Websites We Recommend

General Reference

  • OCLC Online Bibliographical Database
    OCLC is a nonprofit membership organization serving about 41,000 libraries in 82 countries and territories around the world. Most OCLC services—including FirstSearch reference service—are available to subscribers only.
  • Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL)
    CERL’s primary objective is to record all books printed in Europe during the hand-press period, i.e. before c.1830, in a machine-readable catalogue, called the Hand Press Book Database. Two other significant initiatives are the development of the CERL Thesaurus and the CERL Portal. The CERL Thesaurus was developed to address the problem that place name and personal names in Europe varied from country to country in the period of hand press printing. The CERL Thesaurus 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.
  • The European Library
    “A portal which offers access to the combined resources (books, magazines, journals.…—both digital and non-digital) of the 45 national libraries of Europe. It offers free searching and delivers digital objects—some free, some priced.”
  • Karlsruher Virtueller Katalog KVK
    A metasearch engine for querying the holdings of the major national libraries of the world, academic libraries in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, and various new book sites in single, comprehensive queries.
  • Directory of Web Resources for the Rare Materials Cataloguer
    Prepared by the Bibliographic Standards Committee of the Rare Book and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College Research Libraries, the links concern the following topics:
    • General Cataloguing Sites
    • Rare Book Cataloguing Sites and Resources
    • Library of Congress Lists
    • Reference Sites—General—Language Resources—Biography Sites—Place Names—Calendars and Computus
    • Special Collections Sites
    • History of Books and Printing
    • Special Topics for Rare Books
    • Images of Rare Books
    • Catalogues which are Particularly Useful for Special Collections
    • Medieval Manuscripts
  • Echo: Exploring and Collecting History Online
    Maintained by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, this site contains over 5000 links to online resources on the history of science, technology, and medicine.
  • The English Short Title Catalogue
    The English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) lists over 460,000 items published between 1473 and 1800, mainly, but not exclusively, in English, published mainly in the British Isles and North America, from the collections of the British Library and over 2,000 other libraries.
  • Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    A chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world, as illustrated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. The Metropolitan Museum's curatorial, conservation, and education staff research and write the Timeline, which is an invaluable reference and research tool for students, educators, scholars, and anyone interested in the study of art history and related subjects
  • The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue
    The Incunabula Short-Title Catalogue (ISTC) developed at the British Library is the most comprehensive international bibliographical database of fifteenth-century printing. In January 2008 it contained detailed records of 29,777 editions printed from moveable type before 1501.
  • Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web
    This site features links to online exhibitions that have been created by libraries, archives, and historical societies, as well as to museum online exhibitions with a significant focus on library and archival materials. The scope is international and multi-lingual.The online exhibitions in this guide are keyword-searchable by title, subject, and the name of the sponsoring institution.
    A portal for medieval German and Latin studies with well-organized, summarized and rated links to sites concerning German and Latin literature and culture of the middle ages, later middle ages and humanism.
  • ODLIS-Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science
    Compiled by Joan M. Reitz, this Includes definitions of many terms used in book-collecting, booksellling, and descriptive bibliography.
  • PADI: Preserving Access to Digital Information
    The PADI site, maintained by the National Library of Australia, is a subject gateway to digital preservation resources.
  • Pecia: Le manuscrit medieval-The medieval manuscript.
    A very comprehensive blog devoted to medieval manuscripts up to and including their relationships with early printing, compiled by Jean-Luc Deuffic.
  • Piccard Collection of Watermarks
    The world’s largest reference collection of watermarks, containing 92,000 records from the late Middle Ages to the present, preserved at the Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart. This online research source is invaluable for research not only in the history of papermaking, but for dating undated documents and prints, for determining states of prints, and for determining the authenticity of documents.
  • Web Resources for American Art
    A database focusing on web resources relating to American art before 1945 created by Jeffrey Weidman and made available by the Association of Historians of American Art.
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Science & Technology

  • American Institute of Physics
    A mission to preserve and make known the history of modern physics and allied fields including astronomy, geophysics, optics, and the like.
  • Atlantic Cable
    History of the Atlantic Cable and submarine telegraphy from the first submarine cable, laid in 1850, to the present day fiber optic connections circling the world.
