vary depending on which collection(s) you have access to.

As provided by the source library.

Abbreviations reference

The abbreviations used in the Bibliographic number field in the Full Record display in Early European Books refer to the following sources.

Lauritz Nielsen or LN Lauritz Nielsen, Dansk Bibliografi 1482–1600 (1919–1996)
STC A. W. Pollard and G. W. Redgrave, A Short-title catalogue of books printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English books printed abroad: 1475–1640 (second edition, revised & enlarged by W. A. Jackson, F. S. Ferguson and Katharine F. Pantzer, (1976–1986).
USTC The Universal Short Title Catalogue (University of St Andrews, 2007–2015)
BMC Catalogue of books printed in the XVth century now in the British Museum [British Library],
London, 't Goy-Houten, 1963-2007 (13 parts.)
Incunabula of the Bavarian State Library (
CIBN Bibliotheque nationale de France, Catalogue des incunables (CIBN), Paris: Bibliotheque nationale de France, 2006 (3 vols.)
Cioni, Alfredo, Bibliografia delle sacre rappresentazioni, Firenze: Sansoni Antiquariato, 1961
Colomb De Batines, Paul, Bibliografia delle antiche rappresentazioni italiane sacre e profane stampate nei secoli XV e XVI, Firenze: per la Societa Tipografica, 1852
The British Museum Short Title Catalogue (BMSTC), now called the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC), lists over 460,000 items published between 1473 and 1800, mainly, but not exclusively, in English, published mainly in the British Isles and North America, from the collections of the British Library and over 2,000 other libraries (
Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke - Union Catalogue of Incunabula Database (
T.M. Guarnaschelli e E. Valenziani [et al.], Indice Generale degli Incunaboli delle biblioteche d'Italia (General Index of the Incunabula held by Italian Libraries), Roma: 1943-81 (6 vols.)
The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) is the international database of 15th-century European printing created by the British Library with contributions from institutions worldwide (
D'ANCONA D'Ancona, Alessandro, Sacre rappresentazioni dei secoli XIV, XV e XVI, Firenze: Le Monnier, 1872 (3 v.)
Kristeller, Paul, Early Florentine woodcuts with an annotated list of Florentine illustrated books, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co., 1897
SANDER Sander, Max, Le livre a figures italien depuis 1467-1530, Milano, Hoepli, 1942 (4 v.)
Sacre Rappresentazioni
Testaverde, Anna Maria & Evangelista, Anna Maria, Inventari e cataloghi toscani 25: Sacre rappresentazioni manoscritte e a stampa, Milan: Giunta Regionale Toscana and Editrice Bibliografica, 1988