Bound volumes of the Avisblatt [picture by I. Serif]

"Printed Markets" explores the advertising market of the Basel Avisblatt, which appeared weekly from 1729 to 1845. It was first published by Johann Burckhardt in January 1729. The year before, he had received permission from the Council of Basel to open a so-called "Bureau d’adresse" to print an advertising journal. On private initiative, Basel was one of the first German-speaking cities to receive a so-called "Intelligenzblatt" in the form of a pure advertising paper.

The Avisblatt contains columns on buying and selling, lost and found announcements, lending and rental offers on property, and a variety of other offers and requests. The "Bureau d’adresse" served as a meeting point and connected the readers of ads with their advertisers; in addition, it also served as a warehouse and made offers on its own behalf. Next to requests and offers, the Avisblatt also informed Basel's public society on the weekly prices for basic foodstuffs and annual vital statistics, it published wedding and funeral announcements as well as public notices and mixed news. While the paper was primarily used by private advertisers to publish offers and requests, Basel authorities also used the Avisblatt for official announcements and the publication of data in the "pre-statistical" age.

From 1752 the journal was run as a family business by Burckhardt and his son-in-law Peter Raillard. After Raillard's death, the newspaper remained in family ownership and was continued by his widow and later by the founder's grandson. In 1844/45 the advertising paper became a political newspaper with an advertising section, published daily as the "Basler Zeitung". All 6391 issues that were published from 1729 to 1844/45 are preserved and made use of in the project. A digital collection has been build in cooperation with the University Library Basel and the whole corpus will be accessible online by 2020.