No. 82: Introduction to Descriptive Bibliography
5 - 9 August 2002
Terry Belanger and Richard Noble
Julia Dupuis Blakely
Curator of the Course Museums
1) How useful were the pre-course readings? How successful was the advance use of the videotape, The Anatomy of a Book, as a teaching tool?
1: Reading list was helpful but difficult to understand fully until were actually doing the work in the classes. The videotape was helpful, although I had had some experience with the topic previously. 2: The pre-course reading was helpful. Although I did not completely comprehend Bowers, familiarity with it allowed me to navigate to the appropriate passage when needed. The videotape was a lot of fun -- and also very helpful with understanding formats, half-sheet imposition, &c. 3: Pre-course readings were absolutely necessary. The videotape was helpful: seeing as well as reading the information helps me learn. 4: The pre-course readings were extremely useful if not essential. I found the video very helpful. 5: The pre-course readings were essential. I highly recommend spending the weekend prior to the class re-reading the recommended chapters in Bowers. Do not spare the video practice paper -- do it over and over. The video makes it appear much simpler than it is. 6: They were extremely helpful, although the readings I found difficult to comprehend out of context. 7: The pre-course readings were painful yet useful. Bowers, however, was much more useful after the first lab session, since it was mostly "Greek" to me. The videotape was very helpful in demonstrating the gatherings and collations. 8: I thought the tape terrific -- and encourage the production of more -- and yes, the pre-course readings were pertinent. My regret is not having allotted more time for them. 9: All very helpful, necessary even. 10: TB's chapter "Descriptive Bibliography" was very clear to the non-professional. 11: The pre-course readings are both useful and important. You can't begin to have an intelligent discussion without some kind of common knowledge, and the readings do provide that. I thought the video was a helpful teaching tool (most especially because of the inclusion of the facsimile sheets, because I need to make things to understand how they work). 12: The pre-course readings and the video were essential as an introduction to the course. Pre-course work is essential as a leg-up to this difficult subject -- and the presence of these readings serves as a pretty potent indication of the level of seriousness (VERY HIGH) of the course. 13: Gaskell and Bowers were of course essential. TB's overview of the field from Jean Peters's book was a concise overview. Having some familiarity with the field, I found the videotape interesting, but of less value. 14: The pre-course readings were essential to success in the class. The video was a wonderful refresher before actually beginning description. 15: Pre-course readings were very necessary. The books lay all the groundwork. Video was useful and I was glad to have it. 16: The pre-course readings were absolutely essential. The video worked well as a teaching tool, but I watched it after having completed all the readings, so I had already gained a sense of format. 17: As many have said before, the pre-course readings were essential. By the time I got around to viewing the videotape, I had already learned the information given there from the other sources -- but the illustration of various formats, folds, &c. was still quite useful. 18: Some of the pre-course readings (mainly Bowers) was difficult to digest pre-course, but I believe that is the nature of the beast. The video was quite helpful. 19: Readings were mandatory (as described by all other evaluations). Probably advice to memorize Bowers would be helpful if humanly possible. Videotape is excellent and I will use it in my own teaching. 20: The videotape was very helpful. I watched it several times. Bowers was very heavy going and only began to make sense, even though I had been diligent about reading it, when confronted with the books in homework and through our discussions in lab. As someone with no knowledge of the book trade I found both Gaskell and McKerrow very helpful. 21: Essential to do the readings, as course began with an assumption of having done them. Videotape is helpful to view -- looking forward to part II!? 22: The readings were essential, and substandard familiarity with them would have been catastrophic, I think. Perhaps students should be asked to bring Gaskell with them to Charlottesville, if not to class. The videotape is good. 23: The pre-course readings were essential. The Anatomy of a Book video reviewed familiar territory for me, and it seems to do a good job of covering the material in a straightforward and concise way. 24: All readings were useful, Gaskell and Bowers the most essential in actual work. The tape (and enclosed materials) were very helpful in helping me visualize what I vaguely understood beforehand. The preliminary advices should really stress that you need to study Bowers, not just "read" him. 25: Pre-course readings were essential. Both for background history of the book and printing production, and also Bowers vital reading in preparation for class discussions, museums, and especially homework each day.
