A much overlooked part of Britain's national heritage is the wealth of printed material produced in the first three hundred years after the invention of the printing press. As well as charting key moments in the development of English literature, this material offers contemporary accounts of major historical events, such as the Civil War, the Union of the Crowns, the discovery of the Americas and advances in science and medicine. Launched as a pilot in January 2003, with its second phase running from March 2005 until August 2007, the Britain in Print project, for the first time, provides free access for all - from the home, school, library, or workplace - to information about the rich collections of early British books that are held in some of the nation's most important libraries.
Over the life of the project, over 38,000 new catalogue records were created for the collections of pre-1700 British printed books held in the partner libraries and these have been made available online, through each library's online catalogue, Copac and ESTC. In addition, three online learning resources, which draw on this wealth of material, were created and are available free of charge via the Learning Zone section of this website. These are - "The Testament of Cresseid," by Robert Henryson, "Shakespeare Online - Themes in Tragedy," and "Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Crown," which focusses on Mary Queen of Scots and James VI (I).
The project, which was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund was a collaborative venture led by Edinburgh University Library, on behalf of CURL, the Consortium of Research Libraries in the British Isles, and involving nine member libraries of the consortium, along with eight other important libraries, including: the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, the Library of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Belfast Central Library, Birmingham Central Library and Leeds Central Library.
If you wish to obtain publicity materials for Britain in Print, we have a supply of promotional leaflets, Britain in Print pencils and mousemats, which are available free of charge from CURL, by sending an email request to email@example.com