No. 45: Introduction to Descriptive Bibliography
2-6 August 1999
Terry Belanger and Richard Noble
Bibliographical Counsellor at Large
Julia Dupuis Blakely
E Dever Powell
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. I skipped among the texts (although I realize that is not necessarily the instruction) and found it more manageable that way. Carter was extremely enjoyable. Gaskell supplied good overview and Bowers was also fine. Also read McKerrow, which was often redundant, but hammered home a bit more easily. Anatomy was worthwhile and entertaining. 2: Pre-course readings were not only useful, but absolutely essential. The videotape was also good, although a better demonstration of the more unusual formats would be nice. 3: Readings were very useful, especially Carter. Bowers was quite daunting. I would have been scared away had I tried the readings before registration. 4: Very - everything I read we used in the course. It was really necessary to have done the reading beforehand to keep up with the class. 5: Very useful. The videotape was excellent. 6: I couldn't have completed the work in the course without the pre-course readings. The videotape, along with the afternoon I spent folding paper, certainly made the subject less abstract. I might suggest that you make it more clear in the reading list that Gaskell is not as difficult as Bowers. I only read the minimum required reading because the Bowers chapter seemed so unclear to me, without any experience handling the books. Maybe it would be good both to emphasize that Gaskell is easier and to encourage students to read Bowers quickly, skipping the notes. 7: For the history of printing, Gaskell was the best (I tend to support many of his views). Carter was very funny, since he took a collector's point of view on many matters. I read Bowers also, and obviously the video helped in understanding a lot of things that Bowers explained in his book. 8: Fine. Start with the video and Gaskell maybe, before Bowers. 9: All readings, and especially the video, were very necessary for an understanding of the course. 10: The pre-course readings were vital; the video was extremely helpful. 11: The readings were essential. It is not possible to learn much from this course unless one has done most of the readings and watched the excellent video. I recommend taking the reading in bits, not a marathon session. 12: Both the pre-course readings and the videotape were wonderfully helpful and absolutely essential. Indeed, I quickly came to see being forced to spend a summer with Bowers et al the chief virtue of the course. I remain very grateful for the urgency with which we were warned to withdraw from the course if we could not complete the reading. 13: Very useful readings. Pretty useful video, although I watched it only once at home. I was glad for the chance to see it again on the first day of this course. 14: These were essential. 15: All provided excellent preparation, including the videotape, instruction book, and papers for folding. 16: Readings were essential to getting the most out of the course. Important to read Bowers, even if one doesn't fully understand it at the time. Anatomy of a Book was a good introduction to basics. Perhaps a workbook could have given more exercises to do with format. 17: The pre-course readings were helpful and TB's advice should definitely be heeded - DesBib students must read the introductory reading materials. 18: The video was a very useful preparation, as were the paper examples. The readings? Well, I look forward to the Noble translation of Bowers. 19: Extremely useful readings. Not the most fun, but very well chosen and well sequenced. It was worth spending all the time on the readings. It was imperative to have completed the readings before class! 20: They were very useful, because without them I hardly could have done my homework (eg format, collation). As for the videotape, I think it was quite successful, for I had no time to watch it after I came here. 21: The pre-course reading was a must. I don't think I could have successfully completed the course without having already read from the reading list. The videotape on format was helpful. It is always useful to have a visual aid. 22: The videotape was a very useful way to be prepared. The pre-course readings are too extensive, therefore difficult to remember. Excerpts with key terms and definitions would be more useful.23: Not only useful, but essential. The videotape was very informative and helpful. Will there be a sequel (the collation video)? 24: The readings were very helpful, as was the video. It was beneficial working along with TB in the video. Everything came into focus the first day, thanks to the prelims. 25: Pre-course readings and video were very helpful - I can't imaging taking the course without them, especially with no previous familiarity with the terminology. 26: I got them all in time, thanks to efficient RBS staff. Useful for the overview I needed - I am a B3 [Brutally Basic Beginner]. 27: All of the material at least lay a groundwork for practical application in the course. 28: a) Very. b) Nice introduction. 29: The pre-course readings were essential. I can't see how anyone who did not do the pre-course readings could keep up with the homework labs. Those who do not do the pre-course readings could not possibly come away from this course with any substantial knowledge. 30: Essential might be a better word for the pre-course readings. We couldn't have gotten anything accomplished in five days without them. The video was very helpful. 31: The readings and the video were very useful.