2) Were the course syllabus, exit reading list, and other materials distributed in class useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Yes!!! 2: Yes, all examples were and will be useful. 3: The materials provided were quite useful. I am looking forward to reviewing the homework correction sheets provided for each book and I am looking forward to referring to the reading list as I add to my own "books on books" collection. 4: Yes. 5: Because of the structure of the week, there was no time to read the syllabus during the week -- the exit list and museum list will be valuable as reference material. 6: Yes. 7: Yes. Even if I don't get to reading most of them, it helps to avoid having to take extra notes on books mentioned during the lectures. It should also serve as a good reference for future inquiries. 8: They should be useful -- I appreciated their being provided. 9: Extremely -- we received copies of everything. Exit list is fantastic. 10: They probably will be useful. 11: The exit list is a wonderful tool because it is so well organized (no hunting through the alphabet to find a book on the subject in which you are interested!). Also, it is particularly helpful to have a weighted list -- one where someone has taken great care to think about how useful the individual works on the list might be to someone just learning. 12: Very useful: thanks so much, in particular, for the full and compartmentalized bibliography. 13: The syllabus and reading list will continue to be of importance, both as reminders of material covered in the course and as guides for further study. 14: Yes, all the materials were very helpful. I do believe I will frequently use the reading list. 15: Yes -- especially exit reading list. 16: Again, the pre-course readings were unbelievably useful and ultimately interesting, though sometimes dense and difficult to apply without the hands-on experience we gain here. I look forward to perusing the exit reading list, as well as several other citations mentioned in class. However, the list is a bit daunting, and it will take me years to get some of the gems. 17: The course materials are staggering in their breadth, organization, and overall utility -- I'm sure they will serve as the core of my reference library for some time. 18: Yes. And I believe that the pre-course readings will be more useful for me now. 19: The exit reading list looks great, and I will probably use it to acquire some of these materials for teaching. Loved having written descriptions of books we worked on. I am hoping they will serve as a model for all the practicing I hope to do at home. 20: Yes. Very helpful. 21: I am glad to have so much of the course in print, and it will be useful to refer to at a later date. 22: Yes. I note the absence of Gaskell's From Writer to Reader -- not bibliography, but a favorite book for explaining exactly how literary texts pass through bibliographical process into the world...perhaps a course on "textual criticism" will someday be offered? 23: I think they will be, yes. 24: All the in-course materials were helpful, in my view, although the sheer number of them was a bit daunting -- still, this made any one manageable to deal with. "Exit reading list" much appreciated -- thanks! The work that went into planning this course was evident in the range and quality of the materials. 25: Yes -- all of these materials were of great use during class and will remain extremely useful to my work when I return home. The exit reading list is something I especially look forward to reviewing much more.
3) Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?
1: Yes. 2: Yes, I feel that the content was appropriate for an introductory course. 3: Yes -- a high level that also facilitated increasing my skills with homework assignments on a daily basis. What an intellectually stimulating week this has been. I've loved it. 4: Yes. 5: Rarely was I able to relate the lecture to the homework -- I spent the week missing the point. 6: Yes. 7: Perfect. 8: Unquestionably. 9: Absolutely. 10: Yes. 11: The intellectual level of the course was very appropriate -- and for me (since my pre-librarian training was as a historian) extremely engaging. TB and RN did a marvelous job of putting all of our information into historical context -- it all fits into its place over time. 12: The specific, detailed work was beautifully set in a larger context by both TB and RN, and their own extremely careful and precise way with words kept a sense of precision and intellectual "crackling" moving throughout the week. DG was always ready to enlarge our vision of our work in a very stimulating way. My brain feels very comfortably exercised. 13: Absolutely! 14-15: Yes. 16: Yes. This was a difficult course in that we were asked to move from semi-abstract pre-reading to an immediate application. Not only am I impressed by the instructors and their individual and combined knowledge and experience, I am also heartened by the caliber of my fellow students. 17: Yes. 18: Yes. Though at times we worked too quickly -- I understand the need. But it was (necessarily) a great deal of information to digest in a five day period. 19: Yes. It was wonderful to discuss this topic so intensively with people who actually were all speaking the same language. Unfortunately, it will be obscure jargon to the folks at home. 20: Yes. 21: Readings, lectures, and museums all contributed to appropriate levels, and I appreciate exit list for potentially increasing levels. 22: Suits me! 23: Yes. 24: Yes, challenging and interesting -- a nice variety of "theoretical" and related aspects, along with "practical," hands-on work -- I was extremely impressed by the expertise and presentations of lecturers and my preceptor. 25: Yes -- there was a nice balance of discussions, lectures, by both faculty and other students. I especially liked the good "mix" of backgrounds of everyone and their contributions to class each day.
4) To what extent did the Museums contribute to the success of the course? How could they have been improved? How useful to you were (or will be) the copies of the museum labels?
