The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) is a union catalog and bibliography of everything printed between 1473 and 1800 in England and its former colonies or in the English language elsewhere. Now more than 30 years old, the ESTC contains close to 500,000 records and millions of holdings from libraries around the world. It is co-managed by the British Library and the Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside, and is freely searchable at http://estc.bl.uk.
In the spring of 2011 the CBSR was awarded a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to “redesign the ESTC as a 21st century research tool.” Broadly speaking, the goal of this grant is to rethink what the ESTC is and does both to make the resource more usable to a broad spectrum of researchers and librarians and to harness the knowledge and input of those users to expand and refine ESTC data. For the last nine months a planning committee has discussed what kinds of content and features a redesigned ESTC should contain. This blog summarizes that committee’s recommendations. I have attempted to organize these initial ideas for a redesigned ESTC thematically and place them in individual pages within this blog, which are accessible via the tabs above.
The planning committee welcomes and encourages feedback on our ideas from ESTC users. This blog will remain active through April 20, 2012. At the end of that period the planning committee will collect and evaluate user responses from this blog, many of which we hope will be incorporated into the scope of the redesigned ESTC. Then this summer database and software designers will translate the proposals for a redesigned ESTC into a database blueprint and will prepare a roadmap for development. Those documents will form the basis for future grant applications to implement the proposals from this planning period.
Please support this effort to rethink the future of the ESTC by commenting on the following pages and taking the brief survey at the end of the blog. Your feedback is critical. From the entire planning committee, thank you for your contributions to this project.
– Brian Geiger, Director, CBSR
Committee Members: Ray Siemens, Merrilee Proffitt, Benjamin Pauley, Carl Stahmer, David Gants, David Vander Meulen, Kristian Jensen, Luis Baquera, Manon Theroux, Iris O’Brien, Ann McDermott, Rachel Stockdale