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Incunabula Short Title Catalog - Microform Collection: Overview

Guide to the microfiche collection "Incunabula: the printing revolution in Europe, 1455-1500"



Incunabula: the printing revolution in Europe, 1455-1500 [microform]/ editor-in-chief Lotte Hellinga. Woodbridge, Ct.: Research Publications, 1992-present.


7000-11,000 microfiche in approximately 20 units [one unit = one looseleaf binder): 350-550 microfiche per binder; positive; silver halide microfiche; 30 frames or 56 frames per fiche (20X-32X lenses are suitable). Accession in progress: set is still being published.

From the printed guides accompanying this set, it appears that the microfiche reproduce other facsimile items (viz. 35 mm microfilm, perforated roll film, 4X4 cm negatives, and photographic facsimiles), rather than original items.


Microfiche collection, "the largest and most comprehensive collection of early European printed materials from 1455-1500 ever reproduced in full text facsimile", deriving from the British Library's Incunabula Short Title Catalogue [ISTC]. It is anticipated that the set will provide "an overall coverage of up to one third of all ISTC titles".


The set is expected to be released in twenty numbered units, one unit per "microbook" looseleaf binder. By mid-2007, the set has grown considerably beyond its prospectus, with seventy-eight units:

UnitTitleFiche symbol
1Printing in Mainz to 1480(no symbol)
2The classics in translation(no symbol)
3The image of the world: geography and cosmography(no symbol)
4-5Chronicles and historiographyCH
6The image of the world: travellers' talesTT
7-10Printing in Italy before 1472PI
11-15, 21Medical incunabulaIM
16-17Incunabula HebraicaIH (see Units 24-25)
18-20Printing in the Baltic areaBA
22-23Rhetoric incunabulaRH
24-25Italian humanismIH (see Units 16-17)
26-28Philosophy: ancient, medieval and RenaissancePH
29-30, 40Schoolbooks: grammarGR
31-33, 73SermonsSM
34-39Law incunabulaLW
45Printing in GreekGK
46-47German vernacular literatureGV
48-49Printing in EnglandEN
52-53Current affairsCA
54-55Iberian printingSP
56-59, 67, 78-79Bibles and commentariesBC
60-62Academic theologyTH
63-64, 74RomancesRM
65-66, 70Printing in FrenchFR
68Printing in DutchDU
69(Not published, as of March 2007)
71-72, 75Printing in FlorenceFL
76-77, 80Printing in VeniceVE


Incunabula microform guide. Thomson/Gale.
[Incunabula subsets via Thomson/Gale Web]
Unit checklists in PDF- and RTF-formats.
ISTC - The Incunable Short Title Catalogue
[Hand Press Book Database via Penn Library Web]
Bibliographic records for all kinds of printed books printed in Europe with movable type before 1501, documenting nearly every pre-1501 book known with approximately 30,000 editions. The contents include the up-to-date national censuses of incunabula in the British Isles, the USA, Canada, Italy (including the Vatican Library), Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Japan. Scandinavia and South America are comprehensively covered. Incuabula in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Polish, Hungarian and Czech libraries (among others) are at present less fully recorded, though new reports from all over the world are added every month. In Hand Press Book Database, ISTC records are identified as "Location UKBY - British Library ISTC"; ISTC records will contain a note indicating inclusion in Incunabula, providing microbook unit number.

Short title union catalogues for multi-library collections can be found in Franklin using subject heading searching: "incunabula--bibliography--union lists". Short title catalogues and bibliographies for individual collections can be found in Franklin using keyword expert searching: "skey incunabula and skey bibliography and [your subject word]".

Individual titles reproduced in this set are not listed in Franklin. However, original or reprint editions in the library's general or special collections will be listed in Franklin and/or the main card catalog.


No single set contains the breadth of Incunabula. However, the Penn Library owns a number of microform sets that, by including pre-1501 printed materials by subject or country of origin, overlap parts of this set.
EEBO (Early English Books Online)
[EEBO via Penn Library Web]
Early English books, 1475-1640
[Van Pelt Microforms: Microfilm STC]
French books before 1601
[Van Pelt Microforms: Microfilm 2105]
Bibliotheca Palatina: druckschriften
[Van Pelt Microforms: Microfiche 763]
Landmarks of science
[Van Pelt Microforms: Microfiche 866]


Van Pelt Microforms: Microbook 34.

Subject Guide