Rare Book School Summer 1998

Terry Belanger and No. 44: Introduction to Descriptive Bibliography
3-7 August 1998

James Davis
Bibliographical Counsellor at Large

Julia Blakely, Peter-john Byrnes, David Gants, Shef Rogers, Tim Rogers, David Whitesell
Lab Instructors

Anthony Pirnot
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: Very useful, but needed more on format. 2: I agree with past students - rearrange the reading order - use the tape first, look at TB's article, Gaskell, then Bowers. Do breathe when you read Bowers. 3: Pre-course readings were essential. The videotape was helpful. I would have appreciated the opportunity to get a copy of TB's article through BAP rather than buying a second-hand copy of Book collecting: a modern guide, though copyright may prohibit that. [It would. - Ed.] 4: A good blend of terror-inciting and useful. Bowers, however, was least useful as a pre-course reading, only because of the great difficulty in grasping collation without the benefit of a physical item in hand. 5: Our Desbib readings were pertinent, although they were very difficult to get through without continuous examples. Working through the texts during the week provided better understanding. 6: The videotape was helpful, as were the paper samples. The reading was far too detailed. Bowers was the worst introduction to a subject that I have ever encountered. It needs condensation and re-editing as a reference book. It is off-putting and pompous, and the typography and the index are terrible. 7: Having the video in advance was not necessary. It was good to have at RBS as a refresher. Readings were very. 8: Pre-course readings were essential to dealing with the course - Carter was a lot of fun, as well as informative. The videotape and its accompanying papers for folding were very helpful. 9: The readings were crucial to being able to participate in the course. Without them, one would be lost. I enjoyed the videotape when I saw it here and found it useful, but I must note that I did not receive a copy of the tape on loan before the course, although I had requested one. 10: I would have crashed and burned without the aid of the pre-course material. 11: The warning that "if the reading and advance preparation wasn't done, don't bother to come" made certain that I did attempt to read in advance. But I did not have access to Gaskell, and decided instead of buying both Gaskell and Bowers, just to order Bowers - as suggested. But Bowers was fairly dense - and my advance materials, except for the tape on Format, never arrived. Gaskell would have been better. Fortunately, I found a copy of McKerrow and read that, thinking it would substitute. But I think that the collation work required more detailed knowledge of accepted techniques than I had acquired from my advance reading. So I had to spend too much time learning the basics during the course. 12: Useful; however, I never did locate a copy of Marks in books - I'm still looking. 13: a) Reasonably. b) Not much. 14: Very useful. 15: Very useful, including the videotape. 16: The videotape and accompanying workbook were very helpful. You might want to clarify which facsimile to fold at which time - I know they're marked, but the marks are very small. Bowers is formidable on a first pass - maybe a one-page summary of what we're to expect would help. Gaskell seemed quite accessible. 17: The only readings that were absolutely necessary for the course were Bowers and Gaskell (in that order). TB's article was a good introduction to them. The advance use of the videotape would not have been necessary. Of the entries in Carter, only a few were directly concerned with the contents of the course. 18: The pre-course readings were useful. It may have been good to stress even more the importance of reading Bowers (twice, like Carter). 19: The pre-course readings, especially Bowers, were essential; the tape was very useful. 20: The pre-course readings were essential. The videotape was useful, but not critical for understanding the concepts of Desbib. 21: The pre-course readings are essential. I'm glad I did as instructed and read through it all prior to coming. 22: Carter was very helpful, but Bowers was hard to understand until we actually started doing the formulas. The videotape was also quite good for explaining format. 23: The readings were decent, though the shortfall of illustrations or examples in Bowers made the text more difficult for a greenhorn to understand than it should. 24: Prerequisite. 25: Bowers was essential. Gaskell helped elucidate many Desbib points in a telegraphic fashion and added the interesting information on the history of printing and the book trade. Carter - one can read selectively and certainly no need to read twice. Terminology, as applied to one's knowledge of Carter, was not a stumbling block. The video was very useful for visualizing paper folding. 26: The pre-course readings were very useful, though Bowers is tough. The videotape was excellent. I appreciate that we all read them and didn't need spoon feeding. 27: Very useful - video was helpful. 28: All the advance course work was helpful, with the exception of the videotape. I found that to be a bit superfluous. 29: The videotape was excellent, as was the accompanying roll of materials. Carter was excellent. The article in Book collecting was a useful review of the tape. Bowers was a pleasure to encounter, though I would agree that it needs to be redone. 30: Very useful. Bowers and Gaskell were indispensable. The video was also very good. 31: I would have been absolutely lost without the pre-course readings. The videotape was helpful because I could see what was being talked about. 32: Pre-course readings were imperative; I found the videotape to be extremely useful in helping me to visualize the physicality and meaning of format. The tape mentioned a second video on collation which I never received, but would like to view before taking this course. [It hasn't been made yet! -Ed.] 33: Both were essential. 34: Pre-course readings were excellent and absolutely mandatory. Video and workbook were very helpful indeed. 35: Very helpful in acquainting one with what to expect from the course, although obviously Bowers makes more sense while one is doing the work!

