The 'Black Books'
The 'Black Books' are a set of 736 bound volumes containing nearly a million catalogue records drawn up by the librarians of the Kaiserliche Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek zu Straßburg between 1871 and 1918. These records constitute the library's original catalogue in alphabetical order by author; they were initially intended for use by the staff, and were kept in boxes. After the First World War, to allow public access to the catalogue, the records were transferred to books by the librarians, under the guidance of Ernest Wickersheimer.
The 'Black Books', so called because of their black binding, are a valuable witness to the constitution of the BNU's original collections. The records are handwritten, for the most part in Roman and German cursive. An ambitious programme started in 2006 to retro-convert them into the SUDOC and BNU e-catalogues. This work should be complete by the time the old building re-opens in 2014.