Introduction to Scottish books 1505-1700 (Aldis updated)

This resource is an online edition of 'A list of books printed in Scotland before 1701' by H G Aldis which is being produced by the National Library of Scotland.

First published in 1904, Aldis is the standard checklist for books printed in Scotland, or outside Scotland for the Scottish market, before 1701. The 1970 revised edition has been out of print for many years.

The online version in development by Rare Books staff at the Library includes the entries — about 5,670 — from the 1970 printed edition and the books identified since then — over 500.

To date the period covered is 1505-1700.



Nearly all Aldis items are also recorded in the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) to which Aldis always gives references when they are available.

However, unlike ESTC, Aldis includes books known, or believed, to have existed but of which copies cannot be located at present.


Entries arranged chronologically

A fundamental feature of Aldis is that it is arranged chronologically. The online entries follow closely the 1970 edition, retaining the numbers used in that edition and prefixing additional numbers with an asterisk.

Fully revised entries shown (where available) for each item:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Edition statement
  • Bibliographical format
  • Place of publication
  • Printer
  • Year of publication.

Details taken from title page or colophon are not transcribed in detail; for full transcriptions refer to ESTC. Entries also provide shelfmarks for our holdings of originals and of microfilms. Many of these microfilm references provide access to digitised images in Early English Books Online (EEBO).


References to other standard bibliographies

As well as references to ESTC, the online file contains updated references to other standard bibliographies:

  • "'STC'" = 'A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad 1475-1640', 2nd ed., 3 vols (London, 1976-1991)
  • "Wing" = 'A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wale and British America and of English Books Printed in Other Countries 1641-1700', 2nd ed., 3 vols (New York, 1982-1994
  • 'British Newspapers and Periodicals, 1641-1700:' 'A Short-Title Catalogue of Serials Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, and British America' (New York, 1987).

For the most part the abbreviations used in the 1970 edition have been retained, with the following exceptions:

  • 'STC' and 'Wing' are used to refer to their latest editions
  • 'DE' is spelt out, i.e. 'Dickson & Edmond' 
  • 'BL' has been replaced by 'Steele'.

See a complete list of abbreviations.


Libraries which hold Aldis copies

Each entry ends with a list of libraries known or believed to hold copies. These locations have not all been checked to ensure that they are still true, and we encourage users looking for copies outside the National Library to refer to ESTC.

See a complete list of location symbols.

These symbols are not the same as those used by ESTC or other bibliographies.

1970 Aldis used A for both the National Library of Scotland and the Advocates Library because at the time of the first edition (1904), the Advocates Library held the collections that were transferred to the National Library on its foundation in 1925. Law books were excepted from this transfer and remained in the Advocates Library.

Therefore the symbol 'A' is being removed: National Library copies are recorded in a line of their own, and Advocates Library copies are recorded with the ESTC symbol 'Ea'.


Please note: The information contained in this online edition has been accumulated over many years by many members of staff, and it has not been possible to check all details thoroughly.


 Location symbols and abbreviations page


Scottish books 1505-1700 main index

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