The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Books

Signature statements in book cataloging

Today’s post returns to the cliffhanger at the end of Tuesday’s Physical description in book cataloging overview: if [4], CXXII leaves : ill. ; 31 cm (fol.) forms a complete physical description in a library catalog, then what’s up with a4 A-O8 P10 and where does it fit in? a4 A-O8 P10 is an example of a signature statement, sometimes also called a collation (one… Continue Reading »


Physical description in book cataloging

Does a4 A-O8 P10 make perfect sense to you? If so, please read on anyway. This isn’t a post on how to decode a collational formula. It’s a post about what to expect (and what not to expect) in the “physical description” portion of a library catalog record for a book. In other words, the part that looks like this… Continue Reading »


New STC call numbers for old

The Great Reclassification has begun! As some of you may know, all newly-acquired vault material at the Folger is shelved in the order it was accessioned except for publications that fall within the scope of  A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640 compiled by A.W. Pollard & G.R. Redgrave, better… Continue Reading »


Fallen Type

Those of you who replied to the Crocodile post last week guessed right: what you see in this image is a piece of fallen type that was printed by accident over a page of text being printed. The height of the type is approximately 24 millimeters, which is the standard height of type (the zooming… Continue Reading »


Formal designs

Did you solve last week’s crocodile mystery? It’s a sonnet! A visual representation of the phonetic structures of Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. XXIX, to be precise (rotated sideways to be extra-mysterious). The pattern was created by Marjory Bates Pratt in 1940, as one of her Formal designs for ten Shakespeare sonnets (Sh.Misc. 1128). In Pratt’s own… Continue Reading »



Shakespeare Documented, coming soon

It is almost 2016! For the Folger Shakespeare Library, that means we are about to kick off The Wonder of Will, 400 Years of Shakespeare, and one of the first initiatives we have planned as part of our year-long commemoration is Shakespeare Documented. When it launches in mid-January, it will be the largest and most authoritative resource for learning… Continue Reading »


The Secret History (of a publication)

Yes. As our readers quickly reported, this month’s mystery image is the imprint on Procopius’s The secret history of the court of the Emperor Justinian. In fact, it is the imprint of the very first English translation of Procopius’s Secret work. The history behind the Secret History is a tale in and of itself. Procopius of… Continue Reading »


“Extravagantly Large Paper”

While working on the exhibition “Age of Lawyers” (currently on view at the Folger Shakespeare Library), I came upon several interesting copies of Thomas Littleton’s Tenures, the first textbook written on English land law. There are five different copies of Littleton’s book printed in London 1588 and 1591 by Richard Totell. The text in all… Continue Reading »


“Beloveed Plays”: A Sammelband of 1680s Quartos & Its Readers

A Guest Post by Claire M. L. Bourne A major fringe benefit of systematically going through so many books (1,300+) at the Folger last year, looking for typographic conventions and experiments, was encountering traces of use and reading that have not been recorded in the copy-specific notes on Hamnet. Of all the books I consulted… Continue Reading »


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