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CERL Thesaurus

Search the CERL Thesaurus

The CERL Thesaurus File is a unique facility developed to address the particularly European issue that place name and personal names in Europe varied from country to country in the period of hand press printing (1450 - c. 1830). As such, it is an essential research tool for scholars and researchers of the period.

The CERL Thesaurus file contains forms of imprint places, imprint names, personal names and corporate names as found in material printed before the middle of the nineteenth century - including variant spellings, forms in Latin and other languages, and fictitious names.

Authority files contributed by CERL member libraries and other libraries/projects concentrating on the history of the book are brought together and made searchable in one single system (click here for a full list of files integrated into the CERL Thesaurus). The CERL Thesaurus merges standard and authority forms of names that are used in present day library catalogues without imposing CERL’s own authoritative form of name. Instead, standard and variant forms are listed alphabetically with a clear indication of the institutions that use a particular standard form.


  • Printing Place with variant name forms in Latin and other languages, including ficticious name forms. Most place names have georeferences.
  • Names of persons and corporate entities involved in the physical production of books, names appearing in imprints (printers, booksellers etc.) with variant names and biographical information.
  • Extensive linking to digital images of printers' devices.
  • Names of persons or corporate entities involved in the intellectual production of books (authors, translators etc.) with variant name forms and pseudonyms.
  • Linking of related persons, corporate bodies and places (e.g. family relationships, co-workers, successors or predecessors, places of activity).
  • Names of former book owners, personal and corporate, with links to catalogues of the libraries where their books are held today.
  • Facility for users to annotate records, thus sharing information throughout the academic community.
  • Freely accessible web interface http://thesaurus.cerl.org.
  • SRU interface that facilitates the integration of the CERL Thesaurus with your own applications learn more...


The CERL Thesaurus data is available under the terms of Etalab's Open Licence, which can be considered equivalent to ODC-BY and CC-BY 2.0. Please see here for the full legal text of the licence in French or English

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 resources/cerl_thesaurus/main.txt · Last modified: 2018/06/20 15:38 by lefferts



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