The Virtual Library System is a union catalogue which represents the holdings and loans of selected dissenting academies in England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
It has been compiled from a range of sources, including historic catalogues, shelf lists, loan registers, and surviving books from the academy libraries. Each record in the system describes a single edition of a given work and consists of three parts: bibliographic data harvested from modern library catalogues; information about the copies held in different academy libraries; and, where available, evidence of borrowing.
The Virtual Library System (VLS) works in much the same way as a modern online university library catalogue, but with important additional features. It can be used to:
- search for particular titles and authors;
- browse, search, and sort students’ and tutors’ loan records;
- compare the holdings of different academy libraries;
- browse the shelves of an academy library;
- view images of the manuscript sources used to construct the system;
- view images of title pages, provenance details, and inscriptions in selected books;
- browse the dropdown menu of former owners of books in academy libraries.
The Virtual Library System is part of Dissenting Academies Online. Click here to find out more about the dissenting academies and this comprehensive resource.