83: Introduction to Descriptive Bibliography [G-10]
2-6 August 2004
Terry Belanger and Richard Noble
David Gants, Haven Hawley, Shef Rogers, and David Whitesell
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: The pre-course readings are in fact essential to one’s success in the course; they tell you not to come if you can’t do the reading – believe ‘em. Anatomy of a Book DVD is helpful, especially if this is a student’s first fray into book structure. 2: The pre-course readings were essential, and the DVD was useful for picturing and understanding format. 3: Pre-course readings were invaluable! I now need to go back through Bowers’s Principles of Bibliographical Description and re-read/re-annotate. The DVD was, likewise, helpful. 4: Readings: excellent. Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors on terminology, Gaskell’s New Introduction to Bibliography on process, and Bowers on practice of descriptive bibliography. All necessary to getting most of the week. DVD: excellent introduction. View first, fold paper, and you’re on your way. 5: The DVD was quite helpful, and I referred to the transcript frequently during the week, particularly early on, because it provides such clear, succinct descriptions of formats. Bowers is tough going without context, and chapter four on title page transcription needs adding to the syllabus – I skimmed it, when actually one needs to read it as carefully as [chapters] five, seven, and twelve. 6: Gaskell more useful than Bowers, of course. Found Carter to be entertaining. Not sure why my institution spent money on tube of folding papers which was never addressed in class. 7: Readings were quite useful, although personally I feel I spent too much time on Bowers’ thoughts outside chapter five. I bought Roger Stoddard’s Marks in Books and found it fascinating, but not necessary for this course. 8: Very useful. Pre-reading for this course is of course vital to success. 9: Very useful, of course, although they made more sense after class started. I watched the DVD at least five times, and the transcript of the script was helpful. 10: I recommend reading Gaskell before Bowers. They were both indispensable. Having read both of them cover to cover, the DVD wasn’t all that useful, although the second presentation, The Making of a Renaissance Book, was interesting. Before I got the box, I did make my own models to fold/cut for various impositions, which was fun and useful. 11: Very useful. The DVD is a great reference after you have read the books. 12: Very useful – DVD very understandable. I am better able to understand Bowers now. (And will continue to work at understanding Bowers.) 13: The readings were an absolute must for the course. I would have not found te course of any use without the readings and the DVD (which I watched so often my children could quote portions of it). I read as much of the material on the list as possible, and was glad I did. Even Carter, which was the least necessary. The definitions of terms in the DVD workbook was much more necessary. 14: Anatomy of a Book was very helpful. I rather enjoyed it! Pre-course readings were helpful, and I was glad I got them in advance. However, seeing the material helped pull information in books together. 15: I found the videotape helpful and the pre-course readings essential. 16: Very useful. 17: I found the readings difficult – or at least Bowers. I should have begun with the Belanger article or the DVD – good GENERAL introductions to concepts. While I understood Bowers while reading it, once I got to class I realized how little I actually comprehended of the text. Visual examples would have been helpful. Also, limit Bowers to three chapters. Too much to absorb! 18: Gaskell and Bowers essential, others useful background. The DVD is nice to have, but it’d have been better if its level had been more clearly described – I felt it was less than essential, given basic familiarity with bibliographical concepts. 19: The pre-course readings are absolutely essential, every one. The DVD was instructive (at times even amusing) as is the transcript that comes with it (makes a handy reference). Bowers and Gaskell should be read through as many times as possible before arriving at RBS. 20: The readings were crucial to the homework assignments. More importantly, the difficulty in understanding the readings before the class has been more than offset by the improved understanding after class – it is time to re-read the texts! 21: Obviously essential (though I might add Bowers’ chapter six to the required reading). Regrettably, I didn’t see the DVD.... As an ‘introductory course,’ Bowers and Gaskell – but Bowers really must be read more than once.
