The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

In Defense of the Card Catalog

Whenever I am giving a tour of our Reading Rooms, or introducing a new Reader to our collection, I always make it a point to mention that we still have a card catalog room (two, in fact—one primarily for our printed collections, and one primarily for our manuscripts and art collections), which together hold forty separate series of cards. Left, the card catalog room primarily for the manuscript and art collections; right, the card catalog room primarily for the print collections.… Continue Reading

How to catalog 100,000 playbills (give or take a few thousand)

You’re probably aware that a significant amount of the Folger’s collection remains uncataloged; the majority of items have at least brief records in our online catalog Hamnet, but even today some collections are accessible only through the card catalog. We don’t like that any more than you do—we want all our materials to easily findable, in one place! However, we have so many materials and only a small staff, and we don’t want to put inaccurate information into the catalog just to have something there.… Continue Reading

Manuscripts in libraries: catalog versus finding aid

When searching for manuscripts at the Folger—or pretty much any special collections library—it helps to know that manuscripts often lead a double life. Many exist simultaneously as part of a library, and as part of an archive, and libraries and archives have different ways of collecting, organizing, and describing material. Libraries contain deliberately purchased items, and these items tend to be arranged in a human-devised order (“artificial arrangement” in Information Science jargon).… Continue Reading

Knowing your Adams from your Adams: decoding library catalog citations

Picture, if you will, a 16th-century Continental edition of Ovid, an 18th-century illustrated history of London, and a 19th-century book about the American west. Now picture which one of the three might be “in Adams.” Which one did you pick? Years ago, when I was doing dissertation research at the British Library Map Library, everyone in my circle knew that “Adams” referred to the standard bibliography of London topographical books published between 1604 and 1851.… Continue Reading

An evolution of cataloging at the Folger, from 1932 to today

Although the Folger Shakespeare Library officially opened on Shakespeare’s birthday in 1932 and readers began arriving at the Library in early 1933, it wasn’t until later that the idea of a proper card catalog for readers’ use was introduced. For the first few years of the library’s existence, staff relied on Mrs. Folger’s handwritten and typed cards created for each item she and Mr.… Continue Reading

Cataloging at the Folger: a Primer

When I meet people for the first time and they hear that I am a rare book cataloger, I can expect one or both of these questions: “What’s a rare book,” and “What is cataloging?” This crowd doesn’t need my expostulations on the first, but cataloging is just enough of an unknown that a primer may be in order. Library cataloging is the process of providing structured description and controlled vocabulary into bibliographic records, and of collecting these records into a system of some sort.… Continue Reading

Cataloging and preserving the Shakespeare collection

Cataloging and Preserving the Shakespeare Collection is a three-year project at the Folger Shakespeare Library funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Catalogers are working to create and upgrade definitive records for the Folger’s more than 5,000 Shakespeare works in print from the 18th through 20th centuries. In addition to cataloging the books and making the records available online, the project brings together a team of curators, conservators, and reference members in order to conserve the materials for future generations of scholars, with procedures such as sending high spot volumes for off-site deacidification, as well as housing vulnerable materials in phase boxes, to preserve structural integrity.… Continue Reading

Announcing a New Fellowship with the Omohundro Institute

The Folger is known for our Shakespeare collections, but our holdings support research on all aspects of British and European literary, cultural, political, religious, theatrical, and social history from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries: and that includes materials that document early modern interactions between women and men around the American and Atlantic worlds. The Folger Institute is proud to partner with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture on a new fellowship, dedicated to supporting studies of early America, broadly understood.… Continue Reading

Ben Jonson’s Library

While last week we brought up the anniversary of Ben Jonson’s first folio and discussed copies of this book that are held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, this week we’ll discuss Jonson’s library and his books at Folger. Jonson is listed in thirteen Hamnet records either as a “former owner” (when his ownership of the book has been confirmed), an “annotator” (when the book includes his annotations), or as an “associated name” (when his ownership is doubtful or has not been proven).… Continue Reading

Musae Faciles; or, an Oxford Study Guide

A guest post by Nicholas Tyacke Back in 2008, on the eve of directing a Faculty Weekend Seminar at the Folger, on “The University Cultures of Early-Modern Oxford and Cambridge,” I took the opportunity to consult the card catalog of manuscripts. As a result, and by a nice piece of serendipity, my eye lighted on Folger MS. V.a. 236, Musae Faciles or an Easy Ascent to Parnassus, written by John Crowther and dedicated to Ralph Verney.… Continue Reading

Page 1 of 612345...Last »