A new CREATe project will help advance the study of historical copyright by making the Stationers’ Register fully searchable, in a freely accessible online database.
The Register is an unequalled resource for literary scholars, book historians and all those interested in the early history of copyright. The origins of Anglo-American copyright begin in the mid sixteenth-century with the commencement of a series of ledgers kept by the Stationers’ Company of London, that are now collectively known as the Stationers’ Register.
In these ledgers, early publishers including those of William Shakespeare, John Milton, Thomas Hobbes and thousands of other authors, musicians and artists sought protection from their works being copied and printed. Edward Arber’s printed edition of the earliest entries, published in the 1890s, has remained the standard way of accessing the Register: although invaluable, it does not permit complex searching or quantitative analysis.The project is led by Professor Ian Gadd (Bath Spa University), Dr Giles Bergel (University of Oxford), and supported by CREATe staff (Professor Martin Kretschmer, Jesus Rodriguez Perez, Pete Bennett). With the support of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper-Makers and building on a pilot project supported by the University of Oxford JPR Lyell Fund, the project is funded by CREATe and the Bibliographical Society.
The database of the earliest copyright entries within the Entry Books of the Stationers’ Company will be launched in 2017.
(Image: The Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers has graciously contributed the above image from their collections to CREATe under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International license. For any further use, visitors should contact the Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers at email@example.com).