2) Were the course syllabus, Trost-Büchel lab workbook, 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: I hope the reading list will be useful - it looks well-prepared. References are often made to the list. 3: Yes - I particularly appreciate the extensive exit bibliography. 4: Extremely useful. 5: Very useful. Perfect for later. 6: The course syllabus was useful - very well organized. The exit bibliography will be very helpful. 7: The exit list is fantastic - I will pass it on to colleagues - very much a resource. 8: Yes. 9: Yes, the course was useful, and I expect that the exit reading list will be useful to me later on. 10: Yes. 11: Perhaps a slightly more extensive syllabus handbook, with a one or two sentence description of the purpose, content, and scope of the material to be covered. 12: Yes, knowing what to read and the quality of the material is always a problem if your are self-instructing. 13: Yes. 14: Extremely useful. 15: Yes. 16: Yes. I did find myself confused as to where to be on Monday morning at 8:30 - perhaps this should be stressed earlier. 17: Yes. 18: Yes, extremely. 19: These were all highly informative and well-organized resources: they'll certainly be useful in the future. 20: All the materials were useful, the exit reading list will be more so in the future. 21: Very helpful. I have started to use them already. 22: I think they were all quite useful now and will also continue to be referred to in the future. 23: Very useful. 24: Yes. 25: The exit reading list will provide a superb reference - thanks for doing all the work for me! The most valuable portions of the syllabus were the index to Bowers and the syllabus itself. I didn't refer to the 3-D Carter checklist, although I examined all of the 3-D Carter. WHAT Trost-Büchel workbook? 26: Yes. 27: The exit list is a great idea!!! The workbook type stuff was a bit confusing. The syllabus was a great map of the week. 28: I think that they may come in handy in the near future. 29: The exit reading list will divert me from idle pastimes for years to come. 30: Yes. 31: Yes - they are going into my reference library. 32: I imagine that they will be useful in the future. 33: Yes. 34: Yes, extremely so. I will be able to make good use of this material and feel I have come away with something concrete in addition to the material I have learned. 35: I am particularly excited about the exit reading list. It will be invaluable to me as I tailor my reading. It will help me to target specific areas and will certainly contribute to my education in rare books.

3) Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?

1: Yes. 2: Yes - challenging. It's good to get the brain thinking! 3: Yes. 4: Ab-so-lutely! 5: Actually, I feared most that everyone would be much further along and that TB and RN would talk over our heads. My fears were totally unfounded. JB was a terrific lab instructor. The cohort match was perfect. 6: Too much detail, too much material. Lack of opportunity for discussion within the lectures and other situations, except labs. No time to discuss questions of methods, such as the ideal copy in practice. 7: The course had more of an expository nature - that is, it was information (some of which I knew, some not). I would not say that the intellectual level was an issue. 8-10: Yes. 11: The format and collation was definitely right - especially for my slightly deficient preparation. Perhaps some of the content of the final lecture could have been presented in an opening lecture to provide more structure to the other topics. 12: Absolutely! 13: Yes - with the proviso that Bowers is not a system of logic and not a philosophy, simply a means of describing what you see. It would be fair to describe the intellectual level of the course as appropriate. 14-15: Yes. 16: Yes, challenging and fun. 17: Yes, but be prepared to know your Bowers (especially Chapter 5) fairly thoroughly already on arrival. 18-19: Yes. 20: Yes. It was just challenging enough, without provoking thoughts of suicide. 21: Very appropriate. I considered the course to be very much on my level except for the lectures, which I considered not helpful at all. 22: Yes. I'm coming away from this course feeling like I have a good foundation for further study; I'm not overwhelmed. 23: The level of the course was right on target. 24: Yes. 25: Yes, especially since cohort members appeared to be selected by virtue of their background and experience, i.e., none at all vs. professionals. 26: Yes. 27: Yes! 28-31: Yes. 32: I thought that it was a good amount to cover in the given time frame. I worked one to two hours per night, sometimes at lunch, going over homework problems and reviewing Bowers and Gaskell. 33: Yes. 34: Yes. It did not presume a greater knowledge than one had, but it did not patronize. 35: Yes.

