The CERL Thesaurus contains names of persons, corporate bodies, places and printers/publishers recorded in books or other material printed during the hand-press era (1450 – ca. 1830). Authority files contributed by CERL member libraries and other libraries/projects concentrating on the history of the book are brought together and made searchable in one single system. The CERL Thesaurus currently comprises 652,052 records (last update: 13th April 2007).
On the personal names: The largest contribution is the German national authority file for personal name headings, the Personennamendatei (PND) of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. The CERL Thesaurus contains those records that refer to persons who died before 1851; the records are regularly updated.