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. I will definitely refer to the Exit Reading List. 2: Yes. 3: Very useful. Thanks for the extensive Exit List. 4: Yes - I love having the bibliography (Exit Reading List). All the materials will be enormously useful. 5: Yes, I think so. 6: Yes, very much so. 7: Very much, indeed, particularly on subjects relating to periodicals and bibliographies. It is going to be a guide. 8: I would've bought the Exit Reading List if I had to - it's a good map for further reading (and helpfully arranged). 9: All material will be useful in the future.10: Yes. 11: Yes. I will save and refer to them often. I will likely purchase many of the readings in the months ahead. 12: All the materials have been extremely useful and will continue to guide me as I slowly educate myself on this subject. I have been tremendously impressed with the organization of the syllabus and the course.13: They will be, after I return home. 14: More material would have been helpful. [There were more than a hundred pages of handouts given out in this course: have mercy! -Ed.] 15: Excellent. 16: Syllabus and handouts were useful. I plan to continue reading from the reading list. 17: Yes. 18: Yes. Should I have professional questions, I will have a resource. Also for my own interest. 19: Very useful and clear - both during RBS and later. 20: They will. 21: The Exit Reading List is going to be very useful to me as I continue to develop my knowledge and skill of descriptive bibliography. 22: Very useful. 23: Definitely. 24: Absolutely wonderful - thank you! 25: Yes - will look forward to further reading on my own. 26-28: Yes. 29: The syllabus and Exit Reading List will be very useful for use after I return to my library. I especially appreciate the time taken to arrange the suggested reading material by subject and in order of difficulty. 30: Yes, lots. 31: Very useful.
3) Was the intellectual level of the course content appropriate?
1: Most definitely. 2: Yes. 3: Appropriate for those with some experience, but a lot to grasp for the true beginner or non-cataloger. 4: Yes - could have done a bit more complex stuff. 5: Yes. 6: Yes, the course has been a wonderful, interesting experience. I constantly encountered areas (type, binding, &c.) of book production that were fascinating and intellectually stimulating (although I did have a bad dream last night about a particularly difficult collation).7: Certainly it was. It was pretty interesting because of the way TB approached things, putting them into a historical panorama, spicing them with strongly philosophical observations on the nature of printing and descriptive bibliography. 8: Yes, given that the class did the pre-course readings. 9-10: Yes. 11: Yes, but I wouldn't mind if it was a little harder. The sign on the ceiling for Marine Corps grunts doing situps: "Pain is good. A lot of pain is very good." It is the same in RBS 45. 12: Absolutely, though I would have preferred a closer connection between Bowers and the daily lectures. Bowers, in the two months preceding the course, had put the fear of God in me, but the lectures seemed a bit light in comparison, largely leaving the challenges of Bowers to the experiences of the homework and lab sessions. 13: Yes. 14: It seemed so. See remarks under no. 8. 15: Yes. 16: Yes. I was interested to see that people in completely different job situations and levels of knowledge were finding the course exciting. 17: Yes. I do not work in a library or work with bibliographic materials and I still felt comfortable with the way material was presented. The course materials were definitely at an introductory level; the instructor presented Bowers's format and collation in a clear, straightforward manner. 18: Yes. 19: Yes - not too easy or too hard. Doing the readings beforehand ensured that we arrived for class more or less on the same level, and instructors thankfully did not repeat material in the readings except where it was needed. 20: Yes, because I'm a beginner. 21: Yes. 22: Very much so - however, I would like to propose the inclusion of continental printing. 23: Yes. 24: Yes, it was. 25: Yes - perhaps the lectures could have gone over the relevant sections in Bowers - ie we might have done a few sample paginations together in class before being turned loose to work individually on homework. 26: Most emphatically. 27: Yes, though a little more Bowers clarification would be nice before the labs - but that is a small thing. 28: Yes. 29: I was a little disappointed in the level of the lectures. I felt much time was spent going over printing and papermaking processes that I already knew. 30-31: 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: Museums were wonderful. Not often, even if one handles rare books on a daily basis, does one have the opportunity to contextualize the way that the Museum's presentations allowed. Perhaps some of the more explanatory sheets (eg vellum vs. parchment, illustration definitions, &c.) accompanying the materials could be handed out to students. 