  • Archimedes: The Palimpsest
    This tenth century manuscript is the unique source for two treatises by Archimedes: The Method and Stomachion, and it is the unique source for the Greek text of On Floating Bodies. Discovered in 1906 by J.L. Heiberg, it played a prominent role in his 1910-15 edition of the works of Archimedes, upon which all subsequent work on Archimedes has been based. The manuscript was in private hands throughout much of the twentieth century, and was sold at auction to a private collector on 29th October 1998. The owner deposited the manuscript at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Since then the manuscript has been the subject of conservation, imaging and scholarship widely followed throughout the world. On November 27, 2006 The New York Times reported that the manuscript also contains ten pages of previously unknown speeches by Hyperides, “one of the foundational figures of Greek democracy,” “illuminating some fascinating, time-shrouded insights into Athenian law and social history.”
  • Charles Babbage Institute
    The Charles Babbage Institute is an historical archives and research center of the University of Minnesota, dedicated to promoting study of the history of information technology and information processing and their impact on society.
  • Cheminfo—Indiana University Chemical Information Sources
    Collection of links relating to chemical history, biography, directories, and industry sources.
  • Computer History Museum
    Located in Mountain View, California, this is world’s largest and most significant history museum for preserving and presenting the computing revolution and its impact on the human experience.
  • Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science
    Research center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem established by a chemist, historian, distinguished collector, and philanthropist, whom I was proud to know.
  • Heralds of Science
  • Bern Dibner's classic list of "high spots" in science, medicine, and technology first published in 1955 and revised in 1980.
  • IBM Archives
    A vast resource of images, text, and multi-media concerning the development of IBM, and the worldwide development of the computer industry from the IBM perspective.
  • IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing
    Honors signficant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE.
  • Johannes Kepler and the New Astronomy
    The George Darwin Lecture for 1971, by Owen Gingerich.
  • LOCOMAT. The Loria Collection of Mathematical Tables.
    Specialized site by Denis Roegel, making available for download a number of historical trigonometric and astronomical tables, including one for the qibla.  Authors include Georg Joachim Rheticus, John Napier, Henry Briggs, Jost Bürgi, Edmund Gunter, Charles Babbage, Edward Sang, al-Khalili, and others. 
  • Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology
    Includes printed books from the fifteenth century to the present. Additional materials to support historical research are available in the library’s general collections of over one million volumes.
  • MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive
    Biographies of mathematicians and articles on the history of mathematics, famous curves, etc., maintained by the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
  • Michael of Rhodes. A Medieval Mariner and his Manuscript
    An outstanding website devoted to a unique manuscript written in 1434 by a Venetian galley commander describing his knowledge of mathematics, ships and shipbuilding, navigation, and time reckoning. It includes some of the earliest surviving portolan aids to navigation and the world’s first known treatise on shipbuilding. The manuscript and its historical interpretation are presented using web technology to full advantage.
  • Museo Galileo
    The Museo Galileo in Florence, formerly known as l'Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, with its elaborate and beautifully designed website available both in Italian and English versions, is one of the most significant research sites for the history of science and technology. Its website, redesigned in 2010, along with the redesigned and renamed museum, includes truly remarkable virtual tours, including narrated videos, of the 17 museum display rooms, and full descriptions and detailed color images of roughly 1000 historic instruments from the 16th through 19th centuries. As of October 2010 you could download the full-color PDF catalogue of all the splendid instruments displayed in the museum from the VirtualMuseum section of the website. Most conveniently situated in a palazzo next to the Uffizi Gallery, the Museo Galileo is definitely worth an actual visit as well as an online visit.
  • NASA Marshall Space Flight Center History Office
    From the early years of Dr. Wernher Von Braun, from the Redstone Rocket to Saturn V, and twenty years of Space Shuttle development.
  • NASA History Division
    Online and printed publications, timelines, and links to numerous other comprehensive historical sites on aeronautics, space flight, and related topics, supported by NASA.
  • Natural History Museum, London
    More than 300 years of scientific collecting and study.
  • Nobel Foundation
    The Nobel E-Museum, official web site of the Nobel Foundation.
  • Panopticon Lavoisier
    A virtual museum of the collections of the French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743-1794) scattered throughout the world. Includes a detailed chronology of Lavoisier’s life and works, the digital edition of Lavoisier’s collected works, and bibliography.
  • Smithsonian History of Science and Technology
    Reflecting the vast diversity of Smithsonian coverage of the history of science, medicine and technology.
  • Victorian Science: An Overview
    Documents the major social and cultural changes in the 19th century that led to the development of the modern sciences.
  • Wolfram Research Mathworld
    Created by Eric Weisstein, this is a comprehensive and interactive mathematics encyclopedia.