1: Museums and catalogs were a great help -- we were able to see examples of so many things we wouldn't normally encounter. 2: It was helpful to see so many examples of paper, binding, type, &c. 3: Their value to me was the opportunity for one-on-one hands-on experience. The catalog is a fine reference and teaching tool, itself. 4: I found the museums very useful; perhaps, to me, one of the most valuable concepts of the course. The experimental nature of the displays was excellent for the understanding of course content. 5: Excellent examples -- too little time. 6: I thought the museums were exceptionally helpful, especially the concluding one which demonstrated real books as described in real bibliographies. My only suggestion for improvement of them would be to somehow (and I'm not at all certain how this would be done) better prepare students for exactly what they will be encountering -- not on a specific level, but on a general level as to how to make the best use of each specific museum. I would have found some perfunctory remarks before each specific museum to be most helpful. 7: They were a great treat. However, it may be even more informative if more time was given to sufficiently go through them all. It may help to give a "mini" lecture on two-three items. 8: I liked the museums very much indeed -- my quibble might be that each offers so much that perhaps the number for each museum could be reduced so as to allow for more focus on each exhibit. 9: It was wonderful to see concrete examples. Maybe a little more explanation at the very beginning about how to go about it; how it relates to the other pieces of the course. 10: They added a nice variety to the course. Six hours daily is a lot of time and it was distributed well. 11: Having the Museum catalog ahead of time meant that I could choose what to look at. Again, because it helps me to make or handle things to understand how they work, I found the Museums very satisfying. It was sometimes hard to find particular Museum set-ups, though, since they are not arranged sequentially. I always wanted more time in the Museum! 12: Essential!! One has come away, largely as a result of the Museums, with a very full sense of The Book in all its aspects. Doing a lot of brain work (homework and lab sessions) creates a need for touchy-feeling work and the museums fill this need brilliantly. I adored the Paper Museum, but throughly enjoyed ALL of them once I fully understand the nature of these as physical DEMONSTRATION "labs." I'm not entirely happy with the name "Museums" since these were so non glass case and "dead object" oriented: they were very Living Object displays: but I don't really have a better name to offer. 13: The museums were tremendous. They afforded an opportunity to examine numerous examples that would otherwise not be available. The lab instructors were present to clarify confusing points. The cataloging annotations were generally engaging and intellectually challenging; though a percentage (small) were skimpy and relatively uninformative. 14: Museums were a nice part of the RBS day. It would be more helpful if the Museums could be setup in the order that they are numbered in the book. 15: Museums were wonderful (especially binding and printing). Sometimes it was difficult to see everything, so the companion catalog is useful to plan ahead. 16: The museums were the highlight of the course. More time would be appreciated, though I think the ratio of museum time to other activities was appropriate, considering the amount of material covered this week. 17: The Museums -- and especially the extensive catalogs -- were extremely useful -- though preparing for Museums, since there's so much to look at, might I suggest a museum exhibit about sewing (perhaps a stage or two akin to what's represented in the Jefferson bindings). 18: Museums were very useful; perhaps one of the most useful parts of the course in terms of my own circumstances. Museums could be improved by having some staff circulate more readily and assist with/demonstrate appropriate things. 19: The Museums were excellent. I am amazed at the variety and the quality of materials that the course had to choose from. I saw this as a special tribute to TB's hard work and tenacity. The admiration for his work that I came to this RBS class with was expanded daily by the rich resources we saw. I know how hard one works for donations. Nothing is free. 20: I found the Museums very enlightening but never had enough time to see everything I wanted. 21: The teaching tools viewed and handled were first-rate and made lectures come to life -- the most successful aspect of the course. 22: Very much so -- i.e. they contribute a lot. There were plenty of exhibits that represented exactly the wishes I'd had in the past -- e.g. "Why oh why cannot someone show me how to tell parchment from," &c. 23: The hands-on experience was valuable. 24: Nice adjuncts that also provided insight into related areas like bindings, printing, &c. -- perhaps try and integrate those a bit more into classroom work? Binding description is part of describing a book, after all. Still, this is an idea, not a complaint. 25: The Museums and their catalogs were of great value and interest to me each day as the hands-on element of what we were studying. I especially liked the variety of objects provided for our study on a closer level. It would be nice to possibly offer more time to view, perhaps in the evenings.
5) How successful were your format-and-collation labs? How effective was your lab instructor in conveying the material to be covered? How could the labs have been improved?
