Bibliographical Research Project Receives $250,000 Grant

Institute for Museum and Library Sciences funds expansion of catalog of Latin American publications printed between 1500 and 1851

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Grant will fund expansion of database of early Latin American publications.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research (CBSR) at the University of California, Riverside has received a $250,000 grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to support the center’s Un Catálogo Colectivo de Impresos Latinoamericanos hasta 1851 (CCILA).

CCILA is a union catalog (which describes the collections of many libraries) and bibliography of Latin American publications printed from about 1500 to 1851. It is composed of roughly 50,000 records in Spanish, Portuguese and original native languages, and is freely accessible at

The two-year grant funds the second phase of the project, which will at least double the size of the database. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums, according to the organization’s website.

“IMLS’s support will profoundly transform research based on early Latin American printing, and will go a long way to providing the unified catalog that scholars and librarians have sought for decades,” said Brian Geiger, CBSR director.

Latin America remains one of the few geographic regions without a comprehensive bibliography for the “hand-press era,” the centuries before machine printing. For England and the English-speaking world, the monumental English Short Title Catalog (ESTC) is a record of every known publication printed in English in the British Isles and North America from the birth of the printing press in 1473 to 1801.  Started in 1976 as a cooperative effort between the British Library and the CBSR in North America, the ESTC now contains close to 500,000 records and continues to grow and evolve.

The Heritage of the Printed Book database (HPB) covers items of printing in continental Europe before 1830 and is the primary resource for librarians and researchers interested in the European hand-press period.

“There is nothing comparable to the English Short Title Catalog and Heritage of the Printed Book database for Latin America and the former colonies of Spain and Portugal,” Geiger explained. “By dramatically expanding the size of the CCILA and creating an unprecedentedly sizeable collection of well-curated records, Phase 2 will remedy the dire position of early Latin American printed bibliography, opening up broad new avenues of scholarly inquiry and transforming the conduct of research in Latin American history, literature and society.”

More long term, expanding the database will lay the foundation for new approaches to and projects based around early Latin American bibliography, Geiger said.

“The time couldn’t be better for a resource like CCILA,” he added. “Scholarship on Latin America has grown steadily over the last 40 years and, more generally, North American interest in the culture, history and art of the one-time Spanish and Portuguese sphere has increased dramatically in recent decades.”

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