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: All materials were useful, but I am most looking forward to using the comprehensive exit reading list in the coming months. 2: Yes, the reading list and course materials were useful and will continue to be useful in the future. I wish that I had another copy of these materials (without my annotations) to share with others. 3: I think these in-class materials will continue to be helpful. Particularly the exit reading list. The subject divisions will aid in determining what to read next. 4: Yes. Cannot think of other materials to include, except Tanselle’s seminar syllabi as a bonus! 5: Very useful. I plan to use the materials to spiff up the presentations I give to graduate, undergraduate, and K-12 students on the history of books and history of printing. I may even have my undergrad preservation major try some collation. 6: Not sure. Would like to have the collation chart earlier in the week. 7: I plan to locate a number of titles listed – thanks for the comprehensive list. 8: I believe so. 9: Yes, I do plan to use the exit syllabus. 10: I expect it to be. 11-13: Yes. 14: Course syllabus was great! I referred to it constantly. 15: Yes. 16: Not sure yet, of course – but I imagine they will be very useful. 17: Yes, the material will be useful for future pursuits. I think a bit more review of course materials in the first meeting would have been helpful. I felt lost in the first Museum since I didn’t have the time to read the stuff beforehand. 18: Absolutely – the reading list in particular. 19: The exit reading list is outstanding – thank you! I appreciate having resources ready to take away with me. 20: I plan to check our library for the materials in the reading list, although (as stated in point one above) I plan to start with Bowers, Gaskell, and McKerrow. 21: Very useful.
3) What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes? Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate?
1: Labs are, by far, the most important/relevant part of the course. This is where one gets to put into practice what one has learned, and this is where one most appreciates the difficult work of the bibliographer. 2: All aspects of the course were equal for me, as I wanted a general introduction to descriptive bibliography. The intellectual level of the course was appropriate. 3: TB stated that this course was full of nouns. Indeed, he is right. The vocabulary gained from reading and handling these books will prove useful, I am certain. 4: The examples. Yes, collating real books (or doing collation formula) was great, but I loved the Museums and the examples of paper, bindings, books from different periods, genres, and countries. We need to know as much as possible about the production/distribution process to understand why we are doing the descriptive bibliography part. 5: All of the content was relevant. Intellectual level appropriate – not unattainable, not dumbed down for non- rare book specialists. 6: Understanding the reasons behind the collation and knowing what I’d expect to find once receiving the book. 7: I enjoyed homework and lab times, especially working with hand-press books. Bowers was (and still is) difficult to read and digest. Thanks for the detailed index to chapter five. 9: Yes, the intellectual level was appropriate – for me, my interest was in the actual identification of book formats and all of the additional structure details. 10: The hands-on labs were the heart and soul of the course, and most useful. I found the lectures (with the exception of the last day) very repetitious of material in Gaskell or Bowers, and felt the time could have been better spent. 11: To be able to see a bibliographical description and interpret it. Very appropriate. 12: Exercises used for formulary with the books, instructors, and class. 13: The homework and the labs. The intellectual level was appropriate. 14: Intellectual level was very appropriate. Museums added a much appreciated break from homework and were indispensable for learning. 15: The Museums and the homework. Yes. 17: I found the homework review most meaningful, since it was the one time I focused on the nitty gritty of descriptive bibliography. The daily lectures were a bit murky – I did not find them particularly
enlightening. The intellectual level of the course was generally appropriate, though there was a tending to “preach to the choir,” and I wasn’t in the choir! So I sometimes felt a bit lost or left out of the conversation. That is most likely due to my own inexperience, however. 18: The gradual building up of more difficult formulae based on the books assigned as homework; I now feel I can look at my own books more closely in order to develop a basic formulating description. 19: The course content suited my purposes perfectly – as a refresher course to help me recall what I learned in library school several years ago. This course went beyond the call of duty and actually got me excited about the nuts and bolts of bibliography again – much of which I don’t need for my job, but which informs me generally about describing books and stimulates my mind personally. 20: Working with hand-press-era books was both most interesting to me personally (I’m a medievalist by profession) and most useful for my work (our small rare book collection is heavy on pre-1800 imprints). 21: The homework and LABS BY FAR. Was the intellectual level of the course appropriate? This question begs many answers...