2: The Museums were great, although the 3-D Carter was missing many explanations of what we were looking at (some of our guesses were quite interesting, though, and, of course, wrong!). 3: Essential for my understanding of a lot of the vocabulary used. 4: The Museums were great! I loved having such a wealth of objects and information laid out for me, to show how things worked, what they looked like, the interrelationships of things. They (the Museums) represent so much time and organizational energy - invaluable! 5: Very much - gave a visual aid to the readings and lectures. 6: The Museums were very important to the course. Although I hesitate to say this, it might have been better if there was less material, since I often ran out of time. Actually, forget I said that. The best solution would be several maps to the Museum placed on the table so the student can be sure to see the material that most interests him/her first. 7: There are things that are quite important to see: you cannot understand their real nature unless you do. 8: Excellent chance to handle and identify materials that produced and constituted early books - first chance to play with a type mold and see how it works (can't do that by looking at Diderot or Gaskell). 9: The Museums were great, but I think that it should be emphasized that they are mandatory. [They are indeed mandatory. Ed.] 10: They were extremely useful. In this course, with its homework load, there was no extra time for Museums until Friday morning. Ideally there would be a larger space for a permanent Museum to visit as time permits. 11: They were indispensable for giving us physical contact with different aspects of books. They were thoughtfully conceived and didactically useful. I learned something at every station of the Museums. 12: The Museums contributed immensely and were one of the more overwhelming elements of the course. My one regret concerning them was the extremely limited time one had to absorb so much. I rarely was able to complete half of the entries with any thoroughness. My chief suggestion would be to find adequate facilities and staff to keep the Museums open throughout the entire week. The 3-D Carter alone I could have haunted for hours. 13: The Museums, other than TB's stories, were the best, most helpful part of the course. They made everything else seem possible. I cannot imagine plowing through DesBib without the educational playtime made possible by the Museums. 14: The Museums were very useful for examples. More time in them would be better. 15: The Museums are central to understanding and absorbing the course content. I was grateful that the lab instructors were available for questions and that they allowed us to linger longer than the allotted time. 16: Museums were great for expanding one's knowledge by giving pertinent examples. 17: The Museums were all extremely interesting and instructive. It was helpful to have instructors in the room to provide answers to any queries. The two exhibits that were of particular interest were the printing/binding and the case studies. 18: Hands-on is always useful. I might have liked more lecture with the materials. Maybe the lab people could point out things to look for. 19: The Museums were the most fun part of the course! They were so informative and really make everything we'd been reading about come to life. No suggestions for improvement. 20: I think that the Museums supplemented the course, since we didn't do much about paper, binding, &c. in our lectures or homework. 21: The Museums were all a relevant extension of the subject matter of the day and they were very useful. I enjoyed having them at the end of the day - a nice conclusion. Again, I like to have the visual. 22: I would like to propose to hire a Museums guide. The self-guided tours were useful, but I am sure that I missed some interesting Museum pieces. 23: Museums were excellent, without exception. 3-D Carter was terrific - I just wish I'd had more time to look at everything really closely. 24: Museums were helpful and very interesting. 25: I would shorten them by half an hour. 26: Great contributions - I would not see nor be aware of these things if they had not been in the Museums. They really are a great aspect of RBS - I can touch and ask questions - why, why, why. 27: Museums seemed to be a little separated from the lab portion. Perhaps a little more connection would be better. 28: They provided examples which illustrated concepts, natural outgrowth of the readings, and lectures. 29: The Museums were wonderful, especially 3-D Carter. I hope in the future the BAP will acquire sufficient space to set up the Museums permanently (in a perfect world) or at least for longer periods of time. I was not able to see everything, or spend as much time as I would have liked with some material. 30: They were great - ya'll have the best toys. 31: The Museums were invaluable (although I would think they would be useful in a number of other courses here, as well).
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?
