The Union Catalogue of Books Printed in German Speaking Countries in the 17th Century (VD 17), an ongoing project, is a retrospective national bibliography for the period from 1601 to 1700. Included are all German-language items as well as any work printed and published in the German speaking countries of the time, regardless of its language.
The regional scope of the VD 17 is based on “Die Buchdrucker des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts im deutschen Sprachgebiet“ by Josef Benzing. Benzing’s reference work was already used in the VD 16 project (VD 16).
In addition to present-day Germany, Benzing included Austria, German-speaking Switzerland, Sudetenland, South Tyrol, Luxemburg, Alsace, Silesia, and East Prussia. Works printed outside of this area (e.g. Prague, Thorn, Posen, Riga or Reval) are only included if published in German.
VD 17 does not include Musica practica (sheet music) and maps; however, unlike VD 16, single sheet materials are recorded. Unfortunately, Hebraica can at this time only be included in exceptional cases.
The VD 17 material held by the following libraries is almost completely represented in the database:
- Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz
- Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München
- Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
- Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden
- Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen
- Universitäts- und Forschungsbibliothek Erfurt/Gotha
- Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt Halle
- Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg
- Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek Weimar
In 1998 more than 17,000 records of pamphlets, such as funeral sermons and other ephemera, were included in the VD 17 database. These records resulted from a project on the Ratsschulbibliothek Zwickau funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
The first part of the VD 17 number in front of the colon represents the library code; hence, each VD 17 number indicates its source library. The catalogue records of the Ratsschulbibliothek Zwickau, for example, all begin with the library code 125 (e.g., VD 17 125:043306V).
The VD 17 database lists about 300,000 works in approximately 730,000 copies. More than 55 per cent of these titles are uniquely held by only one of the contributing libraries. Nearly 750,000 key-page images provide additional information. More than 120,000 links to digital copies are included.