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: I should like to see the Museums a more permanent (i.e. open) activity to which students could attend at their leisure. The museums are, of course, excellent, and a very helpful and interesting way to begin to understand how the book in front of you in lab came into existence. 2: As a visual and hands-on learner, I found the Museums to be very useful. The “Paper Made Wrong” and “Description of Binding Cloths” exhibits were fascinating. I only wish that I had more time for the Binding/Printing Museum and that the printing aspect of that Museum incorporated demonstrations for those without familiarity and experience with printing presses and type. 3: The Museums were thought-provoking and helpful. Those most helpful were the ones where directions gave students a particular task concerning the object on display. For example, locate the watermark on a given sheet of paper in the catalog of watermarks. 4: Essential (see [answer above]). Even more examples and from more countries, maybe non-western as well. 5: The Museums, particularly the Monday Museum, were very useful in providing books with collation statements for collation newbies like me. 6: The Museum should be optional and in the evening, so that there’s an additional two hours (not homework) to examine and collate. I didn’t see one book with a cancel or insertion. 7: Since the Museums were open at night too, perhaps more time during the day could have been allotted to homework. 8: Reading the museum catalogs prior to the period helped me not to feel too rushed when I was here. 9: The Museums were extremely interesting. 10: I spent as much time as was allowed in all museums and found them all a great learning tool. I get the feeling more time was allotted for museums than in prior versions of the course, and this was effective. 11: They were very useful, especially the Examples Museum. 12: Added another dimension – since Desbib had one and a half hours to see many materials, perhaps a way to allow it to go faster without decreasing the amount of materials. As an example, I found it was easier to stand and look at paper and binding samples rather than sit at each station. 13: The Museums were great. Time for them much too short. They were among my favorite parts. Very well done and very interesting. 14: Very much. Examples are abundant and relevant. 15: I enjoyed being able to see so many examples. I did not feel I had enough time with the Vocabulary Museum, especially being the first day when you are trying to apply what you’ve read to what you are going to do with your homework. 16: They did not match my learning style as much. I very much like to be “talked” to when I am learning, and I truly appreciate that, but I probably would learn more if there was also a human interaction. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am not good at solo interaction with the museum objects. But I remember last year watching Stan Nelson working with type, or TB demonstrating the Linotype... That was fascinating. 17: The Paper and Printing and Binding Museums were great. The Vocabulary and Descriptive Bibliography Examples Museums less successful since they involved lots of reading and examination but with insufficient time to really absorb the stuff. Sure, we could return later, but who had time with all that homework? Standing to look at ten exhibits would have been easier than sitting – Things may have moved a little faster. Also, less chit-chatty descriptions – abbreviate the catalog in situ – Cut to the chase so we know what to look for immediately. Couldn’t you get a nice printing press for us to admire, too? 18: They were extremely useful, although some topics were of more interest than others, as is inevitable. Can’t think of how they could be improved, to be honest. 19: Hands-on experience is essential in a course like this – it is hard to conceptualize Bowers and Gaskell otherwise. The Museums did a fine job of providing hard evidence and examples one might not encounter elsewhere. Their layout, however, was often out of sequence and not very intuitive, hard to follow. I am grateful for the printouts to remind me of what I saw. 20: The Museums always complemented the course work well, but especially useful would have been a demonstration of a common press (a “moving” or live museum demonstration). 21: For me, the Museums and catalogs were by no means central to my experience of the course. Each day at work, I’ve opportunities to see, examine, and discuss many and varied kinds of books.
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?
