The latest issue of De Boekenwereld contains an article that I wrote about the oldest parts of the Library of the House of Representatives. It gives an overview of the first part of the project which took place earlier this year and is the unofficial kick-off of part two which will start in November.
Half a year ago, the library of the Dutch House of Representatives made all the headlines when a first edition of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was discovered in the collection. The symbolic value of the book justified the attention, but it was in no way typical. Most old books in the library are Dutch governmental publications from the late 18th and early 19th century: ordinances, regulations, pamphlets, taxation sheets and other examples of printing that were necessary to keep the governmental administration running. These are now highlighted in De Boekenwereld.
In March, a project was started at the library of the House of Representatives, aiming to describe the books, provide better access and restore them if necessary. In the first part of the project, the Dutch books published before 1801 that are found at the library of the House of Representatives have been catalogued in the Short-Title Catalogue, Netherlands (STCN). This means that they are accessible for researchers worldwide. The books from the library of the House of Representatives can be found by searching the STCN for location “htk“.
The second bibliographical phase of the project will commence in November and is focused on the 19th century books in the collection. Since the STCN ends at 1801, these books will be made accessible in other ways.