On Friday 20 July, the Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC) team marked the end of our 2018 summer programme. This annual programme, lasting six weeks, brought seven volunteers to the University of St Andrews to experience the day-to-day activities of the USTC. This year our volunteers came from a variety of institutions with strong traditions in book history: Danae Barboudi (Leiden University), Michela Petris (University of Udine), Chloé Favriou (Université Rennes II), Abby-Eleonore Thouvenin (ENSSIB, Lyon), Philippe Schmid (St Andrews/Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel), Robbe Devriese (St Andrews/Ghent University) and John Angus Macaulay (St Andrews).
Our summer programme, running for the seventh successive year, focussed on capturing data from seventeenth-century book trade catalogues. For the last two years, we have been doing intensive work with such catalogues, using both booksellers’ stock catalogues and auction catalogues to enhance the data presented in the USTC. Our summer volunteers contributed over 80,000 pieces of data on seventeenth-century book ownership and book sales, derived from dozens of Dutch, Danish, Swiss and Italian book catalogues. The summer programme has marked the end of the first stage of our data gathering scheme using book trade catalogues, and this autumn we will begin to incorporate almost 400,000 pieces of data into the records of the USTC. This will offer significant new insights into seventeenth-century book ownership and reveal thousands of references to lost books, making an unprecedented contribution to early modern book history.
Our summer volunteers also joined us for a one-day workshop on book trade catalogues, held on Saturday 16 June, attended by specialists from St Andrews and further afield. This was followed a week later by our eleventh annual book history conference, on Print and Power, at which our volunteers played an indispensable role in the logistics of this successful event. We thank our summer volunteers for their enthusiasm and companionable spirit this summer and give them our best wishes for their future.
An announcement for the 2019 summer programme will be posted in September. In the meantime, make sure you keep an eye out for our fortnightly Preserving the World’s Rarest Books blog, to which some of our summer volunteers from this year will also contribute in the coming months.