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User Guide

The core of this bibliography is records for over 23000 books of poetry, written in or translated into English and first published in the years 1770-1835. Users should consult the Introduction for more about the project and for detailed information about the categories included in each bibliographic record. What follows is a guide to retrieving the records.

Searching begins from the homepage. The search function allows for searching by author, title, publisher, city of publication, date of publication, and holding library of the specific copy identified by the bibliographic record.  With the 2020 relaunch, it is possible to refine searches by the region where a book was published (Canada, England, Ireland, USA, Wales, and the rest of the world) and by the author’s sex where known. In the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, searches can also distinguish between attributed and unattributed authorship.

Searches are not case sensitive.



This will yield results where the word(s) appears anywhere in the bibliographic records. 

Keyword searches can be narrowed using the buttons below the search box. For example, searching for “Princess Charlotte” and clicking the “all words” button will give a list where both words appear but not necessarily together in the record; “any words” will include items where one or both words appear in the record; “phrase” will give a list of items where the words appear together.  Note: searching on keywords will pick up instances of words within words (for example, “fancy” will include results with the word “infancy”).

Use the keyword box to search for an author by his or her pseudonym.

If you are searching for the author of prose in a book that includes poetry by a different author, use a keyword search. Authors of prose in books are not tagged as authors--see below under Authors. An example is Studies of Chess where the prose is by A. D. Philidor and the verse by Sir William Jones. Philidor can be found through a keyword search but only Jones is tagged and can be searched as an author; Philidor will not be found through an author search.

Do not use quotation marks in keyword searches.



Normally an author search is by surname. Other names can be included in the order first name/ surname or surname [comma]/first name. Searches can also include initials. The website links all items by a particular author to all possible iterations of the author’s name: for example, searching for “R. P. Gillies” will yield items where the author’s name is so given on the title page but also items where the name is given as “Robert Pearse Gillies.” Punctuation is not required, including for searches using Mr/ Mrs/ Miss.  Using quotation marks will increase the accuracy of the search.

Refine Author searches by using one or more other search fields. For example, to know what works by Thomas Moore were published in the USA, enter “Thomas Moore” in the author field, and “USA” in the drop-down menu under “Search by one or more countries.” 

Note that only authors of poetry are tagged as authors and therefore searchable through the Author box or Author tab. A writer who contributed only prose to a book containing poetry can be found using a keyword search.

Work on supplying brief biographies for the authors is ongoing, beginning with authors published in North America and Scotland and now extending to Ireland, England, and other global locations. Biographical headnotes can be found through the "Authors" tab, but they will also appear if users click on the name of the author in the book record. Enter the surname; if the results show more than one author of the same name, select the desired author and click for the full author entry including the biography and a complete list of works. For example, entering the search terms "Walter Scott" will give a list of two names, each with a biography; for a list of works by Walter Scott (1771-1832), click on his name. The list will not usually include spurious or derivative  works; searching for "Walter Scott" in the author field on the home page will give a chronological list of works by both Walter Scotts, including spurious and derivative works.

The names of translators who also produced original verse included in the database will appear in this field with the name of the original author.



Use these boxes to refine the author search or, for example, to identify how many women authors were published in a particular region or city. As far as possible, authorial sex has been identified. The exceptions are works where the author’s forenames are known only by initials and no additional evidence (for example, information in a preface) has made possible a confident identification of the author’s sex.



This includes anonymous and pseudonymous works where no author attribution is currently possible. Refine searches by using one or more of the other search boxes. For example, a search with “1800” under “Publication Year,” and “Edinburgh” under “City of Publication” would generate a list of unattributed anonymous and pseudonymous works published in Edinburgh in 1800. (The list would not include works originally published anonymously or pseudonymously but where the authors’ names are now known.) 



Search this field by entering names in normal order: William Stewart Rose, not Rose, William Stewart. To ensure that searches produce all of the desired results enter surnames only: Rose.



Leading words (the, an, a) can be omitted but not connecting words (flowers of fancy NOT flowers fancy). 



Search for a single year within the span of the bibliography (1775-1835), or for a range of years. Separate the range with “-”: for example, 1775-1800.



Publishers are identified in the bibliographic records by their imprint on title pages. Because the imprints used by publishers vary, searches will be more complete if surnames only are used--“Murray” rather than “John Murray”--although they may also turn up items referring to a different publisher (James Murray). Items published “for the author” can also be searched. 



Search here for place of publication, as given on title pages.



Use the dropdown menu. Items are categorised under the place of publication, not the author’s nationality.



The bibliographic record for each item in the database was created from a unique copy in a library; the holding libraries can be searched here using the dropdown menu. Users should consult WorldCat to identify other copies where these exist.