1: Successful. JDB was very effective and provided a confident stance in her knowledge and work. 2: The labs were good, and my improvement was marked between Monday and Wednesday. I would have liked to have printouts of examples of collational formulas for different formats so I wouldn't have felt quite so insecure on Monday. Oh, yeah - only four or five books, not six. I'd like to spend more time on each one, instead of feeling the pressure to get through all of them. 3: Very successful, though I would have appreciated more instruction before attempting assignments on my own. 4: The labs would have been even more valuable if we had had a bit more time to do the homework. The material was not so difficult, but the lack of time made it seem overwhelming at times. We had nothing to do on Friday morning - why not spread out the assignments a bit more and keep us working right up to the end? JDB was great to work with: very knowledgeable, friendly, willing to explain, &c. 5: Very good labs. Our instructor [JDB] was excellent. 6: The labs and my lab instructor [P-jB] were both wonderful. It was the most useful part of the course. 7: P-jB was a very good instructor and gave us very useful ways to put theory into practice. 8: Great. The one-on-one feedback from P-jB and the cohort, in general, was the best way to check and revise the format and collation work. 9: Format/collation labs were the best part of the course. DG was a knowledgeable and entertaining instructor. 10: Excellent, although we did not always have time to discuss every book - I don't think this was the fault of the instructor [DG]. For the pagination lab, if there are to be six books, it seems that books over 500 pages should be excluded. 11: This is the foundational experience of [the course]. It was excellent all around - the materials, equipment, instructor, &c. Our instructor [DG] was thoroughly competent with his explanations. I recommend squeezing one more lab into the busy schedule. It would be worth it. No one should fear the labs. 12: I thought the labs were very nice, though my cohort had the misfortune to have been saddled with one student who is quite probably the most flagrantly lazy student I have ever met. As best one could tell, she could not be bothered either to do the advanced readings for the course nor to spend any evening hours with the homework, so her only participation in the labs was occasionally to impede their progress. Quickly canceling such a participant from the lab would most certainly have improved it. 13: Pretty successful. DG was quite patient and kind, helpful. He was good at making us feel at ease, working with our mistakes without making us feel as incompetent as we were. 14: There should be a considerable explanation made of collation at the start of the course. This was not done. My lab instructor [DG] - as well as all the TAs - was very kind and patient with questions. 15: Very good - lab instructor [DJ] was cheerful, energetic, and extremely encouraging. He explained the material clearly. 16: Extremely successful. DJ was enthusiastic and a good teacher. He worked with us, the book in question, and Bowers/Gaskell if necessary to make sure that we understood what was going on. I don't think it could have been improved! 17: The format and collation labs were effective. Although I was not comfortable going up to the board, it was helpful - in the sense that I had to walk through my work and explain it. 18: My lab instructor [DJ] provided a non-judgmental atmosphere which made it easy to ask questions. I think it would be useful if we could have an instructor collate one book with the group in the beginning. Also, more collaboration within the group. The whole group is responsible for the homework vs the individuals in the group. 19: Very successful! It is great to work in groups of three: the small group size makes it less intimidating to ask questions and make mistakes, yet we could all learn from each other. DJ is the greatest! He combines a vast amount of knowledge and seriousness of purpose with a teaching style that is effective, lots of fun, and not at all intimidating. This is very important when teaching material like this. Lab logistics and format were great: no suggestions for improvement. 20: Labs were most useful. Our instructor [DJ] explained some examples, and they were very helpful. The number of students in the lab was also appropriate. But one thing: I think it was possible to do format, collation, leaves, and signing in our first day and do a little more, eg statement. 21: EDP was an effective instructor. He is very comfortable and secure in his knowledge of Bowers and was able to convey information and explanations to us in an organized and understandable manner. The labs were frustrating sometimes, but that was due to the ignorance of our cohort to the many mysteries of Bowers. 22: The lab instructor [EDP] was excellent: very patient and experienced. My suggestion is, to go over each book together under the guidance of the instructor. In this way, everybody would study each book. Also less time would be spent on self-guided investigations without successful results. 23: Labs were also excellent, as was the instructor [EDP]. He was very patient and very clear in his explanations of various Bowersian arcana. His well-thumbed and annotated copy of Bowers was inspirational. 24: The labs were the most wonderful, helpful aspect of the course. I wish we could have spent more time in them. EDP was incredibly well versed in the subject, pointing out or referring to key areas in Bowers and Gaskell for reference. He was very comfortable and at ease with us. EDP is a GREAT lab instructor - very positive. 25: The lab instructor [EDP] was new to teaching and initially a little stiff, as apprentice teachers tend to be. I'm sure time will remedy that. He was limitlessly tactful and patient with an idiosyncratic member of the cohort. 26: Very successful. EDP was very good at integrating a B3 with two advanced bibliographers, but perhaps a bit frustrating for him? 27: DW was excellent. I found that the shared experience and questions of the group were a great help. 28: Perfectly successful. Very effective. Rotate instructors to afford students greater exposure to the differing approaches/experiences of the instructors. 29: Labs were great! And our instructor [DW] was knowledgeable, helpful, and patient. I would have liked more time to go over homework, however. Our group was unable to complete our review of homework in two of the three labs. 30: DW was a very effective teacher and was so kind - he made feeling like a complete idiot virtually painless. The labs were the best part of the course - most useful. 31: Labs were OK. The instructor was very good. Labs would have benefited from a more formal lecture in advance of the lab.
