Skip to Main Content

Finding books published in English

A guide to tracing books published in English

FindIt@Bham: University Of Birmingham Library Catalogue

This is the most obvious bibliographic source to check. If you only want to see books  Library Catalogue or Physical items from the drop-down menu next to the search screen. Click on the title of the book to see the complete bibliographic record.

For further details, see FindIt@Bham online help

National Retrospective Catalogues

A project led by the British Library to catalogue as far as possible all printed books published in the British Isles and North America from the first printed book in England in 1473 to the end of the nineteenth century has resulted in two major databases:  English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC)  and Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue (NSTC)

 English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC)

The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) lists over 480,000 items published between 1473 and 1800 mainly in the British Isles and North America

Incunabula Short Title Catalogue
The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue is the international database of 15th-century European printing created by the British Library with contributions from institutions worldwide. Many links are provided to online digital facsimiles.

The following online collections contain full-text of early printed books.

Other Library Catalogues

Checking the holdings of other major libraries is another useful way of finding out what has been published by a given author, or on a given subject. You can then make arrangements to visit a library or obtain the items on inter-library loan.

Image: Humanities Reading Room, British Library

UK Libraries:

The British Library catalogue
This is the search tool which searches through the British Library’s catalogue of books, newspapers, journals, maps and musical scores, as well as electronic resources, images, film, datasets and archived websites. It includes the holdings of the BL Document Supply Centre.

SOLO (Search Oxford Libraries Online)
This service searches the combined online catalogue of libraries in the University of Oxford which includes the 1 million titles originally listed in the Bodleian Library pre-1920 Catalogue of Printed Books.

See also Union Catalogues

International Libraries:

Library of Congress Online Catalog
The Library of Congress Online Catalog contains approximately 14 million records representing books, serials, computer files, manuscripts, cartographic materials, music, sound recordings, and visual materials held in the Library of Congress. There is also a link to individual university library catalogues in the USA.


Union Catalogues

JISC Library Hub Discover
A database of 201 UK and Irish academic, national and specialist library catalogues.

WorldCat is an ongoing project to provide an online union catalogue of major libraries throughout the world. At present, it includes over 2 billion items from more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.

Using other libraries

If you wish to visit another UK university library, you might be eligible for a SCONUL card. This will allow you reference access to a large number of academic libraries around the UK. For more information on using other libraries please look at Access Schemes

Accessibility statement