Our retrieval system is optimized for fast and accurate access to early printed books and rare materials. You can use the Simple Search (search slot above) or the Advanced Search (click on the link next to it) to access our detailed and comprehensive bibliographic data.

Simple search

Enter a maximum of 5 search terms (author, title, place of publication, year, printer/publisher, call number, etc.) in the search slot, separated by spaces, and click on Simple Search. Parts of words can also be entered, but do not use wildcard characters at the end (such as * or $). Example: If you enter "arch", the system will search the words "architecture", "archaeological", "archaic", etc. On the display page you will find a selection of titles (5 per page) according to your search criteria. Click on the desired title to access the full bibliographic description.

Advanced search

For a specific search (by author, editor, contributor, other person or entity, keywords, title, place and year of publication, printer or publisher, language, bibliographical references, general notes and/or notes on ownership history, binding, copies available) click on the Advanced Search and use the specific search fields there. You can also enter only parts of words, but do not use wildcard characters at the end (such as * or $).

Our cataloguing

The library is committed to improving the quality of metadata for the bibliographic description of early printed books and rare materials. In conformity with international standards and formats (RDA, GND, MARC21) and taking into account specific cataloguing rules and best practices, our bibliographic records are the result of careful bibliographic, bibliological and book-history research. In addition to the usual bibliographical data, you can find a great deal of further information on, for example, pagination, typeface, places of sale, prices, introductions, epilogues, dedications, letters to the editor, illustrators, engravers, commentators, bookplates, coats of arms, stamps, bindings, ownership or censorship marks, etc.

Re- cataloguing project

From April 2021, the project of re-cataloguing about 15'000 records, which were previously available as Excel files, has started. The new library software, developed in cooperation with the company New Economy GmbH, will be used to re-catalogue the records according to the RDA and MARC21 standards. The constantly updated list of new records can be found under New in the catalogue.

Copyright and Access

This database and the information and metadata in it are protected by copyright (Art. 2 URG). All reproductions of this copyrighted material for non-commercial educational purposes, must be made in accordance with Art. 19-28 URG and Art. 24d LDA.

For further information or if you have specific questions about a title, please contact the librarians directly by e-mail: or Tel: +41 (0)55 418 90 42