The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.2145 Monday, 27 December 2004
Date: Thursday, 23 Dec 2004 12:50:42 -0800
Subject: Stationers' Register 1554-1640 Coming Online
Edward Arber's A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of
Stationers of London, 1554-1640 A.D. (5 vols., 1875) is gradually coming
online, courtesy the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies at
Victoria University of the University of Toronto, the U of T library's
high-speed scanner, and the Internet Archive (IA). Four volumes are
available now and filedating indicates vol. 5 may be coming soon.
As bibliography Arber has apparently been succeeded by the Short Title
Catalogue (STC), but citations still have pointers to him, and of course
the Statationers' Register has great period interest by itself.
The best way to the home pages for each volume is to search at IA on
(A search on "Arber" brings up a couple volumes of his old anthology An
As is usual with digital libraries and archives, the bibliographic
information is either nonexistent or hard to locate, and the Arber list
gives only one indication of which volume is which, but if you hover
your mouse cursor over each item you'll see the filename, including, eg,
"stationersregist02"--the file for vol. 2. Here's what the OCLC
citation has about volume contents:
v. 1. Text: Detailed cash accounts to 22 July 1571. Summary cash
abstracts onward to 2 August 1596.--v. 2. Text: Entries of books to 25
June 1595. Entries of apprentices and freemen, calls on the livery, and
fines to 2 July 1605.--v. 3. Text: Entries of books to 11 July 1620.
Entries of freemen to 31 December 1640. Succession of master printers in
London 1586-1636.--v. 4 Text: Entries of books to 3 November 1640. Calls
on the livery and promotions to the assistance to 31 December 1640.--v.
5. Index: Mr. C.R. Rivington's paper on The records of the Stationers'
Company, 1881-1893. A list of 847 London publishers, 1553-1603. An index
of the mechanical producers of English books, 1553-1640.
The librarians really need to be more active in helping to catalogue and
enable access to digital libraries.
Viewing and downloading Arber (and other IA texts) are by way of
enormous DjVu files (vol. 2 is 57MB), and I will say frankly that DjVu
overwhelms my computer as Acrobat Reader does not. Internet Archive,
however, offers direct access to its directory structure, so if you
click on "All Files" you will get to various files in other formats,
including individual image files (usually TIFFs) and perhaps .zip files.
Less flexible and slower than Acrobat Reader (for PDFs), DjVu lets you
view and print page images. The reader is available via a logo on the
book page or from
Like PDFs, DjVu files can be pretty big--this Arber volume is
57MB--and overwhelm your machine.
A further warning is that any associated .txt files may be from OCR-ing
the scanned images. Are these unreliable? It depends on the book. If
the OCR text is really bad, any indexed search results will be bad too.
This used to be called GIGO but etext producers and digital archivists
tend to get defensive on this subject.
If you heard news about Google's partnership to scan 8 million books at
Stanford and 7 million at the University of Michigan (see
you'll be interested that Internet Archive a week later announced a
collaboration involving 10 libraries to make one million texts available
via PDF and DjVu. Info:
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