Information about the Census

Participating libraries

Foreign libraries with digital copies

Formalties for joining the initiative

Information about data base

Publishers' devices
Digital copies
Instructions for the search




The Census, being carried out by the Area di attività per la bibliografia, la catalogazione e il censimento del libro antico of the ICCU, is a growing collection of the editions printed in Italy and the editions printed in the Italian language abroad between 1501 and 1600. Counterfeits of Italian 16th century editions printed in subsequent centuries are also included.

The Census of these editions which is being carried out in alphabetical order, is in progress. At present the data base contains more than 69,100 records, of which about half is accompanied by images of the title page, the colophon, or other pages.

EDIT 16 is not a mere collection of data provided by the participating libraries. Each item is checked by the staff in charge of the Census that carries out the controls that are necessary to identify editions (and related authors, printers, etc.).

The records contained in the data base may be found in different processing stages within the Census project and hence are characterized by the following level indicators that indicate the bibliographic status of the records:

massimo (high):

records checked by the Census staff and located in the Country

medio (average):

partially checked records however located in the Country

minimo (low):

records from different sources (library cards, indexes, printed catalogues, etc.) that have not been checked, without or with partial locations

The bibliographic status does not refer to the completeness of the description but to the controls carried out by the Census staff and to the number of locations. Therefore short-title records without any link with the printers' devices may be found at the highest level and vice versa records containing full description may be found at the lowest level.

Imperfect copies are marked with an asterisk following the location.

Bibliographic Description

EDIT 16 has been designed as a census of editions. However, given the presence of variants that in any case are of great publishing interest such as the issues, the description of an edition is articulated into different records.

Though based on the 1984 version of the ISBD(A), the cataloguing system adopted at the beginning of the Census (Manuale per la compilazione della scheda, 1987), consisted in a short description (considerably abridged title, no indication of the author, etc.). Since 1996 however cataloguing follows the rules set forth in the Guida alla catalogazione in SBN. Libro antico, with the previous descriptions being gradually redone to comply with the new system. This is the reason for the lack of uniformity of the records present in the data base. The rules of the SBN Guide are based on the ISBD(A) from which they differ mainly for two aspects: 1) absence of prescribed punctuation in the title area and in the edition area; 2) different logic underlying the presentation of the data in the publication area, where the division into semiareas does not identify distinct functions for the publisher and printer, but reflects the actual position of the information in the publication; the first semiarea contains the elements taken from the title-page, the second includes the items taken from the colophon (always in brackets, even in the absence of data on the title-page).

EDIT 16 has not adopted the multilevel cataloguing envisaged by the rules of the SBN Guide.


The data base contains more than 25,700 records of authors of which About half are accepted forms and about half variant forms of author names. The authors are provided with information about authors containing short biographic data, bibliographic references, the name forms found in bibliographic sources and those present in 16th century editions.

The records of the authors may be found in different processing stages within the Census project and hence are characterized by the following level indicators:

massimo (high):

records checked;

medio (average):

partially checked records;

minimo (low):

unchecked records.

For the name forms the Regole italiane di catalogazione per autori (RICA) are followed. For the information about authors the indications set forth in the GARR are followed.


The data base contains more than 5,780 records of publishers, printers, booksellers, etc., of which more than 3,100 in variant forms and more then 2,680 to accepted forms. The records contain information about publishers and include short biographic data, information concerning place and date of the activity, addresses and/or signs and the devices used. Bibliographic references are also included, as well as the name forms found in bibliographic sources and those present in the 16th century editions.

The records of the publishers may be found in different processing stages within the Census project and hence are characterized by the following level indicators:

massimo (high):

records checked;

medio (average):

partially checked records;

minimo (low):

unchecked records.

The publisher name may consist of:

- only one name (e.g. 1: Carlino, Giovanni Giacomo; 2: Antoni, Antonio degli)

- two or more names (e.g. Guerra, Domenico & Guerra, Giovanni Battista)

- the name of the company (e.g. Società tipografica bolognese)

- the sign or address of the company (e.g. 1: Al segno della Speranza; 2: Sotto il Corridore di Sua Altezza)

 Publishers' devices

At the present time the data base contains the description of 2,600 printers’/publishers’ devices. The information concerning the devices contain the description of the main figurative elements, the names of the publishers who used that device, the dates when they were used (both general dates and dates relative to individual publishers) and any mottoes that may be present.

Each device is characterized by one or more standard citations which identify it unambigously. The standard citation identifies the figure of the device within pre-established bibliographic sources and consists of an alphabetic character identifying the repertory, and of numerical characters identifying the device within the repertory (number of the figure). E.g. Z534 (Z=Zappella 534=number of the device in the repertory).A device may have several standard citations because it may be present in one or more of the following sources:


F. Ascarelli, La tipografia cinquecentina italiana. Firenze, Sansoni Antiquariato, 1953.


F. Ascarelli - M. Menato, La tipografia del '500 in Italia. Firenze, L.S. Olschki, 1989.


F. Ascarelli - E. Vaccaro, Marche poco note di tipografi editori italiani del sec. XVI dalla raccolta della biblioteca universitaria Alessandrina in "Miscellanea di studi in memoria di Anna Saitta Revignas". Firenze, L.S. Olschki, 1978, p. 29-52.


