This is a specialist collection, aimed at research in the field of manuscripts, illuminated manuscripts, old, rare and precious books.
The collection provides access to a range of documents on:
- the history of writing
- the history of the book by era and country (printing, trade and distribution)
- aesthetics of the book (artists’ books and illustrations)
- technical aspects of books
It also houses works on the historical anthropology of reading and the cultural history of books (uses and annotations).
You will also find catalogues of incanabula and modern books (16th and 17th centuries) for your research on old books.
The Bibliothéconomie collection is also available to support your research on the history of libraries.
We also have our own collection of old and precious books.
All printed journals on the history of the book are available in the open shelves. They are classified by shelf mark.
Among the journals on offer are:
Over 800 catalogues are accessible directly from the open shelves on the Unithèque site as a reference and working tool. They are classified by country.
You can also use a range of online tools (non-exhaustive list):
- e-codices, virtual library of manuscripts in Switzerland
- Catalogue collectif de France, Manuscripts and archives
- Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Archives and manuscripts
- Medium, the database of manuscripts processed by the Institut de Recherche en Histoire des Textes (CNRS)
- Bibliothèque virtuelle des manuscrits médiévaux, a digital library of French manuscripts.
- British Library, Archives and Manuscripts
There are a number of relevant tools we can recommend:
On the history of the book
- e-rara.ch, the portal for digitised printed materials in Swiss libraries from the 15th to the 20th centuries
- Plume, a selection of documents from the 15th to the 18th centuries, digitised and stored in the library at EPFL
- BP16, the database of Parisian publications from the 16th century
On the history of paper
- Bernstein: the Memory of Paper: an academic portal on the history of paper and an inventory of watermarks
On the history of typography
- Bibliothèques virtuelles humanistes: a digital library and portal for resources on the book in the Renaissance and the 17th century
- Esprit des livres: an inventory of catalogues of book sales under the French Ancien Régime
- Fleuron: a tool for recognising typographical ornaments developed by BCUL
- Maguelonne: a database of typographical ornaments for identifying clandestine printing
- Marques d’impressors: a database of typographical ornaments from Spanish printers
- BEL16: a database project on printing in Lyon in the 16th century
On old bindings
- The databases of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (Paris) and the British Library
On the history of reading