Julia Dupuis Blakely: 1: Labs were very useful (although I was initially somewhat overwhelmed and intimidated on Monday). The instructor patiently explained examples and gently helped us understand mistakes we had made (i.e. without making us feel like idiots!). There were times when discussion with lab partners would have been helpful (after Monday). 2: Having the homework sessions and labs allowed for exposure to the many varieties one will find in book structure. The instructor was able to explain the application of Bowers' principles effectually. 3: Highly successful. My instructor facilitated discussion and debate, as well as correcting homework in a professional manner that still made me feel good when I'd made mistakes! She shared her detailed knowledge of the topic with graciousness. 4: The format and collation labs were somewhat long, tedious, and obscure, but they served to quickly give me an understanding of the nature of descriptive bibliography. Our lab instructor was patient, clear, and helpful. 5: The labs were the only facilitated instruction during the course -- even then there was very little time for questions. The lab instructor was clear, concise, knowledgeable, reasonable, and personable. 6: I found JDB to be knowledgeable, and most helpful in terms of explaining the methodology and the logic behind it. I was especially appreciative of her patience when responding to questions asked of her. John Buchtel: 7: Very successful. Without them, I doubt I would grasp the concepts as clearly or retain them! Our instructor was very effective at explaining the "key points" of the exercise as well as added some informational facts about the books at hand. 8: My lab instructor was extremely helpful, patient (which I much required) -- and I thought the labs finally the core of the course -- going through the books, together with the formulas and collations, illuminated much that can be obfuscating on the page. David Gants: 9: They were, on the whole, quite good. Good environment to see how much/little you're understanding -- collegial, not critical. 10: This is really the heart of the course. The labs were excellent. It is easier to show someone how to tie a shoelace than to describe it in writing. 11: I really enjoyed the labs. DG was a wonderful lab instructor who brought great good humor (and all kinds of extra tidbits of information) to our labs. I enjoyed being able to look at my own descriptions in comparison to someone else's. We could really hammer out some of the reasons for making one choice over another, and it clarifies your thinking to have to justify what you've chosen to say about a book. 12: DG was fabulous: just the right combination of serious confrontation with the subject, and enough humor to keep us going with full determination. I'm not sure that the last "catch-up" session -- for us -- did what it was meant to: but we had a VERY useful and stimulating general conversation that for us was perfect. 13: Cohort groups were small enough to encourage participation. I would suggest imposing some structure on the final lab, perhaps using it as an opportunity to gather cohorts for broader discussion. Shef Rogers: 14: Labs were very encouraging. SR was excellent at explaining things that were not clear and quickly followed up on things that were questionable. 15: Labs were a core part of learning. SR was good at covering the accepted practices. I think labs could be better if more time were available for spending time with the books after the lab you discussed them in. It would be nice to daily go over the mistakes and questions; there is not enough time to do the next day's homework and spend time with "finished" books. 16: Again, I'm completely satisfied. SR was patient and deliberate. I looked forward to lab as a major learning component to sort through some of my cautious forays into bibliographical description. Sometimes it was difficult not to have instant feedback on homework, but the systematic follow-up in lab was quite instinctive. 17: The heart of the course. These were quite successful (and difficult!). My lab instructor was perfect -- friendly, comforting, well-informed, and authoritative. Would there be any use to suggesting (via a worksheet or other device) a step-by-step procedure for collating? 18: Format and collation labs were very useful. The lab instructor was effective. 19: SR was a great instructor -- he gave us the rules and the direction but didn't terrify us with it. I came expecting to feel STUPID here most of the time and -- although I made mistakes -- I really felt I was learning from them. I didn't want to hide what I didn't know. SR made admitting ignorance a way to learn, not an embarrassment. IMPROVEMENT? -- same old theme -- more TIME! David Whitesell: 20: In the beginning, highly stressful. When we became more comfortable, they were very useful learning tools. The lab instructor was very helpful in interpreting Bowers and also very supportive. The stress level was greatly reduced by his tact. 21: Labs were terrific for highlighting issues and introducing a variety of books; pacing of the labs the only thing that needed improvement. 22: As mentioned above, DW is a patient and effective leader and I've very seldom felt so much at ease having bibliography taught to me -- a thing that has been attempted on more than one occasion. 23: The labs are the heart of the course, and DW covered the material well, answered questions, and was encouraging throughout the process. 24: Very successful -- DW did an outstanding job of explaining, clarifying, and guiding us through the aspects of DesBib -- his knowledge and accessibility were major factors in the path to illumination. How about an introductory session with preceptors before we've actually done our homework? Might seal off some of the blind alleys we blundered into. 25: Our format and collation labs were quite a challenge, but very successful each day! It was very informative and helpful to not only have one instructor's careful insights and expertise available for any questions, but also classmates'. Their time and patience was very much appreciated. Lab instructor was excellent.
6) What did you like best about the course?