4) To what extent did the Museums (and the BAP Classroom reference book collection and 3-D Carter) contribute to the success of the course? How could they have been improved?

1: Useful, but needed more time on format. 2: The Museums were great; however, the first Museum suffered a logjam at stations 4-5. For the more difficult/time-consuming items, multiple setups should be made. 3: Museums, classroom collection, and 3-D Carter were very useful. 4: The 3-D Carter could be improved by textual definitions for the non-Carter items in the workbook; I couldn't grasp a number of items, even by seeing the item. Example: Ticknor & Fields binding - couldn't tell from the sample if it was the gilt, the color of the cloth, design, &c. EVERYTHING SHOULD HAVE A DEFINITION IN 3-D CARTER! 5: I needed just a bit more time, with fewer folks about, to run through 3-D Carter, but found it very useful. It's too bad there is such limited space. I felt a bit claustrophobic with so many folks around. I made it through, but hurriedly. 6: The excellence of the Museums is a great contribution to the course. The relevance and scope of the collections are remarkable. but more time in which to absorb the information is needed. Some permanent aides-memoires would be helpful, i.e., photographs on Xeroxed handouts. 7: The Museums/BAP materials are fantastic and obviously the result of a lot of hard work. Excellent as supplements. 8: Very much. My only regret was that the Museums couldn't stay on display for longer and that there wasn't more time for them. The 3-D Carter was great. Trost-B|chel sheets were good for making sense of imposition. 9: For me, they were the most useful part of the course. They allow you to acquire a great deal of hands-on experience in a very short time. They give you concrete reference points that you can build on later. You may not remember everything, but you will be able to recognize things when you encounter them later. While overall I thought that the Museums were the most valuable part of the course, sometimes in individual exhibits it was hard to determine the take-away point. I found this particularly true of the Jefferson bindings, where there was more information for each than one could comfortably absorb in the course of the Museum. 10: It was nice to be able to look at something other than my incorrect attempts at collation. I enjoyed them. 11: Museums were very important - essential. I went from total mystification about the type mold to mastery of its subtle construction and operation in about five minutes - then watched in amazement as I found myself explaining same to one of the lab instructors who appeared never to have studied one before. (I now suspect he was pulling my leg!) One or two demonstrations during the Museum sessions? 12: I came to have hands-on experience with books I don't often see. 13: a) A great deal. b) More complicated or difficult subjects could have been included at the expense of some of the simpler items in the Museum. 14: Excellent supplement to other teaching methods. Extremely well organized. 15: The Museums were well-done and interesting. The Printing/Binding/Illustration Museum was overwhelming, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Regarding 3-D Carter, future Desbib classes might more specifically direct students to 3-D Carter examples. Possibilities include cancel stubs, incomplete gatherings, &c. I'm not suggesting changing 3-D Carter; rather the superb resource of 3-D Carter could be better integrated into the course. 16: They are really excellent. That kind of hands-on (generally!) access is essential, and the staff was knowledgeable and helpful. 17: The Museums and other visual components used during the course were quite important - rereading Gaskell and Carter is much easier when you have seen live specimens of punches, matrices, types, moulds, different types of bindings, &c. 18: There was one day where I would have liked to stay after 5 to go through more items in the Museum. 19: Immensely. I should have welcomed more time in the Museums - couldn't they stay on display until 6 pm (and the lectures start later in the evening)? 20: They were very helpful. 21: The Museums were some of the best bits of the course. Work at my own pace and got many ideas for further study. 22: It would be nice to have copies of some of the descriptions which accompanied the objects in Museums. The 3-D Carter material was a bit cramped. 23: They provided very good visual examples. The only thing I would add would be examples in the Museum keyed to passages in Bowers to provide a like between the physical examples and his text. 24: Outstanding collections: able to focus selectively on materials, e.g., leather, cloth, celluloid, and make comparisons. This is the only example of a c17 embroidered book that I've experienced by handling. 25: Immensely. One of the cornerstones of the course is the ability offered to one to see, handle, sniff, evaluate the real thing. Unlike slides, it rendered most everything intellectually accessible. 26: The materials were excellent and very useful. They provided a level of educational experience (hands-on contact with hard-to-find examples) that far exceeded my expectations. 27: Absolutely essential to the course. The lab instructors could each have manned a complex station to give a more active explanation of a particular work or process. 28: The Museums were very helpful, a good effort on the staff's part. 29: The Museums were wonderful, but type, bindings, and illustration was too much for one day. I greatly appreciate the availability of the reference materials. I was burned out by the Bibliography Museum - it might be better not to have it the day after the most intensive collating homework. The syllabus was useful, especially 3-D Carter. But the entries that are "Not in Carter" should be briefly explained. The introduction to Type was likewise excellent. I wish that it had been on the list of materials for James Mosley's course. 30: Museums were great for getting hands-on experience and reinforcement of many of the areas covered in the lectures. 31: They helped because I got to see and play with the things. I would like more stuff to play with. 32: I enjoyed the Museum periods most of all. I tried to arrive early for them so that I could have as much time as possible to review each module. The best part of the course! 33: Wonderful Museums! They added greatly to understanding the material. Too much was attempted in Wednesday's Museum - I managed to get through only about 60%. 34: Contributed greatly - excellent to be able to have hands-on access to much of this and review it at one's leisure. Well-organized and varied materials - obviously carefully thought out. 35: They were extremely helpful, allowing one to put into the proper context information from the lectures. Looking at examples is a crucial teaching tool that is often overlooked, but which contributes here to the success of RBS.