  • Eric Weisstein’s World of Science
    Encyclopedias of astronomy, scientific biography, chemistry, and physics.
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    A guide to Internet resources concerning the history of drugs and medicines, including the history of drug discovery, by Walter Sneader.
  • History of the Health Sciences Web Links
    Sponsored by the History of Health Sciences section of the Medical Library Association
  • Hunterian Library, University of Glasgow
    The Hunterian Library contains some 10,000 printed books and 650 manuscripts and forms one of the finest 18th-century libraries to survive intact. It was assembled by Dr William Hunter (1718-83), anatomist, teacher of medicine, Physician Extraordinary to Queen Charlotte, and collector of coins, medals, paintings, shells, minerals, and anatomical and natural history specimens, as well as of books and manuscripts. Under the terms of Hunter’s will, his library and other collections remained in London for several years after his death—for the use of his nephew, Dr Matthew Baillie (1761-1823)—and finally came to the University in 1807.
  • Medical Heritage Library
    A digital curation collaborative of the National Library of Medicine, The Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, The Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale University, The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library at Columbia University, and the New York Public Library.
  • Morbid Anatomy
    The blog of graphic designer, photographer, and self-styled dilettante, Joanna Ebenstein, which contains a growing and fascinating collection of images, comments, and links "Surveying the Interstices of Art and Medicine, Death and Culture."
  • Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons
    The collection formed by John Hunter, added to by a succession of conservators including William Clift, Richard Owen, William Flower and Arthur Keith.
  • National Library of Medicine
    The online resources of the world’s largest biomedical library. Every significant program of the Library is represented, from medical history to biotechnology. The National Library of Medicine maintains a very useful Directory of History of Medicine Collections which provides links to all significant institutional history of medicine collections around the world.
  • National Museum of Civil War Medicine
    The center for the study and interpretation of the medical history of the War Between the States.
  • Once and Future Web from the National Library of Medicine
    A group of links to health information sites and sites relating to the development of telegraphy, data networks and the Internet.
  • Osler Library of the History of Medicine
    Incorporating the legendary Bibliotheca Osleriana collected by Sir William Osler, this is a mecca for all collectors of rare books in the history of medicine. Of special interest to collectors are the more than one hundred issues of the Osler Library Newsletter which include invaluable articles about Osler, his legacy, and his library. Issues published since 1992 are available online.
  • Phisick
    Elegantly presented showcase of the wide-ranging medical and dental antique collection of Dr. Laurie Slater, with an invaluable collection of exceptionally detailed and beautiful images.
  • Psychoanalysis. Brief (2:26) audio clip of Sigmund Freud Summarizing his Scientific Achievements in English in his own voice for the BBC (1938).
  • UCLA Biomedical Library
    The History & Special Collections Division of the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library at UCLA contains close to 30,000 rare books, published between the 15th and early 20th centuries, in two broad subject areas: medicine and life sciences.
  • Historical Collections Exhibits, University of Virginia Health Sciences Library
    Some of the most remarkable online publications and exhibitions on the history of medicine.
  • Waller Library: Parnassus Scientiarum
    Digital catalogue of the Bibliotheca Walleriana, collected by Erik Waller preserved in Uppsala University Library, Sweden. The largest library ever formed on the history of medicine and science by a private individual, it consists of approximately 110,000 books, manuscripts and artifacts.
  • Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine
    The University of Minnesota's famous library of rare books, manuscripts, prints and artifacts.
  • Wellcome Library
    One of the world's greatest collections of books, manuscripts, pictures and films concerning the meaning and history of medicine, from the earliest times to the present day.
  • Wellcome Collection. A Free Destination for the Incurably Curious, "for explorers of the human condition."
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Book and Manuscript Collecting

  • Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America
    Since 1949, the ABAA has been promoting ethical standards and professionalism in the antiquarian book trade in America. We have been members for more than thirty years.
  • Atlas of Early Printing
    An interactive site published by the University of Iowa Libraries that uses Flash to depict the spread of printing in Europe from 1455 to 1500 in a manner that allows a user to control dates and other variables.
  • Antiques Trade Gazette
    Includes some of the best reporting on rare book auctions and events.
  • Bibliography on the Web
    An invaluable collection of links on the widest variety of topics relevant to book collecting, bibliography, and book history compiled by Pasco and Jean Gasbarro for The Bibliographical Society of America.
  • The Book Arts Web
    A beautifully designed and comprehensive site on many aspects of the “book arts,” including hand binding, designer binding, book objects, and calligraphy.