David Gants: 1: Labs were, though humbling, quite excellent and entirely instructive. My instructor was first-rate and extremely helpful (not to mention patient). If possible, I should have liked more lab time. 2: The labs were very helpful. The instructor was patient and open to answering questions based on our personal research and work. I would have enjoyed working with one or two books all the way through (i.e. determining format, leaf count, and signing one day, then adding pagination and so on to get a better sense of working through a book and building on a description). 3: “More time for labs,” I say! They were by far the most helpful time (along with homework periods) that I spent in the class. 4: Labs were great. Always clarified problems from homework. Best way to run them is ask each participant why he/she did something so you can correct him/her personally. 5: I have no suggestions for improving the labs, which were successful. DG did a fine job. I wish that in the initial Monday lecture, our instructors would have walked us through a collation with an example. For visual learners, Bowers is not enough to get started on the right track. I felt as though I was working blind in the first homework section, which wasn’t as successful as it might have been with some instruction on the method from a real, live person, not a text. 6: The lab and instructor were the best. I did not learn anything from RN’s lectures and found them a complete waste of time. DG eloquently tied things together as well as patiently explained signings and differences of usage of things. Haven Hawley: 7: Lab times were great – lab time flew by. 8: Labs were the most useful. I wish more time could have been spent with the instructors. HH was great! 9: They were just right – HH was extremely relaxed and helpful, and our group discussions were stimulating. All in all, it was a comfortable environment for an extremely intimidating subject. Shef Rogers: 10: Instructor was very low key and helpful. Good at explaining issues and why given choices were made, yet willing to admit to other possibilities. The labs were a learning exercise, the best we could have. 11: Very successful. 12: Very. SR was very good at explaining the materials. Fellow classmates made it successful, too. 13: The labs were particularly interesting and helpful. I very much enjoyed them and think that this was when it all began to come together. Improved? Time is always a problem, isn’t it? 14: Labs were quite successful and very helpful. Class could not be done without them. SR was knowledgeable and very patient. I think the labs are fine as they are. 15: I liked the size of the lab groups. Some days were harder than others to be able to finish in time for the discussions. I found the lab instructor to be helpful. 16: Very successful. I enjoyed doing the homework as well as reviewing it. David Whitesell: 17: I think a little orientation in the first day of homework would have been helpful. I felt a little – no, a lot – lost trying to apply Bowers without any initial guidance. I wasn’t even sure what to ask for help for on day one, I was too confused. The labs were very helpful, and I found DW a patient and gentle instructor. He very kindly tolerated my ignorance. 18: These were undoubtedly the highlight of the week – both the practical value of the homework in the first place, and the opportunity to discuss, with other students and the instructor, the individual books and their distinctive problems. They could only be improved by having more of the week given over to them! 19: The labs were really what brought everything together for me – doing the homework on my own, then comparing and discussing results clarified so many obstacles and points both major and minor that were difficult to grasp or at least express. One suggestion – before any homework is begun, a short demonstration of how to begin the work of collation (not obvious to those with no experience). 20: I think our cohort had an excellent lab experience. Even though the material did not look like a lot, it always took more effort and time than anticipated (by the students). Our lab instructor was very good at correcting us (with help from other students) without making us feel stupid! Thanks, DW! 21: So successful, I really wanted to do nothing else. It is in the LAB sessions one learns in this course. I can’t recommend DW enough to the prospective student. One could improve the labs by DEVOTING MORE OF THE DAY’S SCHEDULE (class-schedule) TO THEM.
6) What did you like best about the course?
1: I think the course is a well-thought out and mostly balanced introduction to book production and descriptive bibliography. 2: It is too difficult to choose one aspect. All aspects were helpful. I thought that the Museums were fun and good for exploring a wide range of topics. 3: The labs and the homework were the most productive. 4: The hands-on nature of it. Learning by doing is the only way to learn. 5: The collation exercises – by Wednesday, I found myself enjoying them. RN’s lectures. He knows so much and imparts his knowledge in a lively fashion. 6: The lab discussions and the work. 7: Opportunity to get my hands on books without fearing the glaring looks from the (Special Collections) librarian. 8: The homework labs were by far the most beneficial and where I learned the most. 9: The homework (and the labs). 10: Labs and museums. 11: The intellectual stimulus and the guidance of the instructors. 12: Being around other people who are enthusiastic about descriptive bibliography. 13: The manner in which the class was conducted. The division of the class into small groups was a particularly good way to work on this particular subject. Being able to work with the lab instructor more or less one on one helped a great deal. 14: Museums! 15: Being able to look at so many books, the three museums. 16: Hard to say – the lectures perhaps. 17: In the end, I think I liked the homework and labs the best since I was doing the actual stuff of descriptive bibliography. I really loved the Paper Museum, too. And TB’s sense of humor. 18: The practical sessions, and the lab discussions thereof. Also, the feeling of total immersion, for a week, in bibliographical activities of many different types (lectures, practicals, discussions, reading, viewing videos, &c.). 19: It was incredibly well-organized and well-planned. I liked how the groups were broken up and how the day was split up into manageable segments, with plenty of downtime. The materials handed out to us are clean, smart, funny – nearly every conceivable concern has been anticipated and treated. 20: The compressed content – I found that for four or five days I could focus on a topic without day-to-day or office distractions. 21: Feeling that I’ve learned something (new) and, as importantly, gaining a better and firmer grasp of concepts and practices.
