The 15cBOOKTRADE Project studies the European printing revolution (1450-1500), using the half a million of books which still survive today as historical sources, to understand who used them, and how.
This project was established with a long-term objective to understand how European society, transitioning from a medieval to an early modern period, reacted to the technological innovation wrought about by the invention of printing with movable type: issues of trade, the cost of books in comparison with the cost of living, literacy, the transmission of texts in print, the circulation of ideas.
The project ran during the years 2014-2019. The research continues with the collaboration of hundreds of European and American scholars and librarians, and several spin-off projects. Four databases were created and continue to grow:
Material Evidence in Incunabula: over 50,000 records pertaining to the material evidence of 15th-century printed books: ownership, decoration, binding, manuscript annotations, stamps, prices, etc.
Owners of Incunabula: over 24,000 records pertaining to former owners of incunabula, both private and institutional.
TEXT-inc: the detailed content (including multiple works and paratextual information) of over 8,000 editions printed in the 15th century
15cILLUSTRATION now merged into 1516: a database of illustration found in books printed in the 15th and 16th centuries, to track the re-use, exchange, and copying of woodcuts, to better understand the working practices of printers and to highlight otherwise undocumented links among them.