Delimitation of publications
The STCN comprises all forms of publications, including those in other languages or scripts. Three types of printed material are, however, excluded. The number of items in these categories are too high or the format diverges too much from that of a standard book. These catagories require a different approach to description techniques, for instance, through digitisation. These exceptions are:
- broadsheets (sheets printed on one side only)
- newspapers (will almost all be digitised in the project Database Digitale Dagbladen)
- ambassadors' letters which have not been published separately as individual items, but as a collection
Special forms of publications that are included:
- Atlasses and collections of engravings are included in the STCN if they have been provided with a title-page. They have, however, been given brief descriptions because of the many variations that occur in the various copies.
- Popular songs (and other topical texts) sometimes occurred on both sides of a single or half (but not cut through) sheet. It is not always possible to decide which side is the front and which is the back. In such cases both sides have been described separately.
- Official government publications are described in the STCN with an additional field entry for issuing or relevant town or region.
Delimitation in space and time
The STCN describes all printed publications that have appeared within the borders of the modern-day Netherlands from the introduction of the printing press up to and including the year 1800 and all books in the Dutch language that have appeared elsewhere.
At the start of the STCN-project, books in Dutch printed in modern-day Belgium were excluded, because it proved impossible to obtain the necessary finances in Belgium. In 1992, however, a new study was undertaken to investigate the feasibility of including Belgian libraries in the STCN. This study unequivocally proved the importance of the Belgian books in Dutch and ultimately led in teh year 2000 to the establishment of the Short Title Catalogue Vlaanderen (STCV). The description format of the STCV is based on that of the STCN and the STCN gratefully derives descriptions of Dutch-language material printed in Flanders from the STCV. These description contain a link to the original STCV-record.
At the outset of the STCN-project, the starting year was 1540, because reliable and near-enough complete bibliographies existed for the preceding period (the incunabula and post-incunabula). But to avoid the impression, especially in online searches, that books were not printed in the Netherlands before 1540, it was decided in 1992 to extend the STCN with the early book production. These titles, however, formed an exception to the principle of 'book in hand'. The descriptions have been derived from the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) and from W. Nijhoff and M.E. Kronenberg, Nederlandsche bibliographie van 1500 tot 1540, and include references to these sources. Over time, these brief descriptions will be modified to the 'full' STCN-format when and if an actual copy has been seen by the staff.
Books in multiple volumes of which the first volume has appeared before or in 1800, have been included in the database. Periodicals with a first instalment in the eighteenth century, have also been included. However, if a major part of the publication has appeared after 1800, only the eighteenth-century instalments have been entered with an annotation explaning the continuance in the following century. The same applies for serial works which have also been described up to and including 1800 with an annotation about its continuance.
Books without place and/or year of publication that, according to content or form, or according to reliable reference works, were possibly printed in the Netherlands before 1801, have been included in the STCN.
Editions, impressions, (re)issues and states
Edition:All copies that have been printed from the same typesetting, that is: with the same fingerprint, are given a separate entry in the STCN-database. Impression: All copies that have been printed at any one time from the same typesetting. As it is very rare in the period before 1800 to keep type standing for later use, edition and impression can be regarded as more or less synonymous.
Issue: Part of an edition that has been presented as different from another part of that same edition, for instance, by a different imprint. These issues are distinguished in the database and given their own entry with mutual annotations. Example: Another issue of the edition Amsterdam, J. van Waesberghe, 1680.
Reissue: If the issues are separate in time by more than one year, or distinguished by an edition number, the one published later or with a higher edition number is called a reissue and is provided by an annotation Reissue of the edition Rotterdam, J.D. Beman, 1725.
State: Small variations within one edition without the deliberate attempt to distinguish one part of the edition from another, for instance, small corrections on the press, cancels or variant dedications. States are not regarded as separate issues and are not given their own entry in the database. Where relevant, an annotation has been provided. Example: Some copies dedicated to the Prince of Orange, other copies to the States of Friesland.