7) How could the course as a whole have been improved?
1: Again, I should have liked more lab time; and although I know the structure of the course has been given a lot of thought, I wonder if there isn’t a way to make for more lab time and greater intimacy. 2: No improvements suggested. 3: Please make it longer, with more lab time. 4: My primary suggestion is: turn the lectures into conversations. They are small enough to do this, and the participants are of such high caliber, we should hear from them – what are the problems they are dealing with, how can this course address them, are there common concerns, &c. I did not feel that there was enough information conveyed in the lectures to justify the lecture format. In one and a half hours, we should know the history of the binding from start to finish with case studies of major points of change, &c. Or do it seminar style as I’ve suggested and expect the information to come through the readings. 5: Visual demonstration of collation first thing Monday – Not all people learn in the same way, and some subjects are more successfully demonstrated than read about. 6: Remove RN’s lecture. A complete waste of time. I found myself being put down by his remarks about librarians, and the faux British accent was a distraction from whatever little he had to say. RBS needs to teach Desbib students the correct way to handle books. 7: More time with books. 8: The lectures need some work. Not well organized. I was particularly disappointed with the printing lecture, because the information came directly from Gaskell and the Museum catalog. I read both diligently (as I’m sure my fellow students did also) and felt that my time would be better spent at the Museum or in lab. 9: More time for homework, labs, discussion. 10: First lecture can include a brief overview (redundant to many, I realize) on how to handle books. Lab books may not need the careful attention and handling, but we saw other books that did. Early on before first homework, do a section on how to approach the books – i.e. where to start. (Look for sewing, here’s what a cancel may look like, watch for chain lines on conjoining pages...) We’d be less lost on day one. Replace vocabulary, paper, and printing lectures with doing more books – If you require reading from Gaskell and Bowers, the lectures are unnecessary in their current form. Someone suggested having HH do the paper and printing lectures, and I’ll bet this would be good. 11: More time? 12: More TB. 13: The lectures need to be tightened. They seemed to lack particular focus. And while they were labeled “paper” and so on, I found it a bit hard to tell really. How this is to be done I’m afraid I don’t know. 14: Seeing the “answer sheets” after labs really helped in subsequent labs and home works. Perhaps a lunchtime opportunity (similar to movie time) where students can look at books and their answer sheets (that are not being used in the course) as examples for what is being worked on in class. 15: More time with the Vocabulary Museum. Less lecture time as it is – lectures incorporating more of what you see in the Museum. 17: More orientation from day one as to the approach the course was going to take – the homework in particular, I wasn’t clear on what the Museums were about at first, and I think I would have liked the BIG PICTURE drawn out for what aspect of Desbib we would be concentrating on. 18: The lectures and the practicals seem to some extent to be two parallel activities, and more focus in the lectures on the techniques of practical bibliography, linked with the homework, would have been useful. In particular, an interesting lecture on a methodological approach to the homework (including, e.g. how to check for cancels) would be great. 19: More time for lab discussion, as well as conclusions that can be drawn – Once you know the format, collation, &c., what does it reveal about the edition, the printing process, &c.? 20: Perhaps it could be offered as a two-week course (incorporating some of the advanced Desbib course into it) so that students could also bring some reading assignments into the overall content. (There was no time to read outside of class and labs, &c.). 21: It would have been nice to hear RN lecture on topics directly related to homework and labs. With five to seven hours of work on books in front of me (format, collation, paper, &c.) I somehow felt (OK, and feel) little interest in typography (with homework looming)!
