National Census of the 16th century Italian editions: EDIT16

Within the initiatives of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism for the surveying and cataloguing of ancient books, the Institute coordinates and manages the National census of the 16th century Italian editions with the aim of finding and describing all books printed between 1501 and 1600 in Italy – in any language – and printed abroad in the Italian language during that timeframe.
Participating institutions include various libraries (state, local, university, school, ecclesiastical, private, cultural and research institute libraries and also non-Italian libraries, including the Vatican Apostolic Library), which work closely with the Institute in various ways in order to realize  the project (an online form is available for libraries interested in joining the project).

Foreign institutions of importance to Italian collections, such as the British Library, are also providing a valuable contribution to the documentation of 16th century Italian books.

The EDIT16 database is the reference point for any study on the 16th century Italian books and culture, and through the survey of such books throughout the country it provides an indispensable tool for the documentation, protection, and enhancement of Italy cultural heritage.

The survey is carried out using a database archived on a local network. The title archive is supported  by other archives with authority headings by author, printer/publisher, and publisher’s device. The database contains images of devices, title pages, colophons, as well as of significant pages to support bibliographic descriptions.

A Bibliography archive is also available, whose original core includes the reference sources gathered when the project was launched, and a Dedications archive functioning as a small-scale archive of the broader Titles archive hosting it. All dedications are fully digitized.

Since April 2006, two new WEB functions are available, in order to allow libraries to participate in a more direct way and to allow all users to interact with the database: location updates and reports to EDIT16.

The opening of the database to new services and tools is made possible both through the management of electronic resources (as Sources) that are crucial for interacting with other entities, and through the valorization of digital resources and collections from various national and foreign institutions (digital copies) by linking the bibliographic description to the digital version of each item (through the field: Location).

At present EDIT16 contains 67,811 bibliographic records. Additional items will be added through the completion of the survey of current sources (annals, library catalogues and bibliographies) and a survey of unexplored  book collections held in libraries, which leads to the estimates of approximately 80,000 16th century Italian editions.
EDIT16 can be consulted online at:

For more information: Elena Ravelli