About the Portal

The Knihověda.cz website represents a component of the necessary infrastructure for researching Czech book culture before 1800 in the form of integrated bibliographic sources, interpretive texts, and new research tools. The goal of the portal is to create a new platform for basic research into Czech book culture while taking advantage of its potential to educate and popularise the topic.

Michele M. F., Wood letterpress blocks, CC BY-SA 2.0

The portal comprises of the Database of Bibliographic Sources that integrates three main and two supplementary databases. Primarily, these are two branches of Czech retrospective bibliographies (Knihopis českých a slovenských tisků/ The Bibliography of Czech and Slovak Printed Books maintained by the National Library of the Czech Republic and the Bibliografie cizojazyčných bohemikálních tisků do roku 1800 / The Bibliography of Foreign Language Bohemical Books up to1800 kept by the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences), whose separation based on language is now outdated. The virtual merger of these databases at the Knihověda.cz portal is thus a fundamental milestone in the history of Czech national retrospective bibliography. These bibliographies include all prints published on the territory of today’s Czech Republic, foreign publications of Czech books, and foreign language works by authors from the territory of today’s Czech Republic. Finally, it also includes works by foreign authors published abroad if their content, place of creation, patron, or other attributes have a clear relation to the Czech milieu. This totals about 60,000 listed publications.

Supplementary databases added to the portal include the modern book history bibliographical database maintained by the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and the Database of Manuscripts and Bibliography of Codicological Literature kept by the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences. As part of the project, the latter database was expanded by the subbase of institutions that manage the Czech Republic’s historical collections of books. The integration of all these databases took place using new social selection data (especially the authority header, topic, and genre) in a single VuFind searchable discovery interface with the option of using full-text and combined searches.

The complete records related to printed works became the foundation for their analytical visualisation on the Map of Print Production in Bohemia and Moravia up to 1800. This interactive map not only displays Czech printing in terms of geographic and temporal activity by individual printers on the territory of today’s Czech Republic, but it also offers a visual analysis of their output in terms of the linguistic, thematic, and genre composition.

The online Encyclopaedia of the Book in the Czech Middle Ages and in the Early Modern Period is also a part of the portal, which presents Petr Voit’s published encyclopaedia in electronic form. However, many entries were entirely newly created. The encyclopaedia set out to order the results of research into Czech book culture into a generally accessible system used for educational purposes on several levels, especially for secondary and tertiary schools. It covers the period from the beginning of Czech book culture in the Middle Ages to the times books were no longer hand-printed at the beginning of the 19th century and includes interpretive entries for individual book culture phenomena as well as developmental entries. The encyclopaedia also includes illustrations and links to electronic facsimiles in digital libraries.

The Knihověda.cz portal is the result of a team effort by experts from the Library of the Czech Academy of Sciences, the National Library of the Czech Republic, and the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences and was created with aid from the program to support applied research and experimental development of national and cultural identity 2016 – 2022 (NAKI II), project identification code DG16P02H015.