1: I learned more than I ever imagined on this topic. 2: I now have a grasp on collation formulas. 3: Learning this hard topic in a wonderful, enjoyable, professional environment. The expertise of the RBS staff is phenomenal. 4: I most enjoyed the experimental aspect of the course; the excellent teaching collections well-presented in the museums, especially. All aspects of book history and historical texts abound at RBS facilities. 5: The museums and the labs. 6: Excluding having to "perform" at the white board (!), I found the labs to be the most helpful aspect of the course, as it was during these times that things began to "come together." I also found the museums to be extremely helpful in that they provided actual examples of those things previously described in lectures, some of which I might not have had an opportunity to see otherwise. 7: I really enjoyed the eloquent and comedic lectures by the dynamic duo: TB and RN! Love the stories! 8: The quality of the instruction and the scope with which the subject was treated, i.e., that descriptive bibliography is more than being able to produce certain symbols in a proscribed fashion. 9: Excellent balance of: lecture -- demonstration -- practicum. The food! 10: The labs. 11: I liked the labs very much because I really enjoyed the give and take with our lab instructor and with the other members of my cohort. The course has its own internal rhythm and you get very caught up in that structure as the week goes on -- and every day builds on what came before. 12: The sense I have received of The Book as a multilayered object into which has flowed numerous disciplines. All this, on the beautiful UVa campus, surrounded by interesting and witty people. Thanks also for the break times, which were generously laid out and allowed time for discussion, networking, and cool-down. 13: 1) The organization. 2) The level and quantity of the material covered. 3) The availability of numerous examples of books and things of one sort or another. 14: The best thing about this course is the labs. It is at this point that the DesBib student is able to see every other element of the course come together. 15: The homework. Nothing is quite as effective a learning tool as doing what you have read and talked about. I also liked the printing and collator demonstration. 16: Museums. 17: Oddly enough...the homework. There was more of it than I expected (three hours or more on nights that there was homework), and it was more difficult than I expected -- but I now feel like I have the rudiments of a necessary language. 18: The hands-on aspect of the course, both in Museums and in the homework and lab periods. The overall structure and intensity of the course makes the experience especially satisfying. 19: The mix -- lectures, lab, museums, homework. The pace was good -- hard, tiring, challenging -- but good. The hour and a half periods for activities was about right, except for homework -- where I spent four or more hours in the library and then more in my room. 20: Everything. The lectures were stimulating, the homework and labs such an effective teaching device, the museums so informative, and the food and social interaction at breakfast and break time so good -- all added up to an amazing experience. 21: Variety of techniques used to teach the content, hands-on time with materials. Brought issues dealt with professionally out in a structured setting, which was useful. 22: Actually I passed through each "period" thinking, "THIS is the best part" -- lab, lecture, museum, and homework (well, probably one of the first three...). I've learned an enormous amount in this wonderful school. 23: Split decision: I enjoyed the lectures more, but learned more in the labs. 24: 1) Expertise of all the teaching staff and preceptorial faculty (DW). 2) Opportunity to handle lots of old books -- ("hands-on" work indeed). 3) Preceptor's knowledge and ability to lead us, while also encouraging us. 25: I thoroughly enjoyed TB's and RN's lectures each day and found all the discussions very fascinating. I enjoyed learning about everything discussed, the vocabulary, the paper, the bindings, the methods of production, and especially the methods of bibliography. It has provided me with much-needed background for my work and my personal interest in the field. I have been given a very great opportunity this past week in which to learn and have a refreshed look at the work I do now and in the future.
7) How could the course as a whole have been improved?
1: I can't think of any way to improve upon excellence. 3: Sorry -- can't think of any improvements. 4: Perhaps the course could be better presented over a longer time-frame, if that were possible. Lab periods or lectures that offered discussion, or more discussion, would better facilitate learning. 5: Simple directions at the beginning of homework or in the first lecture, including a demonstration of handling rare books, using a cradle, and wanding a page [using a Zelco fluorescent lantern] in a small bound book would have gone a long way toward reducing frustration. 6: I would have found it to be especially beneficial if there could have been some more extensive, formalized, initial introductory session or sessions, the purpose of which would have been to promote some context (explanation??) for the readings we had done prior to class. (I did not feel I got this until the labs, themselves, by which point the "homework" had already been done.) At least for me, the homework would have been much more meaningful (and a far more constructive use of the time spent, if I had previously been provided with some form of demonstration as to how one approached, for example, constructing a collation formula vis a vis an instructor taking a few books and actually doing a formula on a white board. I realize (I think!) that the idea behind the methodology employed of having us figure it out for ourselves is one that some might find helpful, again, at least for me, given the exceptionally limited time frame of one week, I would have preferred not to have wasted my time on making the number of errors that I did that were basically as a result of misinterpreting the readings. I believe that having had an opportunity to actually see how someone with knowledge of the subject matter would go about approaching the task at hand would (I'd at least like to hope!) have precluded a good deal of misinterpretations. As a result, I would have found the homework to be extensive opportunities to practice rather than exercises in interpretation of readings in a subject heretofore totally unknown to me. 7: Less homework and more time for Museum Night. It would also be nice to see UVa's "Special Collections" section. 8: The number of books dealt with were, for my tortoise-like pace, overwhelming. I would have preferred fewer books (and not worrying about getting "through" "X" number -- which I never did). 