The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

“What manner o’ thing is your crocodile?”: June 2016

It’s the last day of the month, and our intrepid readers know what that means: mystery time! So for this month, we ask: why on earth would someone make a jumble of pictures of everyday items like this? And why all the numbers? As always, comment here with your thoughts and guesses, and we’ll be back next week with an explanation.… Continue Reading

What’s in a genre? Metadata, Controlled Vocabularies, and the Folger’s Digital Anthology

  Shakespeare’s plays are organized in the First Folio into three now familiar genre categories: Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories. Later scholars added a fourth, describing certain late plays like The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale that contain elements of both comedy and tragedy, along with fantastical features like magic, as “romance plays.” In organizing the 403 plays that make up the Folger’s Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama, we needed a few more than those four categories.… Continue Reading

Early Modern Edit-a-Thon

Have you noticed any new articles on Wikipedia lately? An average of 700-800 are added to the English-language Wikipedia each day.1 And recently, some of them were created right here at the Folger. On Friday, May 13th, the Folger held its first official2 edit-a-thon: despite the ominous date and intermittent thunderstorms outside, the Early Modern Edit-a-Thon was a success!… Continue Reading

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 of the many meanings of “collation” for which this blog is named).… 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.1 In other words, the part that looks like this in a Hamnet record, taking the record for the 1513 Venetian edition of Macrobius’s Commentaries on the Dream of Scipio as an example:2 Example of a “physical description” in a Hamnet record.… Continue Reading


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