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 Blakely's labs: 1: The labs made the homework bearable - excellent lab instructor. 2: Our lab was good. JB was very patient with us, explained the infamous problematic c19 books. The ability to come in and have access to the materials during the evening and early morning was important. 3: I learned a great deal from the hands-on lab work. JB was fantastic: she explained clearly and patiently, was very knowledgeable, was patient and encouraging to the students. The boxes provided a very good range of materials and situations to experiment with. 4: These were among the best elements of the course, since we had examples we'd worked on, wonderfully-sized cohorts, and a very knowledgeable lab instructor [JB] right there. Absolutely world-class design for this aspect of the course. 5: The labs were great! What a relief the first one was. I believe one walk-through of how to collate a book would help. The first homework session on Monday began without really knowing what or how to do what we were supposed to do. Tuesday's lab relieved our anxiety about what we were supposed to be doing. I think one demonstration would speed things along a bit. 6: The labs were very helpful. The instructor [JB] was skilled and patient. She gauged the abilities of her students well. Too many books per night, especially for the last assignment. The American books did not seem to fit the time frame of the hand-press period.

Peter-john Byrnes's labs: 7: This was the high point in the course. I would only wish for more scheduled time for homework (and therefore, more work). 8: Very successful. P-jB did an excellent job and was extremely clear and helpful. 9: Very successful. The collation homework and labs are necessary because, even if one understands the principles of describing book structure, one really needs to apply them and to find solutions to difficulties presented by particular books. 10: The labs were great! My lab instructor, P-jB, should be likened to a god, crowned with a laurel, placed on a throne, and be given vast sums of cash. How can the labs be improved? Destroying all the phones would be a good place to start. 11: They were definitely the core portion of the course for me. Both the hands-on opportunity to look at these pathological examples, and the dedicated patience of the lab instructor [P-jB] was most beneficial. I regret not having prepared myself more thoroughly; then, perhaps, I could have gotten a bit more out of these sessions. Instructor was excellent. Also, I appreciated being put in a group with other booksellers!

David Gants's labs: 12: I learned it - that's successful. 13: a) Very successful. b) DG was extremely good. He was excellent. c) perhaps a little longer (30 minutes or so). 14: Very successful, and the most rewarding part of the course. DG was an excellent tutor. 15: A resounding success. DG was helpful, encouraging, and a lot of fun. His own bibliographical research helped broaden the significance of the particular items we examined. 16: I appreciated being grouped with other students who share my background and interests in bibliography. 17: The labs were excellent brainstorming sessions. It is interesting and rewarding to see how the same physical data may be given a number of well-thought explanations, and how finally only one solution is correct. The labs could have been improved by slightly cutting down the number of books required for each session. By doing so, more time could be devoted to each book, as almost every one of them contained some interesting bibliographical irregularities.

Richard Noble's lab: 18: The lab sessions were the most interesting part of the course for me. I wish they would have lasted even longer. 19: I though they were the heart of the matter and would have welcomed more. The instructor [RN] was immensely informative and helpful. More analysis and discussion of difficult cases, perhaps with the whole class (or legion) might be a good idea - just to see how experts set about difficult collational problems. 20: The labs were very successful. I was fortunate in having a lab instructor [RN] whose understanding of the subject was unparalleled, but one who could also explain it well and without pedantry. The only improvement would be in the physical facilities, with a marker or chalk board instead of having to take time to tape paper on walls.

