Criteria for Matching

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Types of records in the database

Verified vs. unverified matches

Types of matches

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Types of records in the database

There are four types of records in the ESTC database.

Edited Records

Edited records represent the book as a whole, with the complete title (minus extraneous quotes and scriptural references), imprint, pagination, format, and, sometimes, an internal description of the book.

Edited Record

18th century records

18th century records were created according to the cataloging rules of the Eighteenth Century Short Title Catalogue and omit most of the title and, in the imprint, the printer’s and publishers’ addresses. There are no partial or unedited 18th century records. Please note also for 18th century records:

18th Century Record

The record above silently omits the printers' addresses seen in the title page below and uses Arabic and not Roman numerals for the date.

18th Century Title Page

Unedited and partial records

Unedited and partial records are atypical of the database and require special attention. These records are batch-loaded records incorporated into the ESTC database and are in the process of being upgraded. These records are only found in the STC (1473-1640) and Wing (1641-1700) periods.

Partial Record Return to the top of the page.

Verified vs. unverified matches

Matches are of two kinds: verified and unverified. It is assumed that any matching done with a book in hand will result in a verified match.

To be a Verified match, the book in hand must correspond to edited records exactly in the following fields, and to 18th century records within the limits of 18th century cataloging conventions:

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Types of matches

For a given book, the matcher may take one of six actions.

An uncomplicated match to an edited record.

Absolutely everything corresponds to the book in hand or can be accounted for. The item is matched with a status of verified.

Matching to an edited record, with a Cataloguer’s Note.

Instances where a Cataloguer’s Note is called for:

Please note that if your query needs an immediate response, it is best to contact the ESTC catalogers at

Matching to an unedited record.


Unedited records are in the process of being upgraded. Preference is given to those unedited records to which a contributing library wishes to match items. Email the ESTC catalogers at if you find an unedited record to which you need to match.

Matching to a partial record.


There is no way to update partial records without a report from a contributing library. Report your holding as if reporting for a new record. Include the ESTC identification number of the partial record on the report. See Reporting Procedures for more information on reporting partial records to the ESTC.

No match to a record with a Cataloguer’s Note.

Exceptionally, the matcher will find more than one possible record to match to, and the general notes they contain are either contradictory or insufficient to permit narrowing the choice to one. The matcher may enter an unverified match with a Cataloguer’s Note in one of the records, explaining the problem. ESTC will resolve the problem to permit a match, sometimes requiring additional information from the contributing library. Again, for a more immediate response, email the ESTC catalogers at

No match to any record in the database

If the item in hand does not match anything in the database, the matcher should report the item to ESTC as a new record. See Reporting Procedures for more information on reporting new records to the ESTC.

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