I am pleased to announce that Private Libraries in Renaissance England (PLRE), in cooperation with the Folger Shakespeare Library, is now available online as the PLRE.Folger database. PLRE.Folger contains records of nearly 13,000 books drawn from book-lists compiled in England between 1507 and 1653, itemizing the collections of 196 owners. These records include the book-lists appearing in 162 probate inventories taken under the jurisdiction of the Chancellor of Oxford University.
The material in the database is searchable in a variety ways, and thanks to the generosity of the Folger, access is free to the scholarly community. The current database is the beta version. Accordingly, users are invited to make comments and suggestions for improvement. Email addresses are provided for that purpose on the website’s Contacts page.
This announcement of the PLRE.Folger release would be incomplete without the following comments:
PLRE.Folger and the printed volumes of PLRE are complementary presentations of the material in Private Libraries in Renaissance England. They are not substitutes one for the other. The use of PLRE.Folger will, therefore, be enhanced with the printed volumes on hand.
PLRE.Folger can be accessed at: http://plre.folger.edu Given the unique character of the database, the documentation is unusually heavy and detailed; users would be well-served to print the documentation for reference.
The PLRE Project website, which provides detailed information about Private Libraries in Renaissance England as well as material drawn from the published volumes not available at PLRE.Folger, can be accessed at http://wmpeople.wm.edu/site/page/rjfehr or via a link from PLRE.Folger.
I would be grateful if the recipients of this announcement would distribute it to other interested scholars.
R.J. Fehrenbach, General Editor
Private Libraries in Renaissance England