Shef Rogers's lab: 21: Labs were marvelous. Great instructor [SR]. I had a great cohort group, which helped. 22: Labs were very successful and contributed quite a lot to my understanding. 23: The labs were challenging, but good. The instructor [SR] did a good job of explaining why the formula went a certain way and also showed where established conventions fell short.

Tim Rogers's labs: 24: The system was new to me. I would have preferred fewer books at each session - or a two-hour session with a brief break, instead of feeling impelled to drift back after class. 25: Very successful, given the single great limitation: one of our classmates admitted to not having read Bowers, necessitating our instructor [TR] (who had the patience of Job) to explain the most elementary concepts. It was not fair to the others, who [gladly] put in the time doing advanced reading. Consequently, we were often quite rushed attempting to get through all the collections, &c., in each session. Please lengthen these sessions since they were, for me, the most valuable of them all. 26: TR was a very good teacher, encouraging without being confrontational. I would be happy to work with him again. In the final two days, there was too much material and not enough time to be thorough. Suggest four required and two optional books per session. Overall the labs and homework were great!! Hands-on, good teaching material, and helpful instructors resulted in an excellent course! 27: TR was excellent - patient, complete, and willing to go the extra step. 28: I would have preferred working on three or four books at a time, rather than rush through the six books that we worked on daily. The lab instructor [TR] was very patient - and helpful. 29: Labs were excellent, very helpful. They would have been even better if one of my lab-mates had been more diligent both before and during the course. Nevertheless, I thought that the material flowed from day to day in good order. I think, however, that we should do a small format book on Day 2 instead of Day 3 so that we don't get into the 2o-4o-8o-12mo rhythm.

David Whitesell's labs: 30: Good. Our instructor [DW] responded very well to our request after the first day to stick with a discussion of the actual book we had collated so we could get through all the books each day, rather than just some of them. I felt that our discussions were very productive and helpful. 31: They were very useful. DW really knew a lot about the formulas and explained them very well. 32: We analyzed each problem in depth. I thought DW did an excellent job. I would have like to receive a handout/list of the "official" answer each day in lab. 33: Labs were interesting. I enjoyed working through questions via discussion. DW is a very good teacher. Doing five books instead of six would have been more manageable. 34: The labs were very successful - working on the material in the morning and correcting/discussing it immediately meant I understood my errors/thought processes that led to errors much more. Instructor [DW] was knowledgeable and flexible in responding to student needs. The only way to really learn to do this is by doing - and we did! 35: Our cohort agreed that the instructor [DW] was knowledgeable, but on the first day we only got through three books - perhaps our questions hindered it, but we felt the approach was a bit too philosophical, when what we wanted was practical. I think longer lab periods would be appreciated - at least by some participants.

6)Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description?

1: More or less. 2-6: Yes. 7: It did. 8-11: Yes. 12: Of course it did. I just didn't understand what it meant. 13-16: Yes. 17: Yes. TB's words of warning were quite important. There really is no use in coming to Desbib without doing the preliminary readings (Bowers, especially). 18-20: Yes. 21: Yes, corresponded nicely. 22: I thought that the ECD was a bit vague. 23: Very accurate. 24: I think so. 25: No. It wasn't until one opened Bowers or the appropriate section in Gaskell that the light bulb went on. 26-28: Yes. 29: Yes - and more, especially with the extensive Museums. 30-31: Yes. 32: Yes. And in tandem with previous course evaluations (available on the Web), you get a clear sense of what you're getting into. 33-35: Yes.

7) What did you like best about the course?

