The Nineteenth Century is a thirty-year publishing program which reproduces on microfiche a significant proportion of English-language works first published between 1801-1900. The program is situated at the British Library, and it is the holdings of this great library that form the basis of the program.
The Library holds a vast range of material to which scholars and researchers elsewhere do not have easy access, and it is this material that the program aims to cover. The serious deterioration of the book in the world's research libraries mainly occurs in works published after the introduction of wood pulp paper in 1845. The Nineteenth Century is the first major long-term publishing program to reproduce such works that so urgently need to be preserved. The program brings together the interests of the librarian, the scholar, and the preservation department of the single largest collection of books in the world.
The Nineteenth Century was launched in 1986 and microfilming began in 1987. In January 1998 the program celebrated its tenth anniversary in the newly opened British Library at St Pancras.
Now containing more than 30,000 separate titles, all accessible through detailed cataloguing, The Nineteenth Century is the single largest and most important source of nineteenth century works for research and for teaching almost all aspects of nineteenth century studies.
What sets The Nineteenth Century apart from other research collections is that every title has been handpicked by qualified editorial staff (working under the guidance of works by Robin Alston, one of the most eminent specialists in this field) with the sole objective of building a collection that fully supports current teaching and research.
The process of editorial selection made necessary by the sheer volume of nineteenth-century production is carried out following carefully formulated principles. These are clearly specified in Subject Scope and Principles of Selection by R. C. Alston which is available free of charge on request.
You can find out more about the programme and search the full catalogue online by visiting The Nineteenth Century web site.