Integral to the study of national bibliography is not only what was published in a country, but how it was published. As bibliographers have compiled lists of books, periodicals, newspapers, and other printed materials, they have also compiled cultural histories – snapshots of a country’s publishing for that period of time, or for that subject, or by that press, and so on. Wytze and Lottie Hellinga, in their book Copy and Print in the Netherlands, state that:
“whoever sets out to write the cultural history of the book, therefore, will have to bear in mind three aspects of the question: the significance of books in a culture, the place of the book-trade in the social order, and the outward appearance of the book in relation to other, related cultural forms” (3).
Bibliographies often address these histories both implicitly and explicitly in their titles; in addition to date ranges, their lists may be organized by genre/subject or by form (incunabula, emblem, etc.), and many provide historical and trade contexts in introductions, indices, and other supplementary materials. The goal of a guide like this one is to isolate the significance of a particular source and summarize it, so that the researcher can easily access the information that will be most helpful for them. This guide in itself will address Hellinga’s three aspects; this introduction will provide an overview of the history of print publishing in the Netherlands. The guide is also a combination of many related cultural forms, and it is helpful to understand how the print and digital resources are related before exploring them.
For more information about the history of printing in the Netherlands and current trends in open access, read this overview.
This guide is designed for doctoral students, faculty, and independent researchers.
This guide was compiled by: