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Rare Books Librarianship Syllabus Spring 2012


week 1

week 2

week 3

week 4

week 5




week 6

week 7

week 8 week 9 week 10      




Descriptive Bibl Facsimile Reference Questions

Required Text: Chappell, Warren and Robert Bringhurst. A Short History of the Printed Word. Revised and updated ed. Vancouver: Hartley & Marks, 2000. (available at the bookstore and on reserve)

All the other articles and books are on reserve at KSU’s Main Library. Most of the articles are available through e-reserves, otherwise they are available through KentLink or the internet.  The password will be distributed to students the first day of class. 


Links to some helpful resources


Definition of Descriptive Bibliography by Terry Belanger http://www.bibsocamer.org/bibdef.htm

Book Binding Terminology - http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/don/don.html

Rare Book Glossary - partial http://www.evergreen.edu/library/rarebooks/language.html

British Library - Glossary of Terms for Illuminated Manuscripts (from Michelle P. Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms (J. Paul Getty Museum: Malibu and British Library, 1994)   http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/glossary.asp

John Carter's ABC for Book Collectors - on reserve at SLO-SLIS Office The introduction to the book is found at:   http://www.ilab.org/eng/documentation/30-john_carters_abc_for_book_collectors.html . A PDF version of the book is found at 29_2 ABC forbookcollectors Bob Fleck.pdf.  (for a video review see http://youtu.be/CpvKUaVHrWM

Latin Dictionary and Grammar aid - from University of Notre Dame http://archives.nd.edu/latgramm.htm

The British Library Manuscript Catalog – Glossary from Michelle P. Brown, Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts: A Guide to Technical Terms (J. Paul Getty Museum: Malibu and British Library: London, 1994) http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/glossary.asp


Week 1: Feb 8


Course outline: readings and assignments.

Rare book terminology

What is a book, what is bibliography - how do they fit together

 How to Operate a Book [video]



McKenzie, D.F. “The Book as an expressive form” part 1 in Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999): 1-30. you will find all but the last page of the article at catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam032/98031000.pdf

For your entertainment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhcPX1wVp38&feature=share
ALDUS SOCIETY (Book Collectors in Columbus Meetings on Thursdays from 7-9pm at the Thurber House – students welcome http://www.aldussociety.com/

Week 2: Feb 15


Bibliographic Description


Constructing your own formats and signatures 

Creating Analytic Bibliographies

From scroll to codex

So What are Rare Books & Special Collections?

Responsibility of RB Librarian /Curator

Progressive Descriptive Analysis Assignment starts – bring your book to class


  The anatomy of a book [video]


  • Chappell – Chapter 1&2

  • Definition of Descriptive Bibliography by Terry Belanger http://www.bibsocamer.org/bibdef.htm

  • Clement, Richard W “A Survey of Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance Book Production,” in Art into life: collected papers from the Kresge Art Museum Medieval Symposia. Edited by Carol Garrett Fisher and Kathleen L. Scott East Lansing : Michigan State University Press, 1995 http://works.bepress.com/richard_clement/3/

  • McKerrow, Ronald B. Chapter 3: Printed Book and its Parts. Some Bibliographical Terms Explained; Chapter 4: More About Imposition, et.al.; and Chapter 5: Early Printing Press. In  An Introduction to Bibliography (Ronald B. McKerrow), pp. 25-52; [e-reserve]

  • Williams, William Proctor. “A Text and Its Embodiments” in Introduction to Bibliography & Textual Studies 4th ed. NY: MLA, 2009, p57-70. [e-reserves]

  • Darnton, Robert. “What Is the History of Books?” Daedalus 111 no. 3 (Summer 1982): 65-83. [through Kentlink on JSTOR]


  • Weismann, Stephen. “What Use is Bibliography” in The Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America v89 (June 1995) 133-148 [e-reserve]



Week 3: Feb 22

Paper, Printing, Binding, Type & Font

What is a book and how is it constructed - hands-on experience



  • Chappell – Chapter 3

  • Bowers, Fredson “Bibliography and Modern Librarianship,” from Essays in Bibliography, Text, and Editing pp. 75-93. [e-reserve]

  • Gaskell, Philip. ”A nomenclature for Letter-forms of Roman Type.” The Library Fifth Series XXIX No. 1 (March 1974): 42-51. [e-reserve]

  • Ray, Gordon N. “The Importance of Original Editions,” from Books as a Way of Life pp. 167-184. [e-reserve]

  • Kilgour, Frederick G. “Printing 1400-1800” Chapter 8 The Evolution of the Book NY: Oxford University Press, 1998 p81-97 [e-reserve]

  • Sturdivant, James. “Down the Long Tail: Oak Knoll Makes Big Business Out of Niche Publishing.” Book Business (Sept 1, 2008) http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/article/oak-knoll-makes-big-business-out-niche-publishing-119077_1.html 

Optional Reading:

  • Ascher, James P. “Toward Bibliography, or, Organic Growth in the Bibliographic Record,” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage, 10 no. 2 (Fall 2009): 95-110 http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year



Logan Elm Press - OSU http://library.osu.edu/about/departments/preservation/book-arts-division/logan-elm-press/

. Paper through Time: Nondestructive Analysis of 14th- through 19th-Century Papers. The University of Iowa. Last modified http://paper.lib.uiowa.edu/index.php

Levine, Mark. "Can a Papermaker Help to Save Civilization." NYT (17 Feb 2012) Timothy Barrette's papermaking operation - definitely look at the interactive slideshow http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/timothy-barrett-papermaker.html


Week 4 Feb 29

Reference, Catalogues & Cataloging

Mss and Incunabula

Cataloging policies

Bibliographic Description

Analyzing Rare Book Catalogue Records 

Reference sources & databases - What are Researchers doing in Rare Book / Special Collections Rooms?

Manuscripts & Incunabula - introduction


Dealer catalogues & dealers



Medieval Manuscript: Art & Function (video)


Practice Reference Questions 


  • Chappell – Chapter 4

  • “Digging into Our “Hidden Collections”: Maximizing Staff Skills and Technology to Enhance Access to Special Collections”, Sarah Buchanan, Cataloger, University of California, Los Angeles Elaine Franco, Principal Cataloger, University of California, Davis John Sherlock, Rare Books Librarian, University of California, Davis pp. 6-7. http://carl-acrl.org/Archives/ConferencesArchive/Conference10/2010proceedings/ElaineFranco.pdf

  • Davies, Martin. “A Tale of Two Aesops” The Library 7th Series 7 No. 3 (Sept 2006): 259-288 (Available through KentLink in EJC)

  •  McMurtrie, Douglas C. “Locating the Printed Source Materials for United States History.” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 31 no. 3 (Dec 1944): 369-406 [available through KentLink]

  • Gregory, Dan. ”Devil in the Details.” Fine Books & Collections. 6 No. 4 (No. 34) July/Aug 2005): 27-31. [e-reserve]

  • Basbanes, Nicholas A. Among the Gently Mad: Perspectives and Strategies for the Book Hunter in the Twenty-first Century NY: Henry Holt and Company 2002 – read Chapter 1 [e-reserve]

  • Whiteman, Bruce. “Why I Hate Booksellers’ Catalogues (Not Really….Well, Maybe Sometimes.” RBM 10 No. 2 (Fall 2009): 144-151 http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year

  • Holzenberg, Eric “Second-Hand and Antiquarian Books on the Internet” RBM  2 no.1 (Spring 2001) available at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year



  • Oyens, Felix de Marez “The Toil of Incunable Cataloging” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 81 (1981): 37-57.[e-reserve]

  • Krummel, D.W. ”Introduction” and “Scope” in Bibliographies: Their Aims and Methods. NY: Mansell Publishing Ltd, 1984, pages 1-13 and 26-39. [e-reserve]

  • Tanselle, G. Thomas “A Brief History of the English Short-Title Catalogue in North America” in – The English short-title catalogue: past, present, future / edited by Henry L. Snyder and Michael S. Smith New York: AMS Press, c2003. [e-reserve]

  • Smith, Michael S. “Doing Research with the ESTC: A Ph.D. Student's Perspective” in The English short-title catalogue: past, present, future / edited by Henry L. Snyder and Michael S. Smith NY: AMS Press, c2003. [e-reserve]

  • Enniss, Stephen “The Role of the Artifact in a Facsimile AgeRBM 1 no. 1 (Spring 2000) available at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year

LINKS for the Week

Indiana U SAA Grad Student chapter conference March 3-4, 2012 http://saaiu.wordpress.com/

Reference Tools

ESTC (at BL) http://estc.bl.uk

BYU History of the Book http://guides.lib.byu.edu/content.php?pid=70183&sid=519800

Early English Books Online - EEBO (see KSU Library Databases)

For your enjoyment Illuminated Manuscripts - (sung to Beatle's Nowhere Man) http://youtu.be/81tmuA2Dddk

Week 5 March 7


Evolution from Manuscripts & Incunabula to 17th century books


Mission Statements & Collection Development Policies


Video "How paper is made"


From Punch to Type (video)


Progressive Assignment Due


  • Chappell Chapter 5-6

  • Smyth, Elaine B. A Practical Approach to Writing a Collection Development Policy” RBML 14 no. 1 (Fall 1999) available at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year

  • Duguid, Paul. “Inheritance and loss? A Brief survey of Google Books” First Monday 12 no 8 (2007) available at http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_8/duguid/index.html

  • McKitterick, David. “So Much to Learn from Each Other: The History of the Book and the History of Libraries.” Bulletin du bibliophile No. 2 (2008): 309-408. [on e-reserve]

  • Altick, Richard D. The Scholar Adventurers NY: Macmillan Paperbacks, 1950 – read Introduction [e-reserve]

  • Edwards, Karen. “Rip, Slash, and Tear: Can Plundering Books be a Form of Preservation?” Fine Books & Collections 5 No. 5 (Sept-Oct 2007): 44-49. [e-reserve]

  • Metzger, Bruce M. “The Making of Ancient Books” Ch. 4 in Manuscripts of the Greek Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981: 14-19. [e-reserve]

  • Horn, Walter and Ernest Born. “The Medieval Monastery as a Setting for the Production of Manuscripts.” The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery  44 (1986): 16-47 (available through Kentlink)]

Optional readings:

LINKS Manifold Greatness - the making of the King James Bible http://www.manifoldgreatness.org/
For your enjoyment Vantrease, Brenda Rickman. The Heretic's Wife. NY: St. Martin's Press, 2010.

Greenblatt, Stephen. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011


Week 6 March 14

GUEST SPEAKER - Harry Campbell -  Conservator at OSU

18th century Books & Newspapers

Printing techniques


Preservation & Conservation



Protecting the Word: Bookbindings of the Morgan Library (video)


Intro to Printmaking (video)


  • Chappell Chapter 7

  • Adams, Randall G “Librarians as enemies of books” Library Quarterly 7 (1937):317-331 [e-reserve]

  • Rasmussen, Eric. “First Folio Hunters” The Shakespeare Thefts NY and London: Palgrave / Macmillan, 2011, p17-26 and notes 190-192. [e-reserves]

  • Allen, Susan M. “Preventing Theft in Academic Libraries and Special Collections” Library & Archival Security 14 no. 1 (1997): 29-43. [e-reserve]

  • Nichols, S.G. and Smith, A “The Evidence at Hand: Report of the task force on the Artifact in Library Collections” Pub 103 Washington, D.C.: CLIR Nov 2001 available at http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/reports.html  

  • Cadell, Patrick. “Selling the Family Silver: the Temptation of the Special Collection.” Bulletin du bibliophile (2009-2): 217-222

  • Harvey, Miles. The Island of Lost Maps: a True Story of Cartographic Crime NY: Random House 2000 – read introduction and chapter 1. [e-reserve]

  • Eisenstein, Elizabeth. The Printing Press as Agent of Change pp. 3-42. [e-reserve]

  • Allen, Greer. “The Design and Printing of Library Exhibition Catalogues.” Rare Books & Manuscript Librarianship 5 No. 2 (1990): 77-84 [e-reserve]


  • Starmer Mary Ellen, Sara McGough Hyder, and Aimée Leverette. “Rare Condition: Preservation Assessment for Rare Book Collections” RBM 6 no. 2 (Fall 2005)  available at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year


Links "Sam Houston, Andrew Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson" TSLAC Blog 3 Feb 2012  http://tslacconservation.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/sam-houston-andrew-jackson-and-thomas-jefferson/
Useful Links

BYU History of the Book http://guides.lib.byu.edu/content.php?pid=70183&sid=519800

YouTube Videos on Fonts Font Conference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3k5oY9AHHM or http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1823766

Font Fight http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6djQHeqMwQ

For your enjoyment Gingerich, Owen The Book Nobody Read: In Pursuit of the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus. London: William Heinemann, 2004 (about compiling bibliographies from disparate editions and printers)





Week 7 March 28






Watch two of the following webcasts:


photo of Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies After Elizabeth Eisenstein - Presentation of Papers TITLE: Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies After Elizabeth Eisenstein - Presentation of Papers - SPEAKER: various speakers EVENT DATE: 11/02/2007 RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes at the Library of Congress


  photo of Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies After Elizabeth Eisenstein - Panel Discussion  TITLE: Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies After Elizabeth Eisenstein - Panel Discussion  SPEAKER: various speakers EVENT DATE: 11/02/2007 RUNNING TIME: 39 minutes  at the Library of Congress


photo of Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World TITLE: Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World SPEAKER: Nicholas Basbanes EVENT DATE: 01/31/2006 RUNNING TIME: 56 minutes  at the Library of Congress


Anthony Grafton Codex in Crisis Talk at Google



Thomas P. Campbell (Director) and Timothy B. Husband (Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters) discuss Herman, Paul, and Jean Limbourg's Belles Heures of Jean of France, Duc of Berry (54.1.1) (2010). Exhibition and Tour  at MMA http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/deth/hd_deth.htm