  • Book History Online
    A database in English on the history of the printed book and libraries. It contains titles of books and articles on the history of the printed book worldwide. It is designed, managed, maintained and published by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands, in co-operation with national committees in countries all over the world.
  • Book Information Website
    Devoted to all aspects of books, book arts, book history.
  • Digital Librarian
    A librarian’s choice for the best of the web.
  • Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies
    The Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies is an organization whose goal is to keep member clubs informed of news, events, publications, and activities that take place during the year.
  • The Green Dragon Bindery
    Outstanding antiquarian bookbinders and restorers, whose services we have used for thirty years.
  • The Grolier Club
    Founded in 1884, the Grolier Club of New York is America’s oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts. Named for Jean Grolier, the Renaissance collector renowned for sharing his library with friends, the Club’s objective is to foster "the literary study and promotion of the arts pertaining to the production of books."
  • J. Hewit and Sons
    A large collection of bookbinding-related links provided by J. Hewit and Sons, a company with a 200 year history of manufacturing the finest quality leathers for bookbinding and leathergoods production.
  • The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
    The Huntington Library is one of the largest and most complete research libraries in the United States in its fields of specialization. Collections include rare books and manuscripts principally in the areas of British and American history and literature, 15th century European books, history of science, maritime history, and Renaissance exploration and cartography. In 2006 The Burndy Library founded by Bern Dibner, containing more than 50,000 volumes in the history of science and technology became part of The Huntington Library.
  • International League of Antiquarian Booksellers
    The International League of Antiquarian Booksellers federates 20 National Associations of Antiquarian Booksellers. It speaks for 20 national associations, 30 countries, and 2000 leading booksellers throughout the world. The League publishes and upholds a code of ethics based on the wide experience of all its national associations. Its emblem stands for integrity and professionalism in the rare book trade.We have been members for more than thirty years. From the ILAB website you can download a PDF of the eighth edition (2004) of the extremely useful standard, witty guide to the technical terminology of book-collecting and bibliography by John Carter and Nicolas Barker. It is called ABC for Book Collectors.
  • Library of Congress: Preservation
    Historical background and most up to date information on best practices in conservation and preservation.
  • Morgan Library and Museum
    The Morgan Library and Museum is an independent research library and museum with extensive holdings of manuscripts, drawings, and rare books, including one of the preeminent collections of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts
  • Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits
  • Siutated in the Saint Germain section of Paris, this is the first museum in France and Europe devoted to original letters and manuscripts in all fields of endeavor. In certain instances actors in period costume perform readings from the original manuscripts.
  • NYPL Digital Gallery
    Gateway to the New York Public Library’s incomparable digital collections.
  • Rare Book Room
    Finely produced digital editions of about 400 classic books on diverse subjects originally published on CD by Octavo, and now available for free download.
  • Rare Book School
    Based at the University of Virginia, this is the world's leading educational institute supporting the study of the history of books and printing and related subjects.
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Cultural Adventures

  • Abacus
    On the ancient art of calculating with beads.
  • Curious Expeditions
    “Travelling and Exhuming the Extraordinary Past,” with great style and exquisite images.
  • Hubble Telescope
    NASA’s orbiting Hubble Space Telescope sees the raw beauty of the universe from above Earth’s atmosphere and sends back a portrait of the universe in exquisite detail.
  • Powers of 10
    Illustrating the concept of scale and exponential growth or the effect of “adding another zero.” The Powers of Ten represents a way of thinking—of seeing the interrelatedness of all things in our universe.
  • James Randi Educational Foundation
    A non-profit organization founded in 1996 by “The Amazing Randi,” one of the world’s most famous skeptics and debunkers. Its aim is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas widespread in society.
  • Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
    With background notes for each song, and links to the player.
  • Ruined Endings
    An unequalled collection of movie spoilers, plot summaries, and movie trivia for those who can’t learn too much about their favorite films.
  •—Rumor Has It.
    Searchable archive of all your favorite urban folklore.
  • Uncyclopedia
    A wiki spoof of the Wikipedia.
  • Wikileaks
    An uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis. “Our primary interests are in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we expect to be of assistance to peoples of all countries who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact. …Wikileaks incorporates advanced cryptographic technologies to ensure anonymity and untraceability. Those who provide leaked information may face severe risks, whether of political repercussions, legal sanctions or physical violence. Accordingly, sophisticated cryptographic and postal techniques are used to minimize the risks that anonymous sources face.”
  • (This page was last updated on May 6, 2013.)

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