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Subject Guide for History

Early English Books


The basic microfilm sets comprising Early English Books are:

Early English Books I, 1473-1640

Early English Books II, 1641-1700

See For More about the Short-Title Catalogues, STC, Wing, and ESTC to learn more.

Supplemental microfilm sets include:

Early English Books Tract Supplement

Thomason Tracts, 1640-1661

These four sets are combined in Early English Books Online (EEBO) CU. Most, but not all, of the titles microfilmed have been scanned as full-text images. Currently the Thomason Tracts is the only set complete in EEBO. To see how much of the other sets have been added, see What's Online Now? EEBO also contains keyword-searchable text for a percentage of its titles created through the EEBO Text Creation Partnership, a joint effort between the University of Michigan, Oxford University and ProQuest. Research libraries have joined this partnership to finance the creation if this text. In the first phase, 25,000 keyword-searchable texts were created. The partnership is moving into its second phase with the aim of creating an additional 50,000 keyword-searchable texts. The University of Colorado Libraries is a partner in both phases of this project and our patrons thus have access to these texts. To see how many are currently in EEBO, look at "Items with keyed full text" in the "Limit to" drop-down menu on the Basic Search screen.


For a seven-minute introduction to using EEBO, see this video guide on Warwick University's web site.

Please note that using historical synonyms, couched in the language of the time, can bring richer results when searching keyword-searchable texts. For historical synonyms, consult the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary.


To see the totality of known early modern English titles, consult the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC). ESTC is the most comprehensive bibliography of these materials available. It provides bibliographic records with extensive descriptions and holdings information for letterpress items printed in Great Britain or any of its dependencies from the beginnings of print to 1800 in any language, as well as for materials printed in English anywhere else in the world. ESTC includes all Pollard & Redgrave, Wing, and Thomason items, plus many that have been discovered since these bibliographies were published and revised. All recorded English monographs printed between 1473 and 1700 are represented, as well as a large percentage of the recorded serial titles for the period 1620-1800. ESTC records give collection and reel information for titles in the abovementioned microfilm sets, so you can use it to determine which reel and piece number to order for items not yet scanned into EEBO. Many items up to 1700, however, will be available electronically in EEBO.

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