6 Did the actual course content correspond to its RBS brochure description and Expanded Course Description?
1-4: Yes. 6: Yes. 7: Certainly. 8-10: Yes. 11: I noted no major difference. 12: Yes, though I would, again, have expected a bit more direct exegesis of Bowers in the classroom. 13: Yes. 14: I expected much more. In the first few days, "lectures" were haphazard and filled with digression. 15-23: Yes. 24: I believe so. 25: Yes, essentially. 26-31: Yes.
7) What did you like best about the course?
1: Having the opportunity to spend an entire week just digging in and making examinations. Very fulfilling. 2: I liked it all. 3: Museums, lectures. 4: Museums and homework. 5: The hands-on experience and the chance to go over the work with an instructor. 6: I couldn't say, since all aspects were excellent. 7: Museums, where all the real stuff was, and certainly the way in which TB taught us things. 8: TB and RN's excellent organization of topics and teaching materials. Hands-on experience in labs and Museums. One-on-one feedback from lab instructors. 9: Format/collation labs. 10: Labs were probably the most useful, but I enjoyed the class lectures.11: 12o: A-3M 8/4 3 N8 3O 4 (+/- 3O2) 3P-4E 8/4 [slightly edited. -Ed.]. Getting closer to understanding something like the foregoing. 12: I most appreciated simply being forced to spend the summer reading in preparation for the course. I most enjoyed the several hours spent each night collating books, followed by the excitement of the next morning's lab and learning to what degree I had gotten it right. 13: The Museums. 14: Actually being allowed to touch the books and other pertinent objects. 15: Good balance between lecture, lab, Museums, and homework - liked it all, but the Museums pull everything together. 16: The thrill of figuring out the proper format and collation of the homework books; the congenial atmosphere among the students. Lectures were great. 17: I found it challenging to have to describe a book by its format. The course has provided me with the knowledge to look at and describe a book by its physical format. 18: Working with the books. 19: Really, almost everything: it is extremely well organized and well planned and well run. Good mix of lectures and lab and fun stuff. Best of all was the chance to actually examine and handle all these treasures! Also thought TB's lectures were great! And, the lab instructors were top-notch. The ones I spoke with were very approachable and helpful, and they contributed a lot to the overall success of the course. When selecting future lab instructors, please continue to recruit those who know their stuff yet are approachable and not condescending. 20: The number of students (and the friendly atmosphere, as a result). 21: The lab instruction with EDP. 22: Practicing the collational formula and discussing difficult situations. 23: Museums and homework (believe it or not), though TB's lectures were also wonderful. The course hangs together very well - don't change it. 24: The labs - the ratio of students to instructor! You really need the interaction and private instruction here. 25: The chance to maul and otherwise mishandle the books themselves! 26: Intellectual stimulation. 27: I enjoyed the labs and homework the most - working with the books and decoding Bowers. 28: Really PLAYING with the books and Museum props. 29: The chance to actually practice the process of writing a descriptive bibliography entry and have my work critiqued. 30: The labs. 31: The hands-on experience of the labs and the Museums.
8) How could the course as a whole have been improved?
