Cambridge University Library

Incunabula Cataloguing Project

New: Incunabula Project blog

In October 2009 Cambridge University Library launched a cataloguing project which will make records for its collection of 4,650 incunables available and searchable online for the first time. The incunabula collection is internationally renowned and includes 134 unique items. The project aims to create a specialist record for each incunabulum in the Library’s online catalogue, Newton, with special emphasis on copy-specific information such as anomalies, rubrication, decoration and illumination, annotations, binding, marks of ownership and provenance, enhancing and bringing up to date the short-title catalogue published by J.C.T. Oates in 1954, and including the 256 items acquired by the Library since.

The descriptions will comply with international standards for the bibliographical description of rare material. Their inclusion in the Library’s online catalogue will ensure that the records will be quality-controlled, maintained and upgraded if necessary, and freely available worldwide. The records will also be sent to both COPAC (the merged online catalogues of many major University, Specialist, and National Libraries in the UK and Ireland) and WorldCat (the OCLC catalogue of books and other materials in libraries worldwide). The project has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for five years.

The project cataloguer is Dott. Laura Nuvoloni, Research Associate. For further information on the Incunabula Cataloguing Project, please contact William Hale, Rare Books Department, Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR.

Provenance Indexes

Ownership information amassed as part of the incunabula cataloguing project has been used to produce two on-line provenance indexes, detailing former owners of incunabula in the Library’s collections. The first lists personal ownership, the second institutional ownership. Owners are listed alphabetically, followed by brief details of the incunabula associated with them. Clicking on the links will extract the full bibliographical record for each item from Newton, the Library’s on-line catalogue. These indexes contain significantly more information than can be found in J.C.T. Oates's A catalogue of the fifteenth century printed books in the University Library, Cambridge (Cambridge, 1954). The indexes will be updated daily throughout the project.
The editio princeps of Lactantius, printed in Subiaco, Italy, in October 1465

The editio princeps of Lactantius, printed in Subiaco, Italy, in October 1465. Inc.3.B.1.1[1122]