8) If you attended the Sunday and/or Monday night lectures, were they worth attending?
1: The Monday lecture on the publication of Lucile in the c19 and c20 was dulce et utile. I enjoyed it very much. 2: Both lectures were worth attending. As a first-time RBS attendee, I found TB’s overview of the history of RBS and his thoughts on its future to be interesting. Monday night and lecture was fascinating, and I am glad that we were strongly encouraged to attend. Lucile made many reappearances throughout the week in subtle ways. 3: I attended both lectures. Definitely worth attending. 5: Yes. I want to read Lucile now! 6: Attended both, and Sid is terrific. Not sure about the focus of Sunday night’s. 8: Yes. I enjoyed the lectures. 9: Yes, they were both of interest. 11: Sunday and Monday. They were very interesting, and a nice change of pace. 12: Yes. 13: Yes, they were. 14: Yes, they were both interesting and gave me more to think about. 15: Yes. 16: I only attended Monday night lecture and truly enjoyed it. 17: Yes – they were good, pleasant intros. I enjoyed the Lucile lecture quite. Delightful! Made me want to get on eBay and bid up the Lucile prices (but I can’t). Another lecture would have been welcome. 18: Sunday, certainly, Monday perhaps less so, but that’s going to be very dependent on the topic of the lecture. 19: Sunday, absolutely, as an introduction to RBS and a chance to meet instructors and students. Monday, interesting, but maybe to arcane to be relevant to introduction courses. 20: I enjoyed both lecture. I had heard about Lucile for several years, and getting an overview increased my appreciation for the course, as well. 21: A trick question. The lectures may be worth attending. I didn’t appreciate the fact that attendance at the lecture, though advertised as OPTIONAL, was made to feel MANDATORY. I would have preferred to spend that time in the library working on my books.
9) If you attended Museum Night on Wednesday, was the time profitably spent?
1: I attended the Museums at the times prescribed by the syllabus. This was sufficient for my purposes and interests. 2: I attended Museum Night during the scheduled hours for DesBib students but did not have a chance to return in the evenings because of homework. I wanted to return to the Printing/Binding Museum, since I did not view all of the exhibits, and I am sad that I could not fit a second visit into my schedule. 3: I was too busy doing homework! 4: N/A. 5: Did not attend. 6: Not really. Again more time on relevant topics is better use of time. Museum could be optional evening events. 9: Too busy with homework. 10: Yes – I stayed an extra hour both nights beyond time allotted during the day. It was good having staff available to answer questions. 11: Did homework Wednesday night. 12: N/A. 13: Didn’t attend. 14: N/A. 15: I spent the time working on homework. 17: Not time for Museums with all the homework (or my inability to get through it) – (whiner). 18: Absolutely – all Museums were excellent as practical exposure to specific hand-on examples of topics hitherto only read about. 20: N/A (doing homework these nights). 21: Time at the Museum (I visited two, maybe three Museums) was not misspent – but there were again, for me, more important things to do in the library.
10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final thoughts?