1: Labs and lectures. 2: This course gave me an insight to the books - format, collation, pagination, &c. I know when I work with our rare books, I will look at them from a different perspective. 3: Hands-on work with a wonderful teaching collection of books. The 3:1 ratio in lab sessions gave time for lots of individualized instruction and attention. 4: 1) homework/lab combination. 2) Museums. 3) Lectures. 4) 3-D Carter. 5: The intensity. Complete submersion was terrific. The Museums were educational, the lab informative and instructional, and the homework essential. TB's lectures were fascinating. 6: The exposure to original materials, meeting fellow students. 7: Collation - more of it. The best of the course was analyzing and diagraming a book. 8: I feel I got a great deal out of the Museums, though I also very much liked the focus and specificity of learning to do a collation. 9: I enjoyed the Museums the most. 10: Format and collation. 11: See previous comments. 12: Teaching the books. 13: The homework and the labs. 14: Homework and lab sessions. Having homework sessions as the last period of the day, and lab the following morning, was a very successful arrangement and allowed as much time as necessary to tackle the material. 15: The wide variety of teaching methods - individual homework, labs, lectures, Museums. This range allowed for a flexible and enjoyable approach to the subject. Also, the lectures, which demonstrated the breadth and depth of TB's knowledge. 16: The opportunity to examine such a range of books and the careful selection of books to demonstrate various points. 17: Homework and labs. Excellent intellectual challenges! 18: The lab sessions. 19: All the Museums, but in the sense that they illustrated and reinforced the other teaching in the course (lectures and labs). I found them all fascinating. 20: The combination of hands-on work and labs and Museum with lectures. 21: The collation lab and the Museums were worth the trip. 22: The hands-on Museums were by far my favorite part. 23: Working with the books and the instructors. 24: The systematic approach and extensive materials provided a good introduction to the book as a physical object. 25: Penetrating the logic that underlies Bowers. 26: 1) Hands-on experience with books. 2) Excellence of teaching. 27:Museums, TB's stories. 28: TB's lectures. 29: The combination of Desbib terminology with general Museums designed to expose us to the history of the book. Also, the explanation of reference sources on Day 1 - it should be part of the introduction to all of the courses. 30: The variety offered by the various sections: Museums, labs, discussions, and lectures. Having only three students per lab was also great, as it gave everyone a chance to participate and have questions answered. 31: I liked playing with the old books; the homework and lab work. 32: The Museums. 33: I can't identify any single aspect - all were interesting and fit together to make the whole great experience. 34: Doing the labs/getting the feedback. Lectures were excellent, as well, and supported the labs, as did the Museum - but labs were the heart of the course for me. 35: The opportunity to learn and ask questions about collational formulas, pagination, &c. The lectures and Museums. In short, I guess I liked it all!

8)How could the course as a whole have been improved?

1: 1) Fewer, better selected books for homework. 2) Many books were too odd, so I did not get to spend enough time on the basics. 3) Recommend a lecture by RN to find out what he thinks. 2: An overview of the course structure. Our legion was totally clueless about the homework on Monday. RN's index to Bowers! 3: An initial lecture, with examples, of Bowers's basic principles. A bit more instruction the first day on how to approach the homework and how the cohorts were to function. More TB lectures! 4: Keep the books available after 10 pm, as promised. TB said we'd have access until 2 am, but Clemons closed at 10. 5: One initial demonstration for collating. 6: If the history of the book is as TB stated repeatedly, why does it play so small a part in this course? The emphasis was too much on Anglo-American approaches to the subject. More time for discussion among students and instructors. 7: I would not keep the instruction in 1 = hour blocks, if possible - enlarge the homework sessions and shorten lectures a bit. 10: Clone TB! 11: See previous comments. 12: Put the demonstrations and films at a time other than mealtime. 13: More homework and longer labs. Better use of Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. If title-page transcription is unnecessary, why do it? 15: My only recommendation is that homework sessions be placed in a setting with a little noise as possible. Noise from classrooms or phone conversations can be greatly distracting when one tries to collate a lengthy folio. 16: I had a sense that one legion was busier in the evenings doing homework - perhaps the schedule could vary so that each legion could have a shot at an afternoon homework session and thus might have a freer evening. 17: See my response to no. 5, above. 18: It would be nice to have more time to do the homework: 1 = hour was not enough time (for me) to collate six books. It would also have been nice to have copies of the collation formulas with explanations. 19: Extra time for Museums. Brief lists of what is in them for future reference (e.g., the books used in the Vocabulary Museum and the bibliographies in the final one). 20: Better use of the co-instructor RN. As much as I enjoyed TB's discussions, I would have liked to have heard RN (say 30 out of 90 minutes in lecture) discussing local conventions of Desbib. It would be good to know these as preparation for the next round of homework. 21: 1) Start the first lecture with ten top principles of bibliographical technique or a summation of Bowers's key points. Continue work into Friday morning. 2) More meat in the lectures. Less anecdotal fluff. 22: I think in the opening lecture some discussion of the homework would be appreciated. The first homework session was very frustrating, mostly because of a lack of clarity on how to do the collations. Unfortunately, because of the lack of an index, the Bowers text does not do much to alleviate one's frustrations. 23: Can't think of anything specific. 24: Brief focus on plates in lab sessions. Brief focus on noting binding materials. 25: More time for lab sessions. 26: I have no substantive suggestions. See no.5, above, for a minor point. 27: I was very glad to be in the group that had homework and lab in the morning. It would have been hard on my concentration in the afternoon. I don't know if others thought this an issue. 28: Friday should be turned into a half-day. There is no need to stretch out the activities (which are few indeed) until 4 pm. 31: Make it two weeks (more time). 32: Perhaps homework sessions could include some practical instruction and/or group work among cohort members? I think working as a team might encourage better learning/discussions. 33: Apart from comments above, I have no recommendations to offer. 34: Don't spend time on the appointments - this seemed a waste in view of the fact that we had just begun the course. Time could have been used, perhaps, to give an overview of the salient points of what we would be doing in labs. This was not adequately explained ahead of time. 35: Although I was exhausted by Thursday night, I realized I could use more - more Bowers? - I'd better not repeat that. No improvements are necessary as far as I'm concerned!

