North American Imprints Program

The North American Imprints Program (NAIP) has as its long-term goal the creation of a highly detailed and sophisticated machine-readable catalog of all books, pamphlets, and broadsides printed through the year 1876 in what are now the United States and Canada. The NAIP catalog is not limited to items held by the American Antiquarian Society, but attempts to described extant items wherever they may be found.

An undertaking as ambitious as this will necessarily be accomplished incrementally. The NAIP catalog contains over 40,000 records descriptive of 17th- and 18th- century imprints, and records the locations of more than 120,000 extant copies. (Of these 40,000 imprints, some 23,000 are held by the American Antiquarian Society). NAIP efforts are now focused on the 19th century. For now, we are cataloging only materials held by AAS, and have deferred the cataloging of materials held by other libraries. AAS holdings for the decade of the 1820s are fully cataloged; a National Endowment for the Humanities grant underwrites the cataloging of holdings for the 1830s. (Some 37,000 records descriptive of the microform versions of the American imprints, 1801-1819, are available in the catalog, and will in time be brought in line with NAIP records.) Other NEH grants, past and present, have enabled us to catalog the Society's collection of American children's books, 1821-1876, and the collection of American broadsides through 1870.

NAIP records are available in the Society's online catalog. This catalog is uniquely suited to the task of making NAIP records available to researchers: in addition to providing the sorts of access common to most online catalogs (author, title, subject, and keyword access), the catalog supports a host of specialized indexes, providing access by genre, by series, by illustrator, by printed, publisher, and bookseller, by place, date, and language of publication. Provenance information is noted and indexed, and a special index permits the user to search using a variety of terms describing physical characteristics of the book. The researcher may use this index to identify annotated copies, copies containing owners' bookplates or labels, and copies containing owners' verses.

- Alan N. Degutis, Head of Cataloging

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