Consortium of European Research Libraries


July 6, 2022

The Consortium of European Research Libraries (Consortium of European Research Libraries, also abbreviated as CERL) is an organization that associates the main European library bodies, as regards the enhancement and conservation of the cultural heritage linked to the period of bibliographic productions printed in hand (from the middle of the 15th century to the first half of the 19th century). It is designed above all to facilitate the activity of scholars and researchers in finding sources and documents on a continental level.


The Consortium was created in 1992 but took on a full legal identity in 1994. Its registered office is in London.


CERL promotes research through international working groups: Heritage of the Printed Book Database (HPB) CERL Thesaurus Material Evidence in Incunabula CERL Portal Promotion of CERL's Activities and Services Book Bindings Provenance and Standards for the description of Provenance Evidence Manuscripts Security Network

Archives and catalogs

The consortium, with the support of the main national, public and private libraries, museums, archives and other research organizations, has produced and maintains a computerized catalog of hand-printed works, distinguished by the HPB (Heritage of the Printed Book, originally Hand Press Book). In addition to this catalog, the organization takes care of the creation of a multilingual thesaurus, in which references can be found in all European languages ​​and in Latin to personalities, real or fictional, places, entities and institutions, each cataloged with a card and multimedia references. The contents of this catalog are distributed under the terms of the ODB-BY and CC-BY 2.0 licenses. The consortium also manages a portal for the search of texts, drawings and photographic material distributed on multiple databases, coordinated by the University Library of Uppsala. Among these databases, one is dedicated to the information on the provenance of the incunabula. The project is called Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI) and aims to collect, index and then make material data (or specific copy, post-production, or source data) searchable by extracting bibliographic information from the ISTC catalog of the British Library .

External links

(EN) Official site, on (EN) Incunabula Short Title Catalog, on