VD 16

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Title inventory of the VD 16 and VD 17 . The religious and political discourse during the Reformation fueled German book production.

The directory of the printed works of the 16th century (VD 16) published in the German-speaking area is a retrospective national bibliography for the printed works from 1501 to 1600. The project will be continued for the following two centuries by VD 17 and VD 18 .


The creation was funded by the German Research Foundation from 1969 to 1999. The project partners were the Herzog August Library Wolfenbüttel, and since 1990 the Gotha State and Research Library (today: Gotha Research Library ) under the leadership of the Bavarian State Library .

The following parts appeared:

  • Division I (author, corporations, anonyma) in 22 volumes (1983–1995)
  • Division II (Register of Editors, Commentators, Translators, Literary Contributors) (1997)
  • Department III (register of printing locations, printer / publisher, year of publication, as well as corrections and updated assignments of unfirmed prints) (2000)

A version of the VD 16 is available completely in book form. The VD 16 is also accessible as an online database. In addition to the 75,000 titles in the printed version, the database now contains over 25,000 new titles. The VD-16 database is continuously enriched with proof of ownership from domestic and foreign libraries. New titles are constantly being added as a result of new acquisitions by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek for the collection of German prints .

Of the approximately 120,000 German print editions of the 16th century that still exist today, around 100,000 have been recorded in VD 16 so far. The bibliographers don't just count the different texts, but the editions. So if the same text was reprinted one or more times in the 16th century (in a place within the German-speaking area), these new editions in VD 16 each receive a new number. In turn, several copies of such a print edition can exist in different libraries.

Some inconsistencies in VD 16 have arisen in the last few years due to the fact that the recording rules were subsequently changed. On the one hand, the different libraries deal with lost prints differently. While the Münchner Staatsbibliothek recorded loss copies, this is not the case with the Staatsbibliothek Berlin, which had a particularly large number of war losses. On the other hand (in the basic edition of VD 16 available in printed form), independent texts within a printed edition were given their own number. But that met with criticism because it made it difficult to determine the actual number of prints. Therefore, in the additional records, which are only accessible online, only “bibliographical units” are given their own number, with any further texts contained therein being recorded in a note. Since this change is not explained at any point, working with the VD 16 is sometimes a bit cumbersome for non-initiated people. There is also no definition of the “German language area”.

Furthermore, further work on VD 16 has progressed very slowly in recent years. Updates are made about annually, but from 2003 (the year the online version came out) to 2007 only about 1200 new titles were added (last VD-16 number in October 2007: ZV 25,900).

The VD16 may only list half of the relevant prints from the 16th century.


  • Gisela Möncke: The "Directory of the printed books of the 16th century published in the German-speaking area" (VD 16) as part of a German retrospective national bibliography. In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. Vol. 51, Issue 4, 2004, ISSN  0044-2380 , pp. 207-212.
  • Claudia Fabian: Enrichment, expansion and international networking: For the continuation of the directory of the 16th century prints published in the German language area (VD16). In: Journal of Librarianship and Bibliography. Vol. 57, Issue 6, 2010, pp. 321-332. (Last status of the further development of the project).
  • Jürgen Beyer: How complete are the German national bibliographies for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (VD16 and VD17)? In: Malcolm Walsby, Graeme Kemp (eds.): The book triumphant. Print in transition in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (= Library of the written word. Vol. 15 = The handpress world. Vol. 9). Brill, Leiden / Boston 2011, ISBN 978-90-04-20723-3 , pp. 57-77.
  • William A. Kelly: Sixteenth-century German imprints in Edinburgh libraries: a contribution to the further geographical coverage of VD16. In: ders. U. Jürgen Beyer (ed.): The German book in Wolfenbüttel and abroad. Studies presented to Ulrich Kopp in his retirement (= Studies in reading and book culture, Vol. 1), Tartu: University of Tartu Press 2014, pp. 179–190

See also

Web links

Commons : VD 16  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Beyer: How complete are the German national bibliographies for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (VD16 and VD17)? 2011, pp. 57-77.