Isaiah Thomas, Patriot Printer American Antiquarian Society Podcast http://www.americanantiquarian.org/podcasts.htm#it


Write a review of the two webcasts you watched. Compare and contrast the themes presented, what the presentations taught you about the history of books. Why is it important to study Books as objects and texts? –(3-5 pages) due April 4


NOTE: The book: Agent of Change is on reserve in the SLIS Office


Be prepared to discuss these webcasts in class



Week 8

April 4


19th century books through 21st century books - The era of the modern book and the digital book


Donors & Friends of the Library or Special Collection Department

Bibliophilic Societies and Rare Book Organizations

FIELD TRIP TO OSU RARE BOOK ROOM - Dr. Eric Johnson, Guest Speaker


RB Questions Due


  • Chappell chapter 8-10

  • McKitterick, David. “The Survival of Books.” The Book Collector 43 No. 1 (Spring 1994):9-26. [e-reserve]

  • De Hamel, Christopher ”Tangible Artifacts” RBM 1 no. 1 (March 2000) available on line at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year

  • Levy, David M. Contemplating Scholarship in the Digital Age” RBM 6 no. 2 (Fall 2005) available at  http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year

  • Batuman, Elif. “Kafka’s Last Trial.” New York Times Magazine (22 Sept 2010) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/magazine/26kafka-t.html

  • Streit, Samuel Allen. “All That Glitters: Fund Raising for Special Collections in Academic Libraries.” Rare Books & Manuscript Librarianship 3 no. 1 (Spring 1988): 31-41. [e-reserve]

  • Brewer, Frances J. “Friends of the Library and Other Benefactors.” Library Trends 9 no. 4 (1961): 453-465 [e-reserve]


  • Juarez, Miguel. “Donor Relations for Librarians.” Art Documentation: Bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America 24 no 1 (Spring 2005): 38-41 [available through KentLink]

  • Kertesz, C. “The Unwanted Gift: When Saying No Thanks Isn’t Enough” American Libraries 32 no 3 (March 2001): 34-37 [available through KentLink

  • Reagan, Katherine. Books In The Age Of Anxiety” presentation at the “Books in Hard Times” Grolier Club Symposium 22 September 2009 http://www.grolierclub.org/Files/3.2.ReaganDESIGNED.pdf

Be prepared to discuss what you think the “Future of the Book” is!


FYI Henning, Joel. “Shakespeare in the Digital Age” Wall Street Journal (March 23, 2012): D4

Week 9 April 11

Non Print / Non-Book formats

Maps, prints, and more


The future

Continuing education



The Illuminator - video


  • Weessies, Kathleen. “The Secret Inside Your Library’s Atlases: Reexamine your collection and how to protect in – before someone else does” American Libraries (October 2003) p49-51 [available through KENTLink]

  • Browar, Lisa, Cathy Henderson, Michael North, and Tara Wenger. “Licensing the Use of Special Collections Materials.” RBM 3 no. 2 (Fall 2002) available at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year

  • Sax, Joseph L. “Not So Public: Access to Collections” RBM 1 no. 2 (Fall 2000) available at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/by/year

  • Townsend, Robert B. “Saving Orphans: Copyright Office Proposes a Solution” News column Perspectives (AHA) March 2006 available at http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2006/0603/0603new3.cfm


For Your Enjoyment

Vantrease, Brenda Rickman. The Heretic's Wife. NY: St. Martin's Press, 2010

Kennedy, Hugh. Original Color. NY: Nan A. Talese a division of Doubleday, 1996


E-Books Can't Burn - NY Review of Books 15 Feb 2012 http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/feb/15/ebooks-cant-burn

Fitzpatrick, Kathleen.  "The Future of Authorship: Writing in the Digital Age" http://youtu.be/v4qq01Qskv0

New Zealand Book Council http://www.wimp.com/booklife/


Week 10

April 18

Class presentations

Discussion about Editions, Impressions, States

Descriptive Bibliography assignment due along with revised and corrected Progressive Description https://sites.google.com/a/kent.edu/rarebooks_sp2012/

Final Exam




Readings are available through e-reserves



Rare Books Websites

Rare Books Bibliography


Workshop & Lecture Descriptions Websites & Bibliographies Consulting About MBK
Publications Schedule KSU Students Home


MBK Consulting


Miriam Kahn, MLS, PhD 614-239-8977 (voice)
60 North Harding Road 614-579-9855 (Cell)
Columbus, OH 43209-1524 mbkcons@gmail.com

site last updated Wednesday February 19, 2014