9)Please comment on the quality/enjoyability of the various RBS activities in which you took part outside of class, eg Sunday afternoon tour, Sunday night dinner and videos, evening lectures, Tuesday evening Bookseller Night, hand-press printing demonstrations, tour of the Alderman Etext Center, Rotunda exhibition, &c.

1: All very good. 2: I did not have much time for these because of homework. I did attend the lectures - good. Did (finally) get to the hand-press demonstration. 3: These are essential parts of the richness of the RBS experience. Paul Needham's lecture was outstanding! 4: All were generally very good; evening lectures were very good. I thought that the LC film was rather dated and goofy and PR-ish. 5: The intensity of the total experience was part of what made this a terrific week. It felt somewhat like a fantasy. The outside activities sometimes impeded my progress on my homework - but it broke my obsessiveness with something enjoyable. 6: The dinner and breaks were welcome. The lectures seemed a bit rushed in time. Not enough time to see or do everything. 7: All very nice, and a pleasant supplement. 8: Sunday afternoon tour was fun and very helpful for orientation; the hand-press printing demonstration was enlightening as well as fun. PN's lecture was impressive. I had a good time, overall; there was always plenty to do. 9: I enjoyed all the activities. I was glad to be able to take the tour to acquaint myself with the campus [Grounds]. And the dinner, lectures, &c., gave us a social opportunity to meet people from other courses. 11: All were important - they allow one to meet other booksellers, librarians, &c., and get to feel part of a larger rare book course. 12: I tried to do everything. Boredom was never a problem. 13: All the extra-curricular activities which I attended were very good, including an impromptu visit to the rare books section of the medical library. 14: All events were good additions to the core course, and all were extremely well organized. 15: The highlight of the week was PN's Malkin lecture - outstanding. 16: The lectures were excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed the hand-press demonstration. 17: No complaints. Thoroughly enjoyed everything. 19: The lectures were good, but could they not start later in the evening? I very much enjoyed the printing press demonstration. More videos could be shown in the lunch break, as on the first day of the course. 20: All of the extra activities were well-planned and enjoyable. The lectures were of high quality. 21: Enjoyed Bookseller Night, PN's lecture, and the dinosaur exhibition in the Rotunda. Sunday videos were a bit lax. 22: All of the lectures, tours, videos, and demonstrations which I attended were of good quality and very enjoyable. 23: Enjoyed the lectures and activities, though I did feel guilty about attending a couple of things when I also felt I needed to spend more time with the books. 25: Favorites: evening receptions (great for camaraderie), dinners out with some faculty members and a new pal from another class, the wonderful hand-press demonstration (I can now visualize how it works!). 26: They all were good. 27: The Sunday tour was very smiley and welcoming, lectures were fascinating, Bookseller Night was OK, the Etext Center tour was EXCELLENT. 28: A nice selection of offerings throughout the week. 30: Very enjoyable. I took part in all the extracurriculars offered and they certianly enhanced the experience. 31: Bookseller Night was terrific. I wish I could have brought the nine-year-old I babysit to the dinosaur book exhibition: he would have loved it. 32: I especially liked the hand-press demonstration. Also PN's lecture in the Rotunda. 33: Went to Sunday night, all the lectures, and the printing demonstration - very good! 34: Printing demonstration was very valuable; lectures/receptiosn always stimulating and a good way to meet people. Sunday dinner was an excellent ice breaker. Not enough shops were open Bookseller Night. 35: I enjoyed all the activities which were arranged. There was a choice of things to do which was nice, and enough to keep busy.

10)Any final thoughts? Did you get your money's worth?