1: Improvement does not seem necessary to me at this point. 2: More examples, and lectures perhaps more closely relating to our homework labs. 3: A well-tuned course. No improvements I can think of. 4: Present an initial lecture on format and collation to fill in gaps from reading. Go over Bowers a little in a systematic way. Otherwise, it's very well organized and executed. 7: It's my first time here. 8: More segue and wrap-up of each element in Bowers's Principles before encountering them in lab work. 9: Make the purpose of the interview/office hour more clear and schedule them better. 10: Lighter homework load on Bookseller Night. 11: I do not have any major thoughts. 12: Again, I would recommend preparatory lectures on Bowers in advance of the homework and lab sessions. I warmly agree with your demand that students read carefully before arriving on campus, but I would have appreciated hearing that reading clarified more in the daily lectures. 13: One more day's worth of homework on format and collation. Drop the quasi-facsimile homework, keep the lecture. 14: More serious and more systematically organized lectures. 18: I think for the first homework session, if the lab instructor worked with the group things would be clearer, faster. You don't learn to drive a car by getting in and driving off, then discussing with your instructor how you smashed the street lamp. 19: I'm not sure this is possible, but if there is some way to move some of the week's activities into one or two of the Friday slots, the activities would be spaced out more evenly and the week would be less frenzied. 21: I would not give the Blue Group the break for consultation on the first day. It wasn't until mid-week that I really knew what I had questions about. I would have liked to have had that time then. 22: Please see comment no.5. 24: The Blue Group's break on the first day is not necessary. No one was prepared to speak to any of the instructors on the subject at the beginning of the week; however, by FRIDAY it would have been nice to do so. 25: I think the admonition against conferring with classmates during homework was unwise. Of course we should do as much as we can on our own - otherwise, what's the point. But discussion and consultation are also valuable. 26: Maybe - for those of us B3s, I would like several sample sheets showing one book as cataloged and DesBibbed. 27: The lectures need to be tied a little more back into homework for a bit more guidance. 28: Make it a two-week course. 29: More time - perhaps two weeks instead of one, so more material could be covered and more homework completed and reviewed. TB, if you're going to tear up a book on the last day of class, at least make it a copy of Bowers! 30: I could have read Bowers chapters 5, 7, and 12 again. 31: See response to no.5.
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: The tour was thorough. Dinner and the videos were fine. Monday's lecture was a little over my head or out of my range in interest (which seemed to be a familiar circumstance with others), Wednesday and Thursday lectures were enjoyable. Hand-press demonstration was very nice. 2: Everything was structured nicely; the tour "guides" were knowledgeable. 3: Evening lectures, except for TB's, were way beyond my level of comprehension and far more information than I wanted to hear. 4: Sunday dinner is fun - a great idea to break the ice. Videos were enjoyable, but I had seen some last year. How about something new? The lectures were fine, but so esoteric and detailed - topics more of us could really relate to might be of more use. Or some humorous topic about books and book history. The printing demonstration was interesting; terrible space and lighting for it - it would have been better to organize it a little more. 5: Overall, very good. 6: The hand-press demonstration was particularly useful. Since I spent the first three evenings working on homework until 8pm, I only got to TB's lecture, which really made clear to me the scope of RBS. 7: Lectures, of course, were the main dish for me. I also enjoyed very much the hand-press printing demonstration. 8: Fine - makes for a long day, but you'll invariably find out about other courses and meet fellow students. Rest up - but see and do as much as possible. 9: Very nice. 10: Monday night's lecture was pretty dry, but there was a high quality to the rest. The printing demonstration was great. 11: The camaraderie with other book people is the best part of RBS, overall. 12: The dinner was cramped, the atmosphere rather lonely and unwelcoming, the food surprisingly limited in selection for the $12 fee. I enjoyed, and found helpful, the videos and printing demonstrations, but of the evening lectures, I found all but TB's lecture horribly soporific. 13: I enjoyed the lectures, the hand-press printing demonstrations, and the Rotunda exhibition. Morning coffee was a very nice plus. The evening receptions seemed like overkill. 14: Generally high quality. However, there was little time for such activities, with the stress of the course. 15: Enjoyed all of the RBS activities. Extra benefit was that these activities gave us many opportunities to meet other participants in other courses and compare/share information, &c. 16: Sunday Afternoon Walking Tour was very useful - I'm glad I took it. Sunday Night Dinner was a good way to meet people. I enjoyed talking to and socializing with other RBS students. 17: I enjoyed the Sunday Night Dinner and videos, as well as the Tuesday evening Bookseller Night. I thought the evening lectures could have been a bit more varied. I would have enjoyed lectures, eg about the circumstances of publishing, bookbindings, &c. 18: Just being here is uplifting. 19: Loved the printing demonstration and the exhibits, especially "Two for a Nickel." 20: I took part in Sunday Night Dinner, evening lectures, Bookseller Night, printing demonstration, Rotunda exhibition. I enjoyed them. 21: I went to the evening lectures and Bookseller Night, both of which I enjoyed very much. I also went to some of the videos and demonstrations during the lunch hour and liked them, too. All were interesting enhancements. 22: I enjoyed Bookseller Night and the hand-press printing demonstrations. The lectures were not related to my work or interest. 23: Sunday Night Dinner is a great way of meeting people and staff. Lectures were good (the ones I had time to attend). The Rotunda exhibition was definitely worth seeing. 24: All aspects of the activities were beneficial and enjoyable. 25: I loved the Rotunda exhibition - it's a shame that it couldn't have been displayed in traditional flat exhibition cases. 26: Offer Coca Cola (American) as well as Pepsi Cola (Un-American)! 27: Everything was excellent. 28: While these things (or those that I peeped into) were good, they did take away from our books' time. 29: Sunday Night Dinner and videos are always a good way to kick off the week, giving us a chance to meet in a casual, relaxed environment before classes actually start. I also enjoyed the hand-press demonstration - and took a turn at printing a pamphlet! 30: It's all fun and I think I learned a lot when I wasn't in class, as well as when I was. 31: Sunday Night Dinner was very nice, the printing demonstration very useful, the Rotunda exhibition amusing.
