Department of Early Printed Books

Union Catalogue of Books Printed in the German Speaking Territories in the 16th Century


The “VD 16“ serves as Germany’s retrospective national bibliography for the period 1501 to 1600. It aims at recording all books that were published in the German speaking territories, with the exception of broadsides, maps and printed music. The VD 16-database currently records about 106,000 works with information on holdings of more than 330 libraries. 29,450 relevant works of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin have been entered up to now (as of March 2021).

The Staatsbibliothek managed to digitize about 10.400 of these VD16 books between 2012 and 2018 in the course of the VD16 digital project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). More than 1,7 million digital images were created and the contents of the digital versions made accessible by structural metadata. Moreover as part of the cooperative project VDLied digital spanning the years 2012-2016 the Staatsbibliothek succeeded in digitizing its 16th century german song chapbooks and broadside ballads, providing structural metadata for the individual songs contained in these broadsides and pamphlets. Eventually digitized versions are provided for almost all VD16 items of which the Staatsbibliothek records holdings, thanks to the cooperation of the Staatsbibliothek and the other libraries taking part in VD16.