1: I got my money's worth, but the course has some unnecessary "gotcha" aspects. Too many books with really odd collation and signing. Not enough explanation on format. 2: Take it. You will work your brains. You may lose sleep, but enjoy. Yes, I most definitely got my money's worth! 3: Yes, I got my money's worth! 4: It is very important to be prepared, but you sure get depth and breadth on the book as a whole. I more than got my money's worth. Vox audita perit, littera scripta manet: The heard word is lost, the written letter abides. 5: Money's worth and more! Stop dreading Desbib and do it. It's an interesting experience and useful for any aspect of rare book work. TB sets up a wonderful learning experience. 6: Be prepared to work very hard. Money's worth, yes. 7: Yes, I did. I was a wreck by Thursday. In all actuality, we could (and probably should) have another formal collation/signing/pagination homework lab. 8: I got my money's worth and would recommend the course to other people, but emphasize that doing the preliminary reading really is crucial. 9: I definitely think I got my money's worth. I found the course as a whole both valuable and enjoyable. 10: I got my money's worth! 11: I would definitely recommend it - especially to someone like myself who deals mainly in late c19 and c20 books. No building can have too strong a foundation. 12: As a bookseller, I didn't realize how helpful this course would be to my work. Being able actually to read and understand a descriptive bibliography is wonderful. 13: a) Advice: Do it, stay on the Lawn, pay particular attention to the homework and labs, and swallow Bowers, hook, line, and sinker, whether you like it or not. b) Value for money: Yes. 14: 1. Definitely read Bowers before coming. 2. Yes. 15: Advice: Read Bowers Chapter 5 twice, and be prepared to do significant work on your own. Also, take this course! It is a superb introduction to the subject. 16: Overall, this was an exceptional program. Thanks for the efforts of the entire staff. 17: See answers to nos. 1 and 7, above. Absolutely! 18: Yes, I got my money's worth. 19: Read Bowers and make sure you understand your perplexities with his text so that you are ready with relevant questions. The course doubles in effectiveness and enables you to read Bowers much better. 20: I would strongly encourage them to do the preliminary readings. Perhaps examples of what will be expected of them might help some in knowing whether or not they really want this course. Certainly, I received my institution's money's worth. 21: I really got a lot out of this course, but I feel I could have skipped the lectures and spent more time doing homework or working with my lab instructor. 22: I definitely got my money's worth and I would not hesitate to apply for one or more courses next summer. 23: This course is not for sissies! If you are prepared to put in the work, you will get your money's worth. 24: Yes, I got my money's worth. Bring a phone card and coffee pot! 25: Money's worth? Absolutely. I'll be back next year. Advice: take a look at Bowers before applying and be sure it's what you want. (This probably applies most to us civilians who have no professional reason for wading in. 26: Yes!!! 27: This was a wonderful experience. I have gotten more sound knowledge, good advice, and inspiration for future activities in one week than I have in the past two years! 29: Got my money's worth and hope to spend more. THREAT in a FACT OF BOOK - you can ALWAYS FIND it if you PULL. 30: I would recommend the course and feel I definitely got my money's worth. I enjoyed the whole RBS experience very much and would definitely recommend it and like to come back. 31: It's a lot of material to cover, but it's well worth the time and money. 32: Come as prepared as you can with the pre-course reading so that you have some time in the evenings to walk around Charlottesville. Very good value, in my opinion. 33: Advance reading list is essential. Absolutely, I got my money's worth. 34: Definitely worthwhile. Do the readings! Watch the video! Fold that paper! Perhaps try a few sample collations beforehand so that your confidence increases and you trust your judgement. 35: This course is excellent, and I will recommend it highly to anyone considering RBS. I feel I got my money's worth, and I intend to be one of the 50% who return!

Number of respondents: 35

Leave Tuition Housing Travel
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 for my own travel
N/A: Self-employed, retired, or had time off
N/A: Self-employed, retired, or exchange
N/A: Stayed with friends or lived at home
N/A: Lived nearby

There were 35 students: seven (20%) were antiquarian booksellers, six (17%) were full-time students, five (14%) were rare book librarians, four (11%) were general librarians with some rare book duties, two (6%) were archivist/manuscript librarians, two (6%) were conservator/binder/preservation librarians, two (6%) were attending RBS as book collectors, and one each (3%) each was an art gallery staff member, a federal employee, a part-time MLIS student working in a rare book library, preparing an exhibit based on rare books and prints, a teacher/professor, unspecified ("I don't work for money"), and a visual materials cataloger.

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