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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

Rare Book School
Preliminary Reading List

Rare Book Cataloging

Deborah J. Leslie

Preliminary Advices


DCRM(B): Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books), latest draft http://www.folger.edu/bsc/dcrb/dcrmtext.html. Although in draft form, this new revision of DCRB will provide the primary cataloging rules for the code. The instructor recommends printing one of the two "clean copy" documents and putting in a three-ring binder. Please read through from cover to cover. You won't understand everything (if you did, you wouldn't need the class), but an orderly, initial iteration of DCRM(B) is necessary to reap substantial benefit from the course.

Examples to Accompany Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books. Chicago. 2nd ed.: ACRL, 1999. Bring this book to class; make sure you have the second edition. Available from ALA Publishing Services, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611 for $35.00 [10% discount for ALA members] plus $7 postage and handling [no discount]; telephone credit-card orders to 1-800-545-2433 [press 7 at the recorded message]. ISBN: 0-8389-8014-7. Please look through the examples.

Belanger, Terry. "Descriptive Bibliography," in Book Collecting: a Modern Guide, ed. Jean Peters (New York: R. R. Bowker, 1977), 97-115.

Allen, C.G. "Latin," in A Manual of European Languages for Librarians. 2nd ed. (London: Bowker-Saur), p. 155-179. You may find it useful to have with you in class.


Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1991. ISBN: 0-8444-0690-2. Available for $21 postpaid from the Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, Customer Services Section, Washington DC 20541; phone 202-707-6100; fax 202-707-1334; email cdsinfo@mail.loc.gov; URL http://www.loc.gov/cds/catman.html#dcorb. If you plan to purchase this, order early (or buy at the ALA store at ALA annual and midwinter meetings). We will be using DCRB for reference and comparison.


Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972, rev 1974, &c. 1995 pb version currently in print (Winchester: St Paul's Bibliographies/New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Books). Familiarize yourself with the scope and contents of Gaskell before coming to class, read pages 313-320 ("Identification"), pages 328-335 ("Formula"), and as much as you have time for in the first section (pages 1-185).

Leslie, Deborah J. and Benjamin Griffin. Transcription of Early Letter Forms in Rare Materials Cataloging. URL: http://www.folger.edu/bsc/dcrb/wg2LeslieGriffin.doc


RBMS Controlled Vocabularies. http://library.osu.edu/sites/users/russell.363/RBMS%20Thesauri/index.htm. The online versions incorporate additions and changes to the print thesauri, prepared by the Bibliographic Standards Committee of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section (ACRL/ALA). Chicago: ACRL, 1986-1991.


Copy of DCRM(B), DCRB, and Examples, 2nd ed. (citations above). Some students have found it convenient to have a copy of Gaskell along.

Twelve copies of your institution's rare book cataloging policy, if you have one.

Twelve business cards, if you have them.

Definitions for the following terms (All sources are game; but look in John Carter's ABC for Book Collectors or G.A. Glaister's Encyclopedia of the Book if you're stumped).


Bibliographical issues

Stalker, Laura, and Jackie M. Dooley. "Descriptive Cataloging and Rare Rooks," in Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship 7:1 (1992), 7-23.

Tanselle, G. Thomas. "Descriptive Bibliography and Library Cataloguing," in Studies in Bibliography 30 (1977), 1-56.

Tanselle, G. Thomas. "The Bibliographical Concepts of Issue and State," in Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 69:1 (1975), 17-66.


Special collections cataloging

Lundy, M. Winslow. "Evidence of Application of the DCRB Core Standard in WorldCat and RLIN," Library Resources & Technical Services, v.50:1 (2006: Jan ), p. 42-57

Russell, Beth M. "Looking for Someone Special : Special Collections Cataloging, 1980-2000," in Library Resources and Technical Services 47:4 (Oct 2003), 149-159.

Library systems & records

Raine, Henry, and Laura Stalker, "Rare Book Records in Online Systems," in Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship 11:2 (1996), 103-118.

Guide to Rare Book Records in Online Systems, available online. A bit dated, but still useful in identifying aspects and features of online library systems necessary for appropriate indexing, searching, and display of rare materials and special collections.

Overmier, Judith A. and Elaine M. Doak. "Provenance Records in Rare Book and Special Collections," in Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship 11:1 (1996), 91-99.

Management issues

Bradshaw, Elaine Beckley and Stephen C. Wagner. "A Common Ground: Communication and Allegiance Between Cataloger and Curator for Improved Access to Rare Books and Special Collections," in College & Research Libraries 61:6 (Nov. 2000): 525-534. Although leaving something to be desired in academic rigor, this article provides an overview of some of the issues involved in setting policy.

Taraba, Suzy. "Administering the cataloging of special collections materials," in Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarianship 7:2 (1992), 87-90.