P. Kristeller, Die italienischen Buchdrucker- und Verlegerzeichen bis 1525. Strassburg, J.H. Ed. Heitz, 1893 (ripr. facs.: Naarden, A.W.Van Bekhoven, 1969).


E. Vaccaro, Le marche dei tipografi ed editori del secolo XVI nella Biblioteca Angelica. Firenze, L.S. Olschki, 1983.


G. Zappella, Le marche dei tipografi e degli editori italiani del Cinquecento. Milano, Editrice Bibliografica, 1986.

Note: In the data base there are also 1,203 rinter's devices with standard citations beginning with the letter U. These are devices (not reported in the mentioned list) that are collected and described by the Census staff.



The database contains more than 3,150 records of bibliographic sources used as references for titles and authority entries. Records contain also subjects, the class they belong to and the identifying abbreviation. For some classes (library catalogues, exhibitions etc) the record contains also the library code.


The data base contains the description af more than 1,440 dedications, mainly relating to the following library collections.


Pietro Aretino – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Ludovico Ariosto – Biblioteca Ariostea di Ferrara - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Ludovico Dolce – Biblioteca Corsiniana di Roma - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Anton Francesco Doni - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Francesco Guicciardini - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Francesco Machiavelli - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Paolo Giovio - Biblioteca Corsiniana di Roma - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Iacopo Sannazzaro – Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Girolamo Savonarola – Biblioteca Ariostea di Ferrara - Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze


Bernardo/Torquato Tasso – Biblioteca A. Mai di Bergamo


Tipografi napoletani – Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli


Tipografi romani – Biblioteca Angelica di Roma


Letterate italiane – Biblioteca Angelica di Roma

Besides the specific descriptive elements (Dedicator, Dedicatee, Incipit etc.), the dedication records contain a short description of the edition in which they are held. Among these, there are the dedicatory letters, the textual dedications and also those finding only on the title page. All of them can be recognized through the indication of typology. Through the dedication record it is possible to enter the edition, the other dedications held in the edition and the authority files relating to Dedicators and Dedicatees. All dedications are completely digitalized.


The database contains more than 69,000 images, of which more than 66,000 are related to bibliographic records, more than 4,600 dedications and in 2,817 the Publishers' devices


Digital copies

The data base contains more than 12,800 links to digitalized copies relating to the following digital collections:




Alma@DL-AMS Historica- Università di Bologna


The Archimedes Project


ARCHITECTVRA - Le livres d’architecture

La Bibbia nel '500: edizioni interpretazioni censure- Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento

Biblioteca Digitale - Biblioteca Augusta

Biblioteca digitale delle donne - Biblioteca italiana delle donne di Bologna

Biblioteca Digitale - Museo Galileo

Bibliotheca Hertziana - Biblioteca Hertziana

Bibliotheca Senatus Mediolanensis - Università degli studi di Milano. Sezione di Storia del diritto medievale e moderno

BHV - Les Bibliothèques Virtuelles Humanistes - Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance - Tours

DADUN - Depósito Académico Digital Universidad de Navarra


DDB- Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek


ECHO - European Culturale Heritage Online


EEB - Early European Books


Editti e bandi relativi all'Inquisizione - Biblioteca Casanatense


fedDOA (Federico II Open Archivi) - Università degli Studi di Napoli


Fondi antichi - Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia

i Gadaldini - Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia

Gallica, bibliothèque numérique

Gaspari on line - Museo internazionale e biblioteca della musica di Bologna



Imago Historiae


MDZ Münchener DigitalisierungsZentrum


MPIWG Library Collection

OPAL libri antichi - Università degli studi di Torino. Facoltà di lettere e filosofia


Pro civitatate museum - Biblioteca Pro civitatae christiana di Assisi

Raccolta Drammatica - Biblioteca nazionale Braidense


Renaissance Festival Books

Scaffali on line-Archiweb - Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio


Stabat - Biblioteca Comunale di Trento - Università degli Studi di TrentoEmilia


Statuti - Biblioteca del Senato della Repubblica


Superba antiqua - Biblioteca universitaria di Genova


Nota: The asterisk indicates that EDIT16 has not yet created all links to the digital copies of the collection.

In Location the link follows the name of the owner Library. In the syntetic list of titles and in the full records, the icon indicates the presence of digitalized copies. In the Title search it is possible to search the editions with access to digitalized copies (this element can be used alone or arranged with the other elements).



Last update: 19/01/2021