Research Guide to Book History

| Resources on WWW | Reference Books | CONSULS Catalog | Databases & Indexes | Locating Periodicals | Interlibrary Loan | Questions? |

Resources on the World Wide Web

General Sites

Cuneiform, Payrology & Inscriptions

Paleography & Codicology


Incunabula & Early Printing

Printing, Bookbinding & Publishing


Book Arts

Specific Works

Specific Genres


Publishers & Booksellers

Libraries, Museums & Organizations

Preservation & Conservation

For tips on citation format, please see Diana Hacker's Humanities: Documenting Sources ( or MLA Style via Yahoo!

Reference Books for Background Information

Reference books are shelved by Library of Congress call number in the reference stacks on the first floor of the Ruth Haas Library. They may not be checked out, but photocopiers are available for student use on the first and third floors of the Haas Library.

Historical Background

Atlas of Medieval and Modern HistoryRef G 1030.S41 1932
Atlas of Medieval EuropeRef CB 351.M293 1983
Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon EnglandRef DA 152.B58 1999
Cambridge Medieval History. 8 voumes.Ref D 117.C3
Chaucer and the Fifteenth CenturyRef PR 255.B43 1958
Dictionary of Medieval CivilizationRef CB 351.D24 1984
Dictionary of the Middle Ages. 13 volumes.Ref D 114.D5 1982
Encyclopedia of Medieval LiteratureRef PN 669.R88 2006
Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. 2 volumes.Ref D 114.E53 2000
Extraordinary Women of the Medieval and Renaissance WorldRef HQ 1143.E93 2000
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Medieval CivilizationRef CB 353.G7 1980
Medieval England: An EncyclopediaRef DA 129.M43 1998
Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia. 2 volumes.Ref GR 35.M43 2000
Medieval France: An EncyclopediaRef DC 33.2.M44 1995
Medieval Germany: An EncyclopediaRef DD 157.M43 2001
Medieval Italy: An Encyclopedia. 2 volumes.On Order
Medieval Scandinavia: An EncyclopediaRef DL 30.M43 1993
The Middle Ages: A Concise EncyclopediaRef CB 351.M565 1989
New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2nd edition. 15 volumes.Ref BX 841.N44 2003
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian ChurchRef BR 95.O8 1974

History of the English Language

Handbook of Middle EnglishRef PE 535.M62 1988
Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English. 4 volumes.Ref PE 1705.M35 1986
Middle English Dictionary. Kurath. Many volumes.Ref PE 679.M54
Middle-English Dictionary (Stratmann)Ref PE 679.S7 1986
Old French-English DictionaryRef PC 2891.H56 2000
Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd edition. 20 volumes.Ref PE 1625.M7 1989

Medieval Art

Art Through the Ages. 10th edition.CIRC N 5300.G25 1996
Dictionary of Art. 34 volumes. Ref N 31.D5 1996
Encyclopedia of World Art. 16 volumes.Ref N 31.E533 1983
Grove Dictionary of Art (available online)Under Articles/Databases on WCSU Libraries Homepage
History of Art. 5th edition.CIRC N 5300.J3 1995
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Art. 5 volumes.Ref N 33.M23
Oxford Companion to ArtRef N 33.O9
Oxford Dictionary of Art. 2nd edition.Ref N 33.O93 1997

Book Arts

The Bookman's Glossary. 5th edition.Ref Z 118.B75 1975
A Dictionary of Book History (Feather)Ref Z 1006.F38 1986
Ductus: Digital Latin Paleography (CD-ROM)Haas Circulation Desk: Online File
Encyclopedia of the Book (Glaister)Ref Z 118.G55 1996
The Great Libraries: From Antiquity to the Renaissance (3000 B.C. to A.D. 1600)Ref Z 723.S7313 2000
Illuminated Manuscripts and Their Makers (Rowan Watson)CIRC ND 2900.W37x 2003b
Images in the Margins of Gothic ManuscriptsRef ND 2980.R3
Insular, Anglo-Saxon, and Early Anglo-Norman Manuscript Art at Corpus Christi College, Cambrudge. 2 volumes.Haas Archives & Special Collections
Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical TermsRef ND 2889.B76 1994

