A complete entry consists of the following elements:

  • standardized form of the author’s name,
  • short title,
  • standardized form of publication information (place-printer-date),
  • collation (format).
In addition,
  • complete transcription of the title, except for Biblical or other quotations,
  • publication information exactly as it is found on the title page,
  • other elements of the collation (pagination and signatures of quires),
  • exact description of the printer’s mark,
  • dedication (name of the author and of the dedicatee, and the date),
  • basic indication of subject,
  • language,
  • list of all collaborators, especially in the case of authors of poems,
  • list of all copies found,
  • bibliographical references mentioning the edition.
Level of reliability
The desire to make the GLN 15-16 database immediately accessible has led us to present a collection of data that is not yet complete and which continues to be updated. In order to avoid any misunderstanding regarding the quality of information presented, every entry includes a note on the level of its reliability, an apparent innovation in the world of bibliography. The various levels are the following :
  • Complete entry
    In theory, a complete entry is written by the head of the project, with the book in hand. However, in the case of several serious bibliographies (e.g., Bettye Chambers’ bibliography of French Bibles and Antal Lökkös’ catalogue of Genevan incunabula), where entries already contain all the necessary elements, information from those entries has been reproduced here, without personal examination of any copy. In several other cases, entries were composed by part-time collaborators.

  • An almost complete entry
    Contains the essential information, especially format and signatures, and is taken from sufficiently reliable bibliographies.

  • An incomplete entry, to be checked by personal examination of a copy
    Since such an entry is taken from bibliographies or catalogues that mention specific copies, the entry is considered reliable in that it can be completed and corrected by consulting a known copy of the edition.

  • An edition with no known copy whose existence is proved by other sources
    Such an entry covers an edition whose existence is extremely plausible, notwithstanding the absence of any known copy.

  • Suspect edition : no known copy
    As the entry is taken from a bibliography that does not mention any copy, this search approach should be used with caution because of the large number of « ghosts » found in bibliographies.

  • An entry mentioning a « ghost, » i.e., a non-existent edition
    Such an entry gives a bibliographical reference proven to be erroneous. « Ghosts » are mentioned here in order to spare other researchers from having to prove their non-existence. Searches can be performed using a filter which excludes all « ghost » entries.
In addition, there are two other types of entries :
  • An edition whose description is included in another entry
    This bibliography combines into one entry all the parts forming a whole when this whole is indicated by typographical evidence (a general common title, an unbroken sequence of signatures, continuous pagination). However, it was deemed necessary to make separate mention of each of these parts having its own title. In order to locate these secondary titles, which may well have had an independent bibliographical life, the main entry, which describes the whole edition, is completed by other entries that describe the component parts. In these latter cases, the « level » rubric explains the relation of the component part to the whole. There are links between the general entry and the parts of the edition.

  • An edition not printed in the French-speaking part of Switzerland
    Some foreign printers sometimes gave Geneva or Lausanne as the place of publication on their title pages. Others copied Genevan printers’ marks. These editions, which could not be excluded, are identified by the above-mentioned statement.
This difference of treatment among entries can have a limiting effect on searches (e.g., complete transcription of the title, description of printers’ marks, etc. may be lacking from the entry).

Types of search
There are three types of search :
• Global search (default) : on the whole text of the entry.
• Basic search : using the most frequently used criteria.
• Advanced search : allows a search on each element of the entry.

Filters available
Although the default mode does not include erroneous bibliographical information taken from other sources, it is possible to show such information using the relevant filters in both basic and advanced search.

• Authenticated works / Ghosts
The filter concerns entries with references to non-existent editions (see above).

• Printed in / outside French-speaking Switzerland
This filter can bring up editions whose title page mentions Geneva, Lausanne, or Neuchâtel even though they were not published in one of those cities. The default mode limits searches to those editions actually printed in French-speaking Switzerland.

Proper names : standardized forms, excluded forms
As this database has been composed in French, names of people from antiquity or from the Middle Ages are given in their French form, as are the names of cities in which the libraries cited are located. On the other hand, 15th- and 16th-century people are called by the most widespread form of their name or by that used in their own country. It is, however, possible to search using excluded forms of a name (if these forms have been entered into the database). A search using the name Æschylos will lead to an entry titled Eschyle.

Early printed editions have their own individual ways of treating the vowels/consonants i/j and u/v. An effort has been made to standardize spelling in the description of the titles, but not all the entries have been checked. For this reason, the search software includes words in both spellings. The same goes for accented letters. For example, searching reveu or reueu gives the same results, as does a search for Genève, Geneve or Geneue.

Non-Roman alphabets
Greek and Hebrew texts are transliterated, as indicated by the use of angled brackets < >.

Search « author »
An « author » search is based on the word highlighted in a traditional bibliographical entry. When the work is not attributed to one or more authors, it may be identified by the group that produced it (e.g., Genève. Académie) or by a uniform title (e.g., Bible, Corpus Juris Civilis). A number of anonymous works are identified by the first word of their title.
It should be noted that surname and first name are presented together, so a search for Erasmus will give the works of both Desiderius Erasmus and Erasmus Alberus. As is clear from this example, it is useful to be able to exclude certain elements in a search.

The phenomenon of multiple issues is common in 15th- and 16th-century printing, and occurs in at least one-fifth of the entries. This term indicates parts of an edition that are differentiated by the name of a publisher, by the date, by the presence or absence of the name of the author or of that of the place of publication, etc. In these cases, each issue has its own entry, but this fact is pointed out immediately after the level of reliability. A special rubric is included for explanation of the characteristics of each issue.

Copies and bibliographical references
The list of known copies and bibliographical references are given in abbreviated form. The complete list is shown by clicking on the .

Display and sorting of results
The results of the search are given in list form, initially in the following order : name of author, first word of the title, date.
One can sort the results differently (ascending or descending) by clicking on the heading of the three columns : author – short title – date. The first click gives descending order, the second ascending order.
One can see the complete, detailed description by clicking on the line of the entry.

Operators for search

Global search
    With no operator specified, the word is optional, but the entries that contain it will be ranked higher.

    +The symbol + at the beginning indicates that the word must be present.

    -The symbol – at the beginning indicates that the word must not be present.

    ><These two operators are used to change the weight of a certain word. The operator > increases its contribution, and the operator < decreases it.

    ~A tilde at the beginning indicates negation, so that the word in question will contribute negative weight. This operator is useful for marking ambiguous words. An entry that contains such a word will be ranked much lower, but will not be excluded, as would be the case with -.

    *An asterisk indicates truncation. Unlike other operators, it must be used as a suffix and not as a prefix.

    " "A phrase in quotation marks is searched as such, e.g., "Jean Calvin" means that the words Jean and Calvin must be found together and in that order.

Basic and advanced searches
    With no operator specified, a search is made on the word or words in the order of the letters typed.

    Each operator must be in UPPER CASE LETTERS and preceded and followed by a space (e.g., « term1 AND term2 »).

    AND, &&All the terms must appear in the result.

    OR, ||, ??At least one of the terms must appear in the result.

    NOT, !!In order to get all the entries except those containing a certain term, one should use the formula « * NOT term ».
    And in order to exclude more than one term, the formula « * NOT term1 NOT term2 ».

    *Multiple truncation. One or more letters will be replaced.
    E.g., « Institutio* » will bring up all words beginning with this sequence of letters : Institutio, Institution, Institutione, Institutionis, Institutionum, etc.
    The operator may be placed before, within, or after the word.

    _Single truncation. No letter or just one letter will be replaced.
    E.g., « _ater » brings up the words Ater, Mater and Pater.

The operators Regexp are also available to carry out a search (complete list).