9: A few minor adjustments -- 1) time the lectures better so the material for the day is covered, and you don't have to race through anything the following day. Even longer lectures maybe -- there's so much to cover. And it's all interesting. 2) In museum -- split the Jefferson bindings into two or three stations. An entire section does not have enough time to see them all when they are all in one place. 10: I have no concrete suggestions. But some of us do not know what AACRL, ESTC, SHARP, DCRB, &c. mean! 11: I would explicitly encourage students to bring not just Bowers but also Gaskell (I forgot my Gaskell at home and wished for the imposition tables). Other than that, the course was a model of organization. 12: I think it was excellent in all ways. Everything was done to make us feel comfortable, and yet the professional aspect was always there in full regalia: collegial but not cozy: and I think this is a crucial distinction. The way in which we were always treated as individuals: name tags, names on workbooks, name plates at lectures, &c. was a very beautiful way of keeping in full focus one of the main parts of the ethos of this course (and, it would seem, of RBS in general): that the learning being done is for oneself -- not for the teacher, not for the job -- for you, yourself. Superb! I also want to say a word about how beautifully TB and RN worked as a team, and somehow knowing how to keep the pace moving well: TB, the raconteur, RN, the precise, generous perfectionist, and obviously so very fond of each other! Thanks so much gents. 13: I'm interested in the relevance of descriptive bibliography to c20 imprints. Perhaps this would best be addressed in a separate course. 14: Why mess with perfection? 15: I think the course runs like a well oiled machine. Lots of preparation is involved in many different areas and it shows. 16: I can't add anything here. I appreciated the structure, the efficiency of the staff, and the seamless transitions. This is an impressively orchestrated organization. 17: I'm not sure that the lectures were always integrated into the subject of that day and work (though always interesting and certainly valuable!). Would there be some way to get students to try writing a collational formula for some shared book (Carter?) Prior to coming to RBS (as homework)? 18: The course was excellent. It was very useful and informative. But to state that this is a thirty hour week is not true -- I was not disappointed in any way, but the literature on the course might further illustrate its intensity (without frightening anyone away!). 19: Maybe five books instead of six...or six or seven days instead of five. Perhaps run class Monday through Saturday? Also, if homework is three nights out of five, schedule homework Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and have Wednesday to sleep. Having the hardest work on the day you are most tired makes the work even more challenging. 20: A workbook to interpret Bowers? 21: Had a hands-on opportunity to try the common press (should be required), but how about a similar session in basic binding techniques (i.e. sewing, lacing in boards) as this would help conceptualize what we are working out in the homework and labs. 22: The only thing I can think of is: the conflict between getting lunch and seeing the important demonstrations is frustrating. 23: I would have liked a bit more guided instruction before beginning the homework. 24: Perhaps stress the study not "reading" of Bowers? Perhaps cut the number of books for each homework from six to four or so? I found the sheer number of them made for time-pressure in my homework that worked a bit against a real "study" of some books. Allow more time for discussion of "descriptive" aspects like bindings that are a big part of the descriptive work we do in the real world at our jobs. But these are just ideas -- I was very pleased with the course! 25: As much as I appreciate the amount of work we covered and the great amount of organization involved, there were many times I felt I had to choose time slots, especially around meal times, which at times was a difficult decision because I didn't want to miss anything! The homework took much of the evening time and there was no dining hall open on campus for dinner.
8) If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?
1: I attended Sunday and found it, the information, useful and interesting. I would like to have attended Monday, but was feeling compelled to start the homework. 2: I attended both lectures -- both were enjoyable. 3: Yes. 4: Definitely...in fact these lectures by TB added perspective by taking an overview/look at the structure of RBS enterprise and the seriousness of the undertaking. 5: Monday seemed to be a repeat of Sunday -- I was looking forward to hearing more about the Armstrong display. 6: Somewhat, although I wish there had been more emphasis placed on the philosophy behind rare book bibliographical description and a little less on the history behind the RBS, itself. 7: Yes, always a treat. 8: Yes. 9: Sunday only -- interesting to understand the present and past situation of RBS. 11: Both the Sunday and Monday night lectures were worth attending (although on Monday I did feel the pressure of knowing that I had to get back to working on format and collation statements). I truly enjoyed the brochure from the Monday night lecture (the evolution of those descriptions became more amusing as the week progressed). 12: Yes: I enjoyed hearing more information on RBS at UVa and its Columbia background. 14: The Sunday and Monday lectures were very interesting and gave me a better idea of the history of RBS and BAP. 15: Yes -- very interesting to learn about RBS beginnings and growth. 16: Yes. Monday night I was already too tired to be completely engaged, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. 17: Yes -- I was grateful for TB's history of RBS and its collection on Monday night especially. 18: Yes. I attended both lectures. They were both interesting and informative. 19: Attended both and found TB's comments interesting as always. I had hoped for more focus on Margaret Armstrong in the Monday night lecture just because she is a personal interest. 20: Yes. 21: Yes, appreciated learning about RBS in context, especially as a first-time attendee. 22: Certainly, and I was very interested in the inner workings of RBS, which these talks dictated. 23: I attended Monday's lecture and enjoyed it, but can't say that I remember a word of it. (This is likely due to DesBib brain overload and not a reflection on the lecture itself.) 24: Yes, but the time spent here was time "lost" from homework and actual description work on the books. 25: Yes -- these lectures were especially interesting and stimulating and provided a sense of how we got here and where are we going -- especially Monday lecture.