1: I certainly did get my money’s worth; and although I made my share of bibliographical errors, they were certainly errors I have learned and will profit from. Potential students should know that this course is intensive; some call it “RBS Boot Camp” and I think that this is in many ways an appropriate metaphor. 2: Yes. The course is not as frightening/overwhelming as previous attendees describe it to be. If you have tackled the pre-course reading and are willing to make mistakes and ask questions, you will learn a great deal in this course. I wish my library school courses were as intense and thought-provoking as this course. 4: Definitely worth it. Learned so much in preparing and attending! 5: Well worth my institutions’ money – so much of what they spend is not spent nearly as well. Advice: Reading Bowers more than once before coming won’t be as meaningful as reading Bowers post-course, but read it once pre-course. Find a rare book collection, and try collation before coming. Bring Bowers, Gaskell, and transcription of Anatomy of a Book DVD, as well as a calculator to class. 6: I’ll know when I get back to the office. 8: Yes! I will plan on attending another course in the future. 9: Yes, I received my money’s worth – my advice, read Bowers, Gaskell, et al and watch the DVD! (And maybe add a class to RBS on hand-press history of science books? Collections development?) 10: Yes. Thoughts: Bring Gaskell or, perhaps, to lighten the load, copy the format pages and bring those. 11: Do your reading and be ready for class. I plan to take other courses here at RBS. 12: Yes. It’s great! 13: My institution got its money’s worth. I very much enjoyed my time in the class, even the homework. I would recommend this course to anyone with even the slightest interest in books. 14: I did get my money’s worth, and I would advise future students to read and WATCH THE DVD! 15: Yes. This course will help me greatly with the work I do. Thank you. 16: YES! 17: Yes! Though it felt a bit like library boot camp at first, I soon got over it and began to enjoy myself. My advice for others would be read Bowers with a practice book in hand so you can look at signings, gatherings, &c. And see what he is talking about. So difficult to read, then apply later thinking you had learned something of what you had read. I felt VERY frustrated at first. With Gaskell – read about impositions. Send us a few sample sheets to practice folding with! All in all, a job well done and you were all most generous with your time and knowledge. Thank you – hope to be back next year! 18: I absolutely got my money’s worth, and I certainly plan to return for further courses in the same stream. The best advice I can suggest is simply to read as much as possible, not just from the assigned list, before arriving. But it’d be pointless to come without as thorough a familiarity as possible with Gaskell and Bowers. 19: Oh yes, and more! The entire RBS experience was phenomenal, and I know I’ll be returning. The work done here is so important, especially as continuing education for professionals. The materials sent out in advance to prepare us for the week, as well as the Vade Mecum, were crucial to getting by this week – very thoughtful, prepared. TB and RN managed to make an extraordinarily difficult subject (at least for a newcomer) accessible, lucid, and even fun. DW was an exceptionally patient, thoughtful, and eloquent lab instructor. Advice? Prepare as much as possible beforehand – Don’t expect handholdings when you get here (as far as the background reading is concerned). It is essential to be familiar with Gaskell and Bowers (especially Bowers) upon arrival so as not to impede your own progress and that of your fellow students. But also be prepared to learn and have fun! 20: I feel I got my (institution’s) money’s worth. What I learned here should definitely feed into our rare book processing and justification for maintaining our collections. Suggestion for future students: Read the Bowers chapters, but also take notes on them! It takes more than a quick read to make sense of his method. 21: I think so. For me, learning and exercising skills at collation was why I came here – I’d have liked lecture topics directed toward these matters – obviously, I’m having some trouble writing clearly – I’m leaving RBS better able to do my job. But, of course, there’s always more to learn... The tennis courts are lovely! Suggest RBS students bring their rackets! (I wish I had brought mine.) But now that I think of it – when would I have played!!! Think twice about coming to Charlottesville in August!
Number of respondents: 21
Leave Tuition Housing Travel
Institution Institution Institution Institution
gave me leave paid tuition paid housing paid travel
67% 57% 52% 38%
I took vaca- I paid tui- I paid for my I paid my own
tion time tion myself own housing travel
5% 28% 38% 43%
N/A: self- N/A: Self-em- N/A: stayed N/A: lived
employed, re- ployed, retired, with friends nearby
tired, or had scholarship, or or lived at
summers off exchange home
28% 15% 10% 19%
There were four rare book librarians (20%), three archivist/manuscript librarians (15%), three general librarians with some rare book duties (15%), three full-time students (15%), three antiquarian booksellers (15%), one general librarian with no rare book duties (4%), one conservator/binder/preservation librarian (4%), one book collector (4%), one recent MLS graduate with no prior experience in rare books (4%), and one non-antiquarian bookdealer (4%).