ProQuest’s Early European Books expands on its previous collection, Early English Books (EEBO), by focusing on works printed in Europe prior to 1701. While the emphasis is on works in various European languages, the publishers make it clear that Anglophone items are included if they form an integral part of a particular collection, even if they appeared in Early English Books.
The series is being released in separate collections annually, and is ultimately planned to present nearly 18,000 books, pamphlets and ephemeral works totaling 4.9 million pages. The texts represent selected holdings from various major European libraries, with the goal being a comprehensive offering of printing in Europe prior to the 18th century. In a collaborative model, while ProQuest has funded the digitization the source libraries own the master files and have been authorized to use them for facsimiles, online exhibits, and "digitization on demand."
All of the works were scanned as high-quality (400 ppi) page image facsimiles captured directly from the original items. In order to fully document these works as physical objects, scans also include the bindings, edges, end papers, and any loose inserts.
The archive consists initially of six collections (with others possibly to be added):
The first collection is the result of ProQuest’s partnership with the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen (Det Kongelige Bibliotek). It is a complete digitization of works from Lauritz Nielsen's Dansk Bibliografi 1482–1600 and its supplement (1919–1996), and includes the earliest material printed in Denmark (1482). It consists of more than 2,600 items, comprising around 500,000 pages.
This collection comes from the National Central Library of Florence, Italy (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze), and includes the following:
i. The Nencini Aldine Collection: more than 770 editions printed by the Aldine Press
ii. Marginalia: a collection of 64 sixteenth- and seventeenth-century volumes which have been identified for the importance of the postillati, or marginal annotations.
iii. Incunabula: almost 1,200 volumes, including rare first editions of the works of Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, and 100 volumes by the controversial preacher and reformer Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498).
iv. Sacred Representations: 783 sixteenth- and seventeenth-century editions of sacre rappresentazioni, popular verse plays depicting Biblical scenes, episodes from the lives of the saints, and Christian legends.
This collection is significantly larger than the previous two, consisting of over three million pages from over 10,000 volumes, scanned at four different libraries. It contains work in all major European languages, and encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and historical periods. It was drawn from the following libraries:
· National Central Library of Florence
· National Library of the Netherlands
· The Wellcome Library, London
· Royal Library, Copenhagen
This is a continuation of Collection 3, being drawn from the same libraries and attempting a similar range and scope. It contains another three million pages from approximately 10,000 volumes.
This is drawn from three of the four previously mentioned libraries. It was launched December, 2013; completion is expected by late 2014. By completion it will contain 1,650,000.
This collection focuses exclusively on material from the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris It is equally wide-ranging as it predecessors in subject matter and nearly as voluminous, with over 1,400,000 digitally-preserved pages from over 3,500 different works. It was launched in 2014; completion is expected in 2015.