9) If you attended Museum Night on Wednesday, was the time profitably spent?
1: Yes. 2: Only briefly, I had homework to do. 3: Did homework instead. 4: Yes, Museum night was great. 5: There was no time to attend any extracurricular activities, including an evening meal and a good night's sleep. (We were highly encouraged to attend the Monday lecture, or I would have been in the library working on homework.) 6: I was unable to attend as I was doing homework. 7: Yes, but I did not have enough time for nearly half of the items. TB's demonstration of the Linotype was almost as thorough as the video. 8: I was counting pages! 9: Yes -- again, very interesting to see things in 3D. The color lithography book is amazing. And the Linotype (too bad it's in pieces) quite fascinating. 10: The St Jerome volume is beautiful. 11: My favorite part of Museum night was seeing the Linotype demonstration, and Jane Eyre. Again, I wished for more time, but homework was calling (as TB said any number of occasions, "Life is choice"). 12: I came late (homework!!), and was sorry for this, for the displays were wonderful. I don't think the content of Museum Night was made clear enough, or I would have organized my time to give myself more time there. 13: TB's discussion of Linotype and Monotype was particularly interesting. The Jane Eyre display was fun. The greater the opportunities for RBS to show its treasures, the better. 14: Museum Night was very interesting. I am glad I attended. 15: I was only there for a short time, but it looked interesting and I would have liked to have stayed longer. Alas, homework awaited. 16: I didn't allow enough time to really investigate objects -- I just gave the room a quick once-over. Museum Night was in competition with my homework, which I felt I needed to conquer. I did appreciate the new books shelf, and noted some titles I had missed in the last year. 17: The Museum Night was my second favorite experience -- I especially loved seeing the various illustration blocks/plans and the "Heart-o-Linotype." 18: Yes. I wish that I had more time to look at the materials -- I would have if I hadn't been so bogged down with homework. There is no easy way to solve this issue. There are only so many hours in a day. 19: LOVED IT. Hated to give it a shortened time, but it really conflicted with homework. I spent almost two hours there -- didn't feel like I saw everything -- then back to homework -- ate dinner at 10 and then did more homework 11:30 - 1:45 am. Would have preferred Museum night on an evening NOT the most complex homework night. 20: No time -- homework took it all, which was a regret. 21: Yes, opportunity to see new books, video collection, and other goodies not in our DesBib museums was of great value. 22: Yes -- it's rare I get to see any Linotype machines operated. 24: Yes, a very interesting adjunct to prior mentions -- and a chance to see how a Linotype machine worked and fondle a c15 book in the same room! Where else could that happen? Definitely time well spent! 25: Sorry, I could not attend (had dinner and did homework). I would have liked to have gone :( -- next time :)?
10) Did you get your money's worth? Any final thoughts?
