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This bibliography of Romantic Poetry is a descendant of Annals of English Verse: 1770-1835 (1985). Annals was based mainly on reviews and library catalogues and it listed about 12,000 books. At the time I did not think that it was feasible for a single investigator to examine copies of all of them, but venturing to test the adequacy of Annals by examining copies of a segment of the whole I compiled Romantic Poetry by Women (1993), which turned out to have about twice as many books by women as had been identified in Annals. Following that experiment I have worked particularly on American and Scottish publications, and throughout I have steadily added entries to the complete field as they have come my way. A small proportion of the works are as yet unexamined: their records typically indicate no shelfmark and lack measurements in the "Format" field. In time, I hope the deficiencies will be made up by other hands.

A database of this sort is obviously indebted fundamentally to book collectors and to the institutional libraries where the collections are to be found. The List of Abbreviations indicates the libraries upon which I have drawn. Since I began to accumulate data, two crucial innovations have transformed the field. One of these is the appearance of short-title catalogues of the eighteenth century and of the nineteenth century. By making it possible to search by date and by place of publication it has been possible to identify thousands of poets of whose existence we should otherwise have been ignorant. The other innovation is the provision of on-line catalogues for most research libraries. Previously one had been obliged to rely on a handful of published library catalogues and on the National Union Catalog; on-line catalogues and short-title catalogues have greatly increased our access to library resources, and at the same time have raised the standard that bibliographies are challenged to attain.

When I began to keep bibliographical records for this project in 1975, I made use of the traditional 4 x 6 inch cards, making notes on them in pencil; I had in mind a traditional bibliography in book form. I was suspicious at first of converting to computers, feeling that the texts they produced were unstable, but I was gradually won over. There was the great convenience of being able to insert new items after each research trip without having to re-type the entire record, but over a period of about twenty years my key-boarders (Rea Wilmshurst and Marion Filipiuk) kept encouraging me to convert to a database. In the end a period of ill health made me face the possibility that if I did not take the plunge my materials might never see the light of day, and, as I had repeatedly been told would be the case, I found that the database made my records available to me in helpful ways that I had not anticipated. Sandra Alston very kindly introduced me to the Information Technology Services of the University of Toronto Libraries, and with the permission of the Chief Librarian, Carole Moore, and of the Director of the Information Technology Services, Peter Clinton, the database was duly prepared by Sian Meikle (application design), Alexandra Pimenidis (data entry and proofreading), Pierre Moraes (data manipulation), and Gordon Belray (graphical design). The results have been made available on-line using ColdFusion and mysql.

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the assistance of those who were mentioned in the acknowledgments to Annals, and Romantic Poetry by Women, some of whom have continued to contribute to this bibliography. For help in the period leading up to this database I am particularly grateful to Margaret Murphy and Susan Beattie, who volunteered to undertake bibliographical or biographical tasks to support this phase of the project. Jacquie Millner and Vikki Visvis carefully keyboarded my handwritten cards. Gavin and Ann Scott helped me out over a Welsh title, and Jarda Polak rescued me from bafflement over a Czechoslovakian one. Michael J. Franklin drew my attention to material in the Murray Archive in the National Library of Scotland. Mary Klein went to considerable trouble to track down a now defunct library in Baltimore. I have learned from the catalogues and correspondence of C. C. and Michele Kohler, and of C. R. Johnson. Peter X. Accardo gave me advance access to his bibliography of Byron in America. Jane Millgate, William St.Clair, and Heather Jackson have helped by taking an informed interest and giving practical advice. Stuart Curran and Jack Stillinger have been steady sources of encouragement in my work.

The visits of my kind of bibliographer are an unusual burden on hard-pressed library staffs. Typically I ask to see many books in a very short period of time, and to see books that are seldom used and not highly regarded. Such requests often create temporary alarm, but have almost always been accommodated with patience and good will.

The bibliography could not have been compiled without the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. For some years their subventions for my other research topics allowed me, in the dog-watches, to have access to books in far away places; latterly their support of the bibliography itself enabled me to travel widely to where the books are. I have also been aided by funding from Victoria College and the Department of English of the University of Toronto.