We are pleased to announce that a project to catalogue and describe in detail the incunabula held by the University of Glasgow is now well underway.
Incunabula are those books printed before 1501, or “in the cradle” of printing (as the Latin term “incunabula” translates). Extremely important as survivors of the 15th century communications revolution of printing, these early printed books are fascinating objects. They are all unique in some way.
The University of Glasgow Library possesses over 1,000 of these 15th century imprints, the largest number owned by any one Library in Scotland; around half of these are from the collection of Dr William Hunter, the distinguished 18th century anatomist.
You can see what has been achieved so far by visiting the incunabula project website.
So far, 150 books have been described (with particular attention being paid to copy specific details). The project website is fully indexed to help the retrieval of information about the books from a number of different research angles, and the description of each book is illustrated with a selection of images. All these images have been mounted in a flickr set, so if you would like to find out what an incunable looks like, have a browse through the illustrations.
Additionally, each book is being fully catalogued and records may also be retrieved via the Library’s rare books search.
Please note that this is a work in progress! This is a long term project that will take several years to complete, and more records will be added regularly. We will be providing updates on the blog, so watch this space for developments.
We would appreciate your feedback, so please contact project staff with your comments and suggestions: Jack Baldwin (Honorary Research Fellow, Glasgow Incunabula Project) and Julie Gardham (Senior Assistant Librarian, Special Collections).