1: My money's worth and much more (although I will let you know for sure when I get a job)! Final thoughts -- I'll never forgive my colleagues who attended previously and didn't give me a copy of their collator. 2: Definitely got my money's worth. This is a tough class for five days but well worth it. 3: Absolutely. I look forward to returning again and again. Advice: believe the statement that required reading be done. And take the class -- it's wonderful. 4: I thought the course offered much on the qualitative and collegial level, something difficult to put a dollar-value on. It definitely was time well-spent. 5: My high expectations of hours of assisted learning in a nurturing environment met the rude reality of counting and adding for hours on end with no instruction or systematic approach. I'm proud that I finished the class, that I was a team player, and that I worked to the best of my ability. I know now that the descriptive bibliography class format is not a good learning environment for me, and I will be much more selective when choosing future instructional opportunities. 6: Yes, I do feel finally as if I got my money's (or the university's money's!) worth as I now know something I had previously suspected might be the case: i.e., that I would love to be involved in bibliographical description "for real!!!" My intention is to go back and (on my own time, not the university's!), take the time to extrapolate from Bowers (in the form of some type of Word document?) the actual "instructions" and applicable examples without the in between discourse that is contained in the book. At least for me (and now having a fairly good idea of what I will be looking for) this will be most useful!! 7: Definitely, read Gaskell and then Bowers, then re-read Bowers again, and again, and.... Bring both books with you. Plan to stay longer if you want to visit the sites -- here's the formula: free time=homework=no time. 8: Yes -- it's a great course. 9: Since I (very fortunately) received full funding, I have to answer a resounding -- yes. I don't know how I would feel if it cost me close to $1000.00. It was definitely an extremely worthwhile week, packed with information and ideas. And will be of enormous help as I teach. Advice -- take advantage of all the resources here that you can (and there are many). 10: The printing press demonstration during lunch time was frustrating. I never got to it. In general, the course was a very good experience. The time was for me well spent. Excellent! 11: Absolutely. I can't wait to come back. My advice to other students would be to take the preliminary reading advice very seriously -- the course only works as well as it does if everyone is prepared. Also, expect to work really hard in this class, but it is really worth the energy you will put into it. 12: This was a very full, satisfying week. One should (and the preliminary material certainly stressed this, but I want to underline it) be prepared, for this course at least, to give oneself up fully to the material. I could not have learned this arcane subject -- AND its larger ramifications -- I am sure, in any other way. It's a very particular kind of vacation, and I am glad that I was prepared in advance to clear my head and dive in. Certainly not for the fainthearted. 13: Absolutely! 14: I do believe I "got my money's worth." I met some very nice people and learned about a subject I was interested in. Advice: time management and priorities are the key to success when trying to plan your RBS day. 15: Yes. Persons taking the class should know they will have very long days. After the eight to five stuff there are the activities and there is homework. Expect at least 12 hour days. Catch up on your sleep before you get here. Other advice -- read everything, then read it again. 16: 1) Money's worth -- SURE, most definitely. This session was subsidized by my library, though future attendance will not be. However, I do intend to spend my own money next summer. 2) Advice -- 1) spend time considering those pre-readings and let them sink in. Don't rush and read them the week before class. 2) Stay on the Lawn (I intend to next time). 3) Schedule time before/after the week to explore Charlottesville. It's an interesting and tantalizing region so out of reach during the week! 17: ABSOLUTELY -- though, of course, I wish it were less. Like so many others who've taken this course I can't emphasize enough the importance of doing the homework. Students should be prepared for an experience not unlike a language immersion course, with its combination of (a little) tedium, (a little more) anxiety, but a lot of exhilaration at seeing new fields of information and knowledge open up -- not to mention everything you learn from colleagues, from meeting new colleagues. 18: Yes, this course was certainly worth my time and money. My advice for anyone considering the course is -- come prepared to learn. Do not plan anything during the week -- simply surrender yourself to the course and you will be very glad that you did. 19: Absolutely worth the money. Advice is the same I heard: do all the pre-class reading, prepare to work very hard. What I didn't hear: drinks lots of water, especially if you come from somewhere where 75 degrees is hot for you, lose weight so you look better in skimpy clothes, and be prepared to carry around Bowers, Gaskell, two workbooks/museum catalogs (you will need them!). An additional comment: this is my second RBS class and I hope to come annually for a while if I can. Although I have admired TB's work over the many years he has been fighting the good fight on behalf of the physical book and education on the topic, this class (and perhaps the combination of my advanced age and length of library employment -- 34 years -- in similar but much less and effective ways) has given me a new appreciation for the work TB has done and continues to do. Thank you TB from all the people who believe in this cause but could not have shouldered the responsibility for being a major leader in the field. I vote you a national living treasure! 20: Yes, definitely. Read Bowers repeatedly. 21: Yes, class is worth taking, especially as an "entry level" course into RBS. Would certainly take another course (or several) in the future. 22: Yes. Please identify the author of Brunelleschi (used as handout in lecture on "Paper") -- extraordinary fustian. 23: I think so. 24: To others: Do the reading -- carefully! Study Bowers. This was a fantastic experience for me, overall, which I'm very grateful to have had. I'm looking forward to other classes in years to come. This was a very tough and demanding week, but a rewarding one -- "boot camp for bibliophiles and bibliographers," indeed. 25: Yes! I am leaving RBS with a renewed sense of what I do each day as a professional; and again, thank you all for this great week and opportunity!
Number of respondents: 25
|Institution gave me leave||Institution paid tuition||Institution paid housing||Institution paid travel|
|I took vacation time||I paid tuition myself||I paid for my own housing||I paid my own travel|
|N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off||N/A: self-employed, retired, or exchange||N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home||N/A: lived nearby|
There were thirteen rare book librarians (52%), two general librarians with some rare book duties (8%), two teachers or professors (8%), two full-time students (8%), two part-time students (8%), one archivist or manuscript librarian (4%), one general librarian with no rare book duties (4%), one antiquarian bookseller (4%), and one book-collector (4%).