10) Any final thoughts? Did you get your money's worth?
1: I definitely got my money's worth and was paying for it myself, so this question becomes even more important. I would very much like to come back. My best advice is to enjoy oneself and as long as your preparatory reading is complete, and don't get too overly crazed about actively enjoying collation. I saw many stressed-out faces and I don't think this is what the course is meant to do. 2: Bring both Bowers and Gaskell, wear comfortable shoes, and bring drinking money! Yes, I did get my money's worth. WWBD [What Would Bowers Do]! 3: For beginners, spend some time looking at some rare books along with the readings before you come. 4: Yes! This was a very structured, intense course, but it was fun, really fun. The week went fast, we learned so much. Thank you! 6: Yes [got my money's worth]. 7: Certainly, if you want to take a course, you must read before you come - all the material is otherwise hard to cope with. As for my money, I think it was a real bargain for the amount of knowledge that I acquired. 8: This course helped clarify lots of questions I had about collation, terminology, &c. It will sharpen your senses to the physical evidence in early books. Good springboard for any of the more specialized RBS courses. 9: Definitely got my money's worth, and that's saying a lot because I'm a graduate student. 10: Yes [got my money's worth]. 11: It's cheap. Take DesBib, you'll feel you learned something. 12: I absolutely got my money's worth - and more. The reservations expressed above are mere quibbles in comparison to the tremendous respect I have for all that was done right in the course. I would highly recommend the experience - which I described to one correspondent as "boot camp in an academic paradise" to anyone genuinely interested in books. I would also tell that person, in the most reverential tone, to remember always WWBD! 13: Absolutely, I got my (institution's) money's worth. Absolutely do all the reading I did. I can't imagine surviving if I hadn't. Absolutely be intimidated until after your first lab. Then relax just a little and realize that you are having fun. The week goes by very quickly. 14: Considering the high caliber of instructors, it is a shame that the management, in general, is so unprofessional. 15: Take it, you'll reap more than your money's worth. 16: The course far exceeded my expectations. I will certainly recommend it highly. I was surprised at how much fun it turned out to be. 18: It is a good course to focus your interests and to become acquainted with the scope and craft of the field. 19: I would definitely recommend this course! You definitely get your money's worth and you get a chance to work with materials that you would never see otherwise. RBS is also very well run. You must do the readings before coming - honestly! 20: It was worthwhile. I'll recommend this course. Now that I've completed it, I'm ready to come back for another - or more. 21: Yes, and I mean that because I paid for all this myself, and I have no regrets. Do the reading! 22: Read Bowers several times before coming. 23: Do the reading, fold the facsimile paper, and don't panic. My institution got its money's worth, and more. A great course. 24: Absolutely! READ - it does help immensely!! 25: Be prepared to work hard! I enjoyed the intensity and the challenge (in retrospect), but was unprepared for the exhaustion factor. Bring eye drops! And if you have tendonitis, beware of the folios. 26: Yes [got my money's worth]! 27: The course is intensive and thoroughly instructive, with the necessary spice of entertainment. 28: Just remember WWBD. Yes [got my money's worth]. 29: WWBD? 30: Don't forget to bring hangers. RBS is one of the better buys of the late c20. 31: I enjoyed the course and learned what I came here to learn. Yes [got my money's worth].
Number of respondents: 31
|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 12 rare book librarians (39%), five full-time students (16%), four archivist/manuscript librarians (13%), four general librarians with some rare book duties (13%), three antiquarian booksellers (10%), two attending RBS as book collectors (6%), and one teacher/professor (3%).