The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) , an electronic bibliographic database maintained by the British Library, seeks to catalogue all known incunabula. The database lists books by individual editions, recording standard bibliographic details for each edition as well as providing a census of known copies, organized by location. It currently holds records of about 30,000 editions. Work on the ISTC began in 1980 under the leadership of the British Library's Lotte Hellinga. Frederick R. Goff's Incunabula in American Libraries (1973) was the first pre-existing catalog to be keyed into ISTC's database. Besides providing the catalog's first 12,900 entries, Goff's system for classifying information about incunables formed the basis for the structure of ISTC's records. Entries for all of the incunables in British Library and the Italian union catalog (IGI) were added next, followed by other national incunable catalogs.
"The database records nearly every item printed from movable type before 1501, but not material printed entirely from woodblocks or engraved plates. 30,518 editions are listed as of August 2016, including some 16th-century items previously assigned incorrectly to the 15th century.
"Information on each item includes authors, short titles, the language of the text, printer, place and date of printing, and format. Locations for copies have been confirmed by libraries all over the world. Many links are provided to online digital facsimiles, and also to major online catalogues of incunabula such as the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Inkunabelkatalog and Bod-Inc online.
"A number of copies recorded in ISTC are now described in detail in the Material Evidence in Incunabula (MEI) database. In due course, links will be added from the copies recorded in ISTC to their descriptions in MEI" (https://data.cerl.org/istc/_search).