Introduction to the 1872 Printed Catalogue

James Henthorn Todd was primarily responsible for the Printed catalogue which finally appeared in 1872. Finding the existing catalogues to be almost useless Todd persuaded the Board of the College to appoint permanent Library Clerks for the first time and set about cataloguing the books on slips of paper in 1835. This work was completed in 1846 and Todd was now in a position to commence printing. He used Bandinel’s Catalogue of the Bodleian Library in Oxford as a model but made significant improvements. Unlike Bandinel he decided not to set a date at which he would stop adding books as he knew that printing would take a long time and many books would be unreasonably excluded. As the catalogue was to contain both primary and secondary entries and was to be printed over many years it is possible that secondary entries will be found without primary entries and vice-versa. A primary entry which is listed under author (or other keyword such as Ireland) and contains the title, place of publication, date size, edition, no. of volumes etc. and finally as many shelf marks as there are copies of the book. A secondary entry is listed under a different heading and the entry is an abridgement of the title with the primary entry heading printed in capitals.

The A-B volume, together with a Supplement, was in the printer’s hands from 1849 to 1862 and was published in 1864. Todd, who had been appointed Librarian in 1852, died in 1869 before the other volumes were printed. Henry Dix Hutton was given the task of editing the remaining seven volumes and a supplement which also contained an addenda and corrigenda. The T-Z volume was printed in 1885 and the Supplement in 1887. The whole project took 52 years. The 5121 pages of one set of the eight volumes were separated in 1987 in order to make a microfiche copy and these pages which were provided by Dr. Charles Benson, Keeper of Early Printed Books, were used to develop this on-line system. There are about 250,000 entries in the catalogue.

The catalogue contains entries in at least eighteen languages. English and Latin occur most frequently and other languages in the Roman alphabet include French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, Icelandic, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Welsh and Irish. There are also entries in non-Roman alphabets: Greek, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Arabic and Syriac. If an author’s works are mainly in Latin the Latin version of the name was used. For example ’KEPLER’ is listed under ’KEPPLERUS’. It is similar for other languages. ’PETRARCH’ is listed under ’PETRARCA’.

This online catalogue, based on the 1872 Printed Catalogue, which was primarily the work of James Henthorn Todd, was developed over many years by Glynn Anderson, Brian Cullen, Brendan Culligan, Ruth Clarke, Donnla nic Gerailt and Mark Fynes. This new version, which is available over the Internet, was developed by Andrew Collins in the Summer of 2005 and further developed and improved in the Summer of 2006 by Andrew Collins and Brian Cullen.

As the indices were built using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) the results are not perfect as you will soon see but it is hoped that it will prove useful and it is certainly much better than the previous version. If the result of a query is particularly bad please use the "Email" button towards the top right and send to Suggestions for improvements of any kind will be welcome. This is a preliminary version which will be improved over the next year.

John G. Byrne

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