Facsimile Editions

The Bay Psalm Book: A Facsimile Reprint of the First Edition of 1640 Archives BS 1440.B4 1640
Bestiary: Being an English Version of the Bodleian Library, Oxford M.S. Bodley 764Archives PA 8275.B4.E5 1993
The Book of the Ordre of Chyvalry or Knyghthode
(photoreprint of the 1484 edition printed by William Caxton at Westminster)
Archives CR 4531.L815 1976
The Canterbury Tales: A Facsimile and Transcription of the Hengwrt Manuscript with Variants from the Ellesmere ManuscriptArchives PR 1866.R88 1979
The First Folio of Shakespeare (Norton, 1968)Ref PR 2751.A15 1968 & Archives/Special Collections
The Metamorphoses of Ovid. 2 volumes. Translated by William Caxton, 1480.Archives PA 6522.M4 1968
The New England Primer; a History of its Origin and Development with a Reprint of the Unique Copy of the Earliest Known Edition...Archives PE 1119.A1.N43 1962
The Notebook of William Blake; a Photographic and Typographic Facsimile
(Clarendon, 1973)
Archives PR 4142.A5 1973
Piers Plowman: A Facsimile of Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Douce 104Archives PR 2010.P42 1992

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CONSULS Online Catalog for Books and Media

CONSULS catalog workstations are located in the Reference Area on the first floor, and on each of the other floors of the Haas Library. You may logon to CONSULS via the WCSU Libraries Homepage at or directly at For more detailed instructions on searching, please see the yellow CONSULS flyer on the display rack on the first floor.

Please Note: CONSULS ignores upper and lower case, and you may omit punctuation, except the hyphen which must be replaced by a space.


Select Author at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important.

Example: de hamel christopher (press RETURN or ENTER)
Or just: de hamel c (press RETURN)

To limit search results to items owned by WCSU, click on Limit/Sort and then select WCSU under "Where Item Is Located."


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the writer's name last-name-first. Correct spelling is important. To limit results to items owned by WCSU, click Limit/Sort and then select WCSU under "Where Item Is Located."

Example: morris william (press RETURN or ENTER)
Or just: morris w (press RETURN)

CONSULS will retrieve a list of Library of Congress Subject Headings that begin with the words you typed:

Morris William 1834 1896 (main heading is subdivided)
Morris William 1834 1896--Bibliography
Morris William 1834 1896--Biography
Morris William 1834 1896--Contributions in book design
Morris William 1834 1896--Criticism and interpretation
Morris William 1834 1896--Influence
Morris William 1834 1896--Political and social views
Morris William 1834 1896--Catalogs


Select Title at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type as much of the title as you remember in correct word order. In CONSULS, you may omit "a," "an," or "the" at the beginning of a title.

Example: Illuminated Manuscripts: Treasures of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York (press RETURN)
Or: illuminated manuscripts treasures of (press RETURN)

If your TITLE search does not retrieve an entry for a separately published edition of the work, select the Words Search option to re-execute the search as a Keywords search and press RETURN. Then scan the CONTENTS field of each entry for the title of the work you need.


Select Subject at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the Library of Congress subject heading which best describes your topic. Correct spelling and word order are important. The complete list of Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is published in a set of big red books available in the Reference Area on the first floor of the Haas Library.

Example: Books--History--400-1400 (press RETURN or ENTER)
Or just: books history (press RETURN)

The following Library of Congress subject headings are pertinent to book history:

Book collectingCopybooks
Book coversCopyists
Book designCourt hand
Book industries and tradeCuneiform writing
Book jacketsHieroglyphics
Book ornamentationLettering
ColophonsPaleography (by language)
Criticism, textualRunes
DedicationsScriptoria (subdivided geographically)
Early printed booksWriting (many subdivisions)
Electronic booksWriting, Minuscule
First editionsWriting, Uncial
Illumination of books and manuscripts (many subdivisions)
Illustrated booksAlphabet books
Illustration of booksArtists' books
Manuscript designBible
Manuscripts (many subdivisions)Block books
Manuscripts (Papyri)Books of Hours
Miniature painting, Medieval (subdivided geographically)Chained books
PapermakingDime novels
Printers (subdividied geographically)Evangelaries
Title pagesJestbooks
Transmission of textsPicture books
Rare books
Alcuin of York 735-804Rebuses
Caldecott, Randolph 1846-1886Toy and movable books
Caxton, William 1422?-1491Yellowback books
Gutenberg, Johann c.1399-1468
Manutius, Aldus 1450-1515
Newbery, John 1713-1767


Select Keyword(s) at the CONSULS Main Menu, then type the words which best describe your topic, in any order.

Example: illuminat* and (book* or manuscript* or miniature*) (press RETURN or ENTER)
Example: historiated and (border* or initial*) (press RETURN)

Use the * (asterisk) as a truncation symbol to retrieve variant forms of a word root. Use the Boolean OR to expand your search by including synonyms and related terms. When using two different Boolean commands in the same search statement ("and" and "or" in the preceding examples) you must include parentheses to indicate which command is to be performed first.


