5-9 January 2009
1) How useful were the pre-course readings?
1: The readings were splendid, and some far too little known, e.g., Henry Bradshaw! [The Printer of the Historia S. Albani] 2: Very useful. One could wish for a more specific hierarchy, but otherwise great. 3: Very interesting and useful, but not absolutely necessary. 4: Very useful. In some cases I had already read the particular article or book, and in other cases I wish I had read them before. Very well-thought choices, and very useful beyond the course. 5: Very; but the course was taught as if no one had read the material. 6: Moderately helpful; mostly just prepared me for how PN thinks. 7: It would be good to have a better defined list of readings. I did read most of them, but some were better than others. Some also became clearer after taking the course. 8: The pre-course readings were important to grasp the concepts discussed in the class. I also looked at [Raymond] Clemens’s Introduction to Manuscript Studies and wish I had brought it with me to refer to scripts and terminology – it might be a worthwhile addition to the readings. 9: PN himself noted the readings aren’t necessary prerequisites, but I found them very useful and informative, and am glad I spent time with them. Perhaps revise the list to highlight what should be done ahead, and include a separate list of suggested further readings. 10: In retrospect, the readings were very useful – when I was reading them beforehand, it wasn’t always clear what I was supposed to be taking from them, but that might be inevitable.
2) Were the course syllabus and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: Without a doubt. 2: Yes, I will refer to the materials. 3-5: Yes. 6: Love the CD of images – sure to be a great resource. Examples thorough and useful. 7: The materials were helpful. 8: The workbook is an excellent source of information and will be a useful reminder of many things we examined during the class. 9: Yes – the CD especially should prove very useful in future teaching, &c. 10: The workbook had some excellent stuff in it, and I expect to get use out of the CD version as well.
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: The level was very highly challenging, and inspiring too. 2: The overall content was of great interest, and the material was presented in a balanced and through manner. Intellectual level very good. 3: Seeing the materials and having the techniques pointed out. Yes, the level of the course was appropriate. 4: The interaction of print and manuscript in c15 books was of greatest interest, but in fact the whole course was of much interest and relevance. 5: The manuscript-related aspects. Yes. 6: The course provided a method for thinking about/approaching the book.7: The two instructors worked well together, and certainly their particular expertise was complementary. All the content was relevant for my purposes. 8: The course was an immense help to me in understanding what to look for in manuscripts and early printed books in order to understand how they were made. In terms of relevance to my daily work it will be extremely useful to me to understand how researchers are using the collections at my library. I found the level appropriately challenging. 9: All of it – especially PN’s discussion of non punch printing and of the Catholicon. Having the resources of the Walters was phenomenal. The intellectual level was great – challenging at times, but always accessible. 10: I’m just beginning to learn about incunables, so the ability to get the big picture from experts in print and MS was very helpful.
4) Was time devoted to studying original materials at WAM or JHU well spent?
1: Absolutely. 2: Yes, the course relied heavily on original materials. 3-4: Yes. 5: Yes, though the class size limited the ability to examine materials at close range. 6-7: Yes. 8: Yes – it was a real asset to be in the Rare Book Room at the Walters so that the instructors could illustrate their points with appropriate examples. 9: Yes. 10: Yes, definitely – the chance to see things, instead of images or facsimiles, was one of the best aspects of the course.
5) What did you like best about the course?
1: The instructors – they make the course unforgettable. 2: The dynamic of the two instructors; the seriousness and invested attitude of the instructors who were focused, engaging, and all around great. Also the materials (c15 books) were fantastic. 3: Seeing the materials and having two experts interact: the interaction between WN and PN was splendid. 4: Looking at the actual books guided by the expertise of the teachers. Overall the intellectual level was just right. At times we probably knew a little more than the teachers expected. 5: The fundamental focus on the need for evidence in studying books as historical objects. 6: See no. 3. 7: The opportunity to learn from two very accomplished experts in this field. 8: The course was well designed, the instructors were immensely knowledgeable, and the access to illustrative examples was extremely useful. 9: Many things: PN and WN firstly – they’re wonderful! The manuscripts and incunabula in the Walters collections. All of it. 10: The instructors are ferociously learned, and great teachers.
6) How could the course have been improved?
1: Not possible. 3: Nothing I can think of. 5: Some areas of incunable study were omitted entirely. A highly selected and selective list of reference works basic to both printed and MS book study would have been welcome. 6: Updated reading list. 7: I think some of the material covered could have been dealt with through more targeted readings. This would have allowed for wider coverage or more discussion. 8: More prioritization on the reading lists would have been useful – there were many works and it wasn’t always clear which would be most significant. A bibliography would also be helpful with the workbook. 9: Perhaps restrict class size. I liked everyone and our dynamic, but it became difficult to see the books, especially small Books of Hours. Perhaps remind some to be more conscientious about allowing others to see. 10: It could have been longer?!
7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by our host institutions. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?
1: N/A. 2: N/A; all materials were well cared for. 5: None. 7: The materials were very well protected. 9: None. 10: No suggestions.
8) If you attended the Sunday reception and/or Monday night lecture, were they worth attending?
1: The lecture by JSvL was brilliant – learned & funny. 2: Yes to both – Monday’s lecture by JSvL was especially good. 3: Yes, both. Great lecture by JSvL. 4: Yes, JSvL’s lecture was extremely interesting. 5: Very much so, especially JSvL’s talk. 6: The Sunday reception helped to get to know other students, and their backgrounds 7: Yes. 8: Both were enjoyable and worth attending. 9: Yes – the Sunday dinner was a great ice-breaker. JSvL’s talk was very interesting and provocative; plus it had lots of pretty pictures. 10: I did not attend the reception. The Monday lecture was both entertaining and informative.
9) If you attended the evening tours of JHU’s Peabody Library and/or the WAM, was the time profitably spent?
1: It certainly was. 2: Yes – both excellent, particularly WAM. 3: Yes, interesting collection at the Peabody; and different materials than we saw in class at WAM 4: Yes! 5: Yes. 6: Definitely fun. 7: Yes. 8: Yes – a real treat to explore these collections, as well as the collection at Evergreen House! 9-10: Yes.
10) Did you get your money’s worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?
1: Best value for money in Baltimore! I was happy with the cost by Monday at noon. 2: Yes, well worth the time and effort and expense. Advice: do the readings – it’s worth it. 3: Yes, wonderful course. Read at least some PN to get a feel for how he approaches the subject. 4: Well-worth the trip! It is definitely worth doing the pre-course reading and brushing up on the Latin. How about an advanced course on c15 books? 5: Yes. 7: Yes. This course was very much worth the time and expense. 8: This course was excellent – well worth the time and money. Thank you so much! 9: Yes. Absolutely take this course if you can! 10: I definitely got (my institution’s) money’s worth, and would recommend this course to others.
Number of respondents: 10
Leave Tuition Housing Travel
Institution Institution Institution Institution
gave me leave paid tuition paid housing paid travel
70% 70% 50% 60%
I took vaca- I paid tui- I paid for my I paid my own
tion time tion myself own housing travel
20% 20% 40% 30%
N/A: self- N/A: Self- N/A: stayed N/A: lived
employed, re- employed, with friends nearby
tired, or had retired, or or lived at
summers off scholarship home
10% 10% 10% 10%
There were: 3 rare book librarians (30%), 3 rare book and special collections librarians (30%), 1 manuscript librarian (10%), 1 general librarian w/some rare book duties (10%), 1 teacher (10%), and 1 retired (10%).