The Center for Bibliographical Studies was established in 1989 by the Chancellor as a result of recommendations from the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and review by the Planning Review Committee appointed by the Chancellor to assist in charting the future growth of the campus. Initially the Center was created to institutionalize and enhance two programs of international significance at UCR - The Eighteenth-Century Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC) and the Eaton Program in Science Fiction and Fantasy. In 1990 the Center took on responsibility for the California Newspaper Project (CNP), the State component of the United States Newspaper Project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1995 responsibility for the Eaton Program was removed from the Center’s charge. In 2000 the Center began the creation of CCILA (Catalogo Colectivo de Impresos Latinoamericanos hasta 1851), a union catalog and bibliography of Latin American imprints to 1850, which it is building in conjunction with colleagues and institutions in North America, Europe and Latin America. In 2005 it initiated the California Digital Newspaper Library with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the California State Library. In 2006 it transferred a copy of the ESTC to the British Library to mount online via its Web page to provide free access to the ESTC.
In its basic definition bibliographical studies encompasses "the systematic description and history of books, their authorship, printing, publication, [and] editions". In establishing the Center the Chancellor recognized both the growing scholarly interest in the study of the book both as a physical object and as the key agent in the growth of learning in the western world after the invention of printing. If this is the more traditional branch of study supported by the Center, the new age of the computer and the storage, retrieval and dissemination of knowledge through electronic means has added an almost limitless new dimension to that tradition. And now digital, searchable text-conversion makes the materials themselves equally accessible over the internet. As they are linked to the online bibliographies the researcher should be able to move seamlessly from the bibliographic record, once identified, to the text.
Working within these broad and challenging dimensions the Center seeks to support and encourage intra- and extramural study in its chosen areas of specialization. On the campus the Center seeks to encourage and support research and publication by faculty and students in their chosen fields. Currently the Center can provide expertise and advice through its professional staff and access to individuals and organizations nationally and internationally through its many affiliations in the world of learning. As the Center manages its programs it brings scholars in bibliographical studies and library professionals to the campus to share their research with our colleagues. We have had, for example, a Fulbright exchange librarian from France. We have trained a number of professionals from the British Library.
Within the UC system and in Southern California the Center seeks to promote and coordinate programs related to bibliography, the history of the book and related subjects. Nationally and internationally the Center through its professional staff is active both in developing national bibliographies, parallel to the English STC, in establishing standards for bibliographical records and in helping libraries to bring their collections under proper bibliographical control to serve the scholar. The Senior Bibliographer in our Early English Serials Project served on a national committee to produce a set of printed cataloging rules and regularly gave workshops in North America and Britain on cataloging early printed serials.
The Center is already an internationally recognized contributor to the field of bibliographical studies through its current programs. The English Short-Title Catalog, is a landmark, cooperative bibliographic endeavor that has become the model for creating access to the products of the hand-press in the western world. Over the years we have continued to innovate in the collection and processing of data. We currently have dozens of libraries in North America, Britain, Ireland and Germany, working directly in our file under our supervision. During 2005-7 it worked with a consortium of libraries in the Consortium of University Research Libraries in the British Isles to add on line a record of all their pre-1701 British imprints, estimated at more than 40,000 copies. The California Newspaper Project is managing a major preservation program, filming thousands of volumes of deteriorating newspapers to preserve their contents for the use of future generations. Moreover, it has worked actively to secure the major commercial newspaper film archives in the State itself, and now has custody of more than 80,000 one hundred foot reels. The Latin American Project will create a union catalog that will both provide access to scarce material scattered over four continents, while enabling the libraries themselves, strapped by limited resources and staff, to create online access to key portions of their collections.
The Center is located in Highlander Hall, adjacent to the campus. The offices of the ESTC, the CNP and CCILA (now the Latin American project) are housed together as one unit. The Center is administered by a director appointed by the Chancellor upon the recommendation of the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences after consultation with a faculty search committee. An associate director, recruited to the faculty, and two full-time assistant directors comprise the leadership. The Director is advised on the ESTC by a national advisory board and by an Anglo-American committee. For the California Newspaper Project he works in close coordination with the State Librarian and her staff, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, and librarians at the university, county and city level throughout the State. For CCILA he works with ABINIA, the Association of Directors of National Librarians in Latin America, and SALALM, Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials.
The post of the Director, the Associate Director, the Assistant Director for the ESTC and the Administrative Assistant of the Center are funded by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The ESTC and CNP are funded primarily by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional support has been provided by the Department of Education and a number of private foundations. We are in the process of creating an endowment to ensure the long-range viability of the ESTC. It currently stands in excess of $1,200,000.