The bibliography attempts to record all extant editions of verse in English published in volume form during the years 1770 to 1835. Copies of all editions listed in the bibliography have been personally examined by the compiler: therefore the presence in the bibliography of second, third, fourth and fifteenth editions does not mean that the fifth to fourteenth editions do not exist, only that no copies have been found. The bibliography omits volumes of fewer than 10 pages in length and books that were first published before 1770, and it omits books written for musical performance and books that contain musical scores. Although works in languages other than English are omitted, translations from them into English verse are included. In the case of books that contain as much prose as verse, the criterion of inclusion is that they should contain at least 10 pages of verse that was first published no earlier than 1770. (In a few cases, a work may have been disqualified because although it is numbered as having more than 10 pages, there are fewer than 10 pages of verse, for instance only pages 9-16.)
Two important consequences of the way the scope of the database has been defined is that periodical literature, broadsheets, and most chapbooks are routinely ignored; and reprints and new editions of books from before 1770 are not accounted for. The first consequence reflects the difficulty of gathering such information in the same way as one gathers it for books; the second is the result of a deliberate wish to identify the material that was new to the period and to separate it from the important but overwhelming presence of earlier literature. The short-title catalogues of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries go a long way to make up for these deficiencies.
The entries are organized into twelve categories: Author(s); Title; Editor(s) or Translator(s); Place(s) of Publication; Publication date; Edition; Format; Pagination or Volumes(s); Price; Reference; Library; Shelfmark; and Comments. It can be searched by Author, Editor(s) or Translator(s), Title, Place of Publication, Publisher(s), Date, and Library. It can also be searched by Keyword for Edition, Format, and Price.