The Collation

Research and Exploration at the Folger

Posts Categorized: Cataloging

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

“Très-humblement”: Tracing the mysteries of a 1602 Dutch pamphlet

For more than a year now I have been working with volunteers on the Flemish holdings in the Folger. In the course of this project, we came across a small pamphlet, an anonymous booklet printed in 1602 (Folger DH110 K1196 Cage). The text is a response to another pamphlet and it indicates neither a place of publication nor a printer. But the flyleaves used by the binder of this little book tell a nice little story about the bookseller’s scene in Mechelen in the beginning of the 19th century.… Continue Reading

Picture cataloging: new rules for old

Ta daaaa! I’m happy to introduce to you Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Graphics)—DCRM(G) for short—the latest publication in a suite of manuals that provides descriptive cataloging rules for primary source materials in special collections libraries. The official announcement will be made by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries jointly with the Library of Congress, but I figure it’s okay to leak the news to Collation readers since I led the editorial team.… Continue Reading

Folger Tooltips: Hamnet access to e-books, part one

Greetings Dear Readers! Today’s tooltip introduces new e-book resources we are in the process of rolling out through Hamnet, including: ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB), a nonprofit online collection of over 3,700 current and recent titles in the humanities, “offering a curated titlelist, recommended and reviewed by scholars.” Early English Books Online and — in an exciting recent development — we are pleased to now also be a partner library of and to provide onsite access to the Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership, with full-text searchable access to transcriptions of tens of thousands of page images from the EEBO corpus.… Continue Reading

Two disciplines separated by a common language

I should have seen it coming when the Art History professor and the English professor started talking with each other about “print culture” (names omitted to protect reputations). It soon became clear that one had been talking about the circulation of printed pictures, the other had been talking about the circulation of printed words, and neither wanted to let on that they hadn’t been talking about both all along.… Continue Reading

The mysterious “Sem”

World, meet Sem. Sem, meet the World. Looks thrilled, doesn’t he? Well, you’d be a bit jaded, too, if you’d been hanging around the Folger for over 80 years, waiting for someone to finally notice you. It all began February 15, with a reference question from a colleague in London, “I am currently researching two volumes of drawings by an artist using the monogram SEM,” wrote Marcus Risdell, the curator at the Garrick Club.… Continue Reading

A manuscript misattribution?

This post was originally going to be titled “Murder in the Archives” and was going to be about an account in William Westby’s 1688 diary (Folger MS V.a.469) of the discovery of a dismembered body found scattered on a dung hill and in two “houses of easement” (latrines) in London, the revelation of which caused panic throughout the city. I often use Westby’s description of the murder and subsequent confession and punishment of a French midwife accused of killing her abusive husband on “diary day” in paleography class.… Continue Reading

The Folger’s Mazarinades: Libraries within Libraries

A guest post by Kathryn Gucer In 1652, Gabriel Naudé argued passionately for the importance of libraries and collecting books in a brief pamphlet, Advis a nosseigneurs de Parliament. Naudé repudiates a proposal by the parliament of Paris to break up and sell off the library of Cardinal Jules Mazarin, chief adviser to Louis XIV and the parliament’s arch enemy.… Continue Reading

A Geek-Peek at Folger “ART File” and “ART Box” Classification

One of the most fascinating books I read while working on my dissertation had nothing to do with the topic as such: It’s the 189-page “user’s guide” to the British Museum’s Department of Prints and Drawings, published in 1987. In it, Antony Griffiths and Reginald Williams matter-of-factly explain the dozens of schemes their department had used over the years in attempts to store, organize, and index prints and drawings.… 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