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Department of Early Printed Books

English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC)


An international bibliographic database for the period 1473-1800, the ESTC records books which were printed in the English speaking territories or which contain text in English. This means that not only Great Britain and North America are covered, but also the former English colonies. As of June 2016 the ESTC database contained more than 470,000 title records, which include information on the holdings of more than 2,000 libraries throughout the world.

Two editorial offices coordinate this major transatlantic project – one at the British Library in London, the other at the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research at the University of California in Riverside, Ca. The ESTC database is accessible via estc.bl.uk.

Since mid-2000 the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin has been cooperating with this important cataloguing project. The library’s relevant holdings (shelfmarks A to Zb) are systematically checked against the ESTC database, variant printings identified and new titles entered, making the bibliographical records available all over the world.

As of June 2016 the ESTC database recorded more than 7,600 entries for copies held by the Staatsbibliothek. 350 or so titles hitherto unknown to the ESTC have been reported to the editorial offices in the course of the project. Of all titles recorded in the ESTC, 230 represent unique copies held by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.