Digitisation of ‘Quarterly Lists’: Catalogues of Indian Books
As well as digitising rare early printed Indian books, the Two Centuries of Indian Print project is making available online some wonderful catalogues held by the library, generally known as the Quarterly Lists, recording all books published quarterly and by province of British India between 1867 and 1947.
Some of the lists can already be viewed through the British Library catalogue. A full list of the Quarterly Lists that are currently online will be useful to researchers who want to explore the digitised items within the catalogue. What’s more, many of these lists are keyword searchable within the image viewer, such as the Catalogue of books registered in the Central India Agency, after optical character recognition (OCR) technology was applied to the collection. In fact, the Two Centuries of Indian Print team has made the text derived from OCR available to researchers for free as XML and as searchable PDFs that can be downloaded through data.bl.uk.
The Quarterly Lists represent a rich source of bibliographic data about books published in India, including the names and locations of printers and publishers, the price books sold for and how many were printed. With the availability of this dataset, there are new possibilities for digital researchers to investigate the development of book publishing in India or to compare book markets in different regions of the country, to name but two possible avenues for research. The Two Centuries of Indian Print team would love to hear from any researchers interested in using the dataset, or who have already used the dataset to perform large scale digital research and encourage anybody thinking of doing so to download and reuse the dataset. Researchers who tell us about how they have worked with the collection can enter the annual BL Labs Symposium awards where they may win up to £500!
More of the digitised Quarterly Lists will be made available through the British Library catalogue in the coming months, so do look out for updates made through Two Centuries of Indian Print Twitter @BL_IndianPrint and bl.uk/projects/two-centuries-of-indian-print