Rare Books Blog

June 8, 2011

[Note: This article was first posted on 8 June 2011; the links were updated on 9 June 2018.]

I prepared the following set of links for the class I’m teaching at the Rare Book School next week, “Law Books: History and Connoisseurship.” Colleagues and readers of this blog might find some of them useful or interesting. If you want to know where I spend my time online, here are a few hints…

Online library catalogues

  • WorldCat: Public-access version of the largest union catalogue of library holdings world-wide.
  • KVK - Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog: Meta catalog of over 50 national library catalogs, regional library catalogs, and union catalogs.
  • ESTC - English Short Title Catalogue (British Library): 460,000 items published between 1473 and 1800 mainly, but not exclusively, in English, published

    mainly in the British Isles and North America, from the collections of the British Library and over 2,000 other libraries.
  • Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (British Library): “The international database of 15th-century European printing created by the British Library with contributions from institutions worldwide.”
  • MORRIS: Online catalog for the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.
  • Yale University Library

 Resources on Book Terminology

Cataloging Resources

Internet Databases for Rare & Used Books

  • AddALL: Searches 24 online databases of used and rare books in North America and Europe (including ILAB and ABE), with the option of restricting searches to selected databases.
  • ViaLibri: Designed especially for rare & collectible books. It allows you to permanently filter out print-on-demand books from your search results (yay!). Another great feature is the ability to search 72 library catalogs, including WorldCat (public version), KVK, ISTC, ESTC, and dozens of other union catalogs, national library catalogs, and individual library catalogs.
  • BookFinder.com: Searches almost 100 listing services (like ABE), online bookstores, and even “rental services” (!) for new, used, and rare books.
  • International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB): Restricted to listings from member booksellers. Offers an automated “wants” notification to registered users (registration is free), a searchable directory of member booksellers, multilingual glossaries of bookseller terms, Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors in PDF format, a calendar of book fairs, and a large “Library” of articles on the book trade, collecting, and related topics. ILAB’s U.S. affiliate, the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) offers most of the same features, but is limited to U.S. dealers.
  • AbeBooks.com: Registered users can create automated “wants” lists, and are notified by e-mail of matching books.

Book Collecting Resources


 Legal History Resources

– MIKE WIDENER, Rare Book Librarian

June 3, 2011


There are two new sets in the Rare Book Collection’s Flickr gallery…

Justitia - headpieces is part of my continuing pursuit of images of Lady Justice (or Justitia). This set contains images of Lady Justice found in headpieces, which are defined as “A type-ornament or vignette at the head of a chapter or division of the book” (ABC for Book Collectors). The example above comes from volume 1 of Capitularia regum Francorum (2 vols.; Paris, 1780).

Bambergensis 1580 contains all the illustrations from the 1580 edition of the Bambergische peinliche Halszgerichtszordnung. We acquired the volume in 2008 from Jeffrey D. Mancevice Rare Books, who described the book as “one of the most beautifully illustrated law books of the 16th century.” Also known as the Bambergensis constitutio criminalis, this criminal code was compiled by Johann von Schwarzenberg (1463-1528). We also own the first edition, printed at Mainz in 1508. Mancevice continues: “The fine text woodcuts which first appeared in the 1507 edition are by Fritz Hammer after drawings by Hans Wolf Katzheimer (according to the NUC) with the exception of three which were recut for this edition. The woodcuts are also attributed to Wolf Traut (ca. 1486-1520). Among the fine full-page woodcuts [is] a charming woodcut of seven people at a meal, each with an emblem of punishment above their heads (two appear to be playing cards)”; this is the woodcut shown below.

With apologies for my extended absence…


Rare Book Librarian

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