If the item you need is owned by one of the other CSU Libraries (CCSU, SCSU, or ECSU) but not by WCSU, or if the WCSU copy is checked out, you may order the item electronically via Inter-Campus Loan. Select Request at the full record display in CONSULS, then type your student ID# and your library PIN code. If you need assistance with your library PIN, please contact the librarian at the Reference Desk at (203) 837-9110.

There is a limit of ten (10) Inter-Campus Loan requests per person. Videos are available via Inter-Campus Loan. Please allow 4-5 days for delivery to the Haas Circulation Desk. Items borrowed via Inter-Campus Loan may be renewed for an additional borrowing period if no one has placed a HOLD on the item.

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Databases & Indexes for Finding Periodical Articles

Computerized Databases

Academic Search Premier in EBSCOhost
Coverage: 1990 - present (earlier for many publications)
Location: Under Articles/Databases at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes approximately 8,000 newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals in most fields, including language and literature, with 4,000 available in full-text.
Google Image Search
Location: Online at:
Scope: Keyword(s) search engine for locating images on the Internet (example: illuminated manuscript). Boolean commands and truncation may be used in search statements (example: papyrus and scroll*).
Coverage: Issue number one to within 1-3 years of present
Location: Under Articles/Databases on the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Full-text of over 400 core scholarly journals in more than 25 disciplines, including language and literature (complete backfiles).
MLA International Bibliography
Coverage: 1963 - present
Location: Under Articles/Databases at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes books, book articles, journal articles, and Ph.D. dissertations in literature, language, linguistics, and folklore. No abstracts; some linked full-text. Also available in print in the Haas reference area.
WorldCat via OCLC FirstSearch
Location: Select OCLC FirstSearch under Articles/Databases at the WCSU Libraries Homepage.
Scope: Indexes 60+ million books, manuscripts, theses, and non-print materials. If the item is not owned by WCSU, you may use Interlibrary Loan.

Printed Indexes

Humanities Index
Coverage: 1974 - present
Location: Index shelves in Haas reference area (near the atrium).
Scope: Indexes articles by author and subject from 250+ English-language scholarly journals in the humanities, including language and literature. The most recently published articles are listed in paperback supplements.
Art Index
Coverage: 1947 - present
Location: Index shelves in Haas reference area (near the atrium).
Scope: Indexes articles by author and subject from 300 journals, yearbooks, museum bulletins, and exhibition listings on art, architecture, art history, museology, etc.

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Locating Periodicals in the Haas Library

To find out if WCSU subscribes to a specific periodical:

1. Select Journal Title at the CONSULS main menu, then type the name of the periodical (example: medium aevum) and press RETURN. If a title list appears on the screen, select the desired title, then look inside the box to find WCSU holdings. Be sure to scroll down the page to see if WCSU owns backfiles on microfilm or microfiche.

2. Or, use the printed WCSU Serials List, availablein the Reference Area on the first floor, and on the third floor of the Haas Library, which lists all the newspapers, magazines, and journals owned by WCSU in alphabetical order by title. If WCSU subscribes to the periodical you need, you will find it on the third floor. Print volumes are shelved alphabetically by periodical title. Microfilm and microfiche backfiles are stored alphabetically by title in metal filing cabinets. Reader/printer machines are available on the third floor for viewing and making copies of microforms.

3. To find out if a given periodical is available in full-text in an online database, you may use the A-to-Z Journal Title Locator at or under "Resources" on the WCSU Libraries Homepage (

How to Use Interlibrary Loan

If the CSU Libraries do not own the book you need, or if WCSU does not subscribe to the periodical you need, you may request delivery of the item via Interlibrary Loan using the online ILLiad system available at:

There is a limit of 5 Interlibrary Loan requests per person per day. Videos are not available via Interlibrary Loan. Under most circumstances, Interlibrary Loan is a free service, but please allow at least ten working days for delivery. You will be notified as soon as the material arrives. Faster document delivery service is available for a reasonable fee. Please see the librarian at the Reference Desk or call the Interlibrary Loan Desk at (203) 837-9114 for more information.

Do You Have a Question?

The Reference Desk on the first floor of the Haas Library is staffed by a professional librarian who is trained to assist in your research, or you may contact Joan Reitz, Instruction Librarian, at 837-8308 or My office is located in Room 402 on the fourth floor of the Haas Library (near the glass elevator).

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Please send your comments to Joan Reitz, Haas Instruction Librarian, Western Connecticut State University.
Last updated on August 15, 2006