Deborah J. Leslie

L-30: Rare Book Cataloging

20-24 July 2009


1) How useful were the pre-course readings?


1: Very useful—must-reads. 2: They were useful as a base, but the class provided more context for understanding them. 3: Good overall—it's difficult (if not impossible) to read cataloging rules cover to cover, but it was helpful to have spent time familiarizing myself with the content. Terry Belanger article on descriptive bibliography was excellent and spot on ... very clear introduction to some central concepts. 4: All course readings were very helpful. The collection selected gave an appropriate level of background to the class. 5: Most were helpful. Some were texts I had already read, but the review was useful. It is difficult to absorb all the rules in DCRM(B) simply by reading cover to cover. 6: Very helpful to contextualize the subject, particularly vocabulary. 7: Very. 8: The pre-course readings set the stage for the class—good overviews of what was to be covered. 9: Very useful. Especially the vocabulary, and TB. I read DCRM(B), however it did not really "sink in" until I began to apply it in class. 10: Very useful, made the course much more valuable. 11: To tell the truth, I found the readings made more sense during the course of the class. I did find the pre-course glossary exercise (where we looked up various terms) useful. 12: Very helpful; they set the context for early books in general and helped clarify the cataloging-specific readings.


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: The course materials will make a valuable reference resource. 2: Absolutely. I will be using the workbook DJL distributed as a ready reference at work and it will be key in creating my rare book cataloging policy. 3: Nice to have course booklet (good place for my notes along with the slides!). I think the appendix will also prove useful as a resource. 4: Yes—the workbook provided, and notes on the accompanying lectures were extremely useful in class and I'm sure will prove to be well used when I return to work. However, I would have liked to see more examples. 5: I'm sure the lecture notes and materials will add to my reference materials when I catalog rare books. 6-7: Yes. 8: The workbook will be an excellent tool to refer back to. 9: Yes, very useful. I will be adding the workbook to my "short shelf" of cataloging resources. 10: Absolutely! Course materials, PowerPoint handouts from lectures will be "working" tools for me for some time. 11-12: Yes.


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 hands-on cataloging—applying what we learned in the lectures. 2: The course as a whole was of great interest. Every topic we covered dealt with topics relevant to what I do at work. 3: Intellectual level was perfect—I felt more challenged than I have by previous RBS courses (the benefit of a course for working catalogers) but I definitely felt I was getting the hang of things throughout the week. 4: Almost everything we talked about will prove to be beneficial to my job. Although not everything discussed will be used in my day to day work, I understand that a variety of libraries are represented in class, and all aspects of cataloging must be covered. The intellectual level was appropriate. 5: The actual practice and exposure to examples was the most beneficial in understanding the "rules" of cataloging as I will apply them back home. 6: Everything seemed relevant. The intellectual level of the course is appropriate. 7: Transcription. Level was appropriate. 8: How to use DCRM(B)—applying what I know about cataloging to rare materials. 9: I felt I had to struggle at first to keep up. I think looking at ESTC and a few other useful sites like RBMS Thesauri before class would have been useful—of course I realize many of my classmates were already very familiar with these resources. 10: DJL is very knowledgeable, experienced and an excellent instructor. I couldn't have learned so much so quickly studying on my own. Amount of time spent on each aspect of rare book cataloging was well balanced. Exercises were most helpful to reinforce lecture content. 11: I particularly needed to learn aspects of cataloging that are relevant for rare books that differ from modern (c20-c21) imprints, including terminology. I feel like I have a better grasp of these concepts and terms now. 12: The detailed overview of the catalog record and the principles of transcription and physical description and analysis of books were especially useful, since these are the key differences between DCRM and general cataloging.


4) If your course left its classroom to visit Special Collections (SC) or to make other field trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?


1: Yes—very interesting, but would have enjoyed spending more time with the digitization crew. 2: Our trip to the SC library was very useful to see practical applications of deep, correct cataloging. 3: Yes! Best/easiest field trip I've had at RBS—just a portion of an afternoon and just next door at Small, but very relevant—useful to have examples for understanding certain different concepts, getting insight into the work of bibliographers. 4: Our trip to SC was especially helpful as it helped illustrate a particularly complicated cataloging situation. 5: Yes. Seeing examples of differences between copies of works in a collection helped demonstrate why rare book cataloging is important. 6-7: Yes. 8: Yes. David [L. Vander Meulen]'s lecture was interesting and gave insight into how bibliographers work. 9: The session spent with DLVM was very informative and fun. It was particularly useful to see how a good record can aid in a bibliographer's work. Also great to compare the four Poe books—not a common opportunity. 11: Yes. In fact, our visit to SC "segued" from our discussion of edition vs. impression vs. issue vs. state. We got first-hand viewing of what these terms mean. 12: Very much; viewing slightly variant editions of a work was helpful to train my eye to pick up on details.


5) What did you like best about the course?


1: A very comfortable atmosphere in which to learn. 2: I have a renewed sense of purpose for my rare book cataloging work. I have direction and instruction that was previously lacking at my institution. I am also glad for the opportunity to network with others in the field. 4: The time spent on exercises. 5: I learned a lot from the instructor's abundant knowledge and expertise, as well as from the differing perspectives and institutional practices of my classmates which the instructor was able to contextualize for us all. 6: The class provided knowledge of a new specialty while reminding me (or allowing me to review) the general practice of cataloging. 7: Hands-on work (i.e. practicum). Visiting Special Collections. Classroom conversations. 8: Learning! Stretching my knowledge. 9: Meeting my colleagues and comparing 'shop talk'. Working with the book and the records. Multiple Reiteration theory and precise language for clarity. 10: Course content, instructor's commitment to our learning, my classmates. 11: Being able to work hands-on with rare books. Working with a small group of people and being able to interact with them and with the instruction. Working with an instructor who is not only an expert in the field, but also a wonderful person. 12: Practice exercises and the review. Also, the instructor's willingness to discuss alternative solutions to problems. She created an atmosphere in which learning could and did occur.


6) How could the course have been improved?


1: Sometimes the days were just too short. 2: I would have liked more explanatory slides on i/j/u/v rules to accompany the lecture and see references to Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books). This would make the workbook more complete as a reference. 3: Pacing on Tuesday seemed a bit off—illustration lecture could have been shorter, I think, and maybe we could've started our movies a bit earlier? Monday and Tuesday were particularly long. 4: I would have liked more in-class examples. 6: N/A. 7: More hands-on work with materials. 8: Nothing—excellent course. 9: If there is a way to improve it Deborah Leslie will find it. I was impressed with her desire to every day make it the best class possible and with her ongoing concern for improving the next course. 10: Maybe by adding one more day, but really it's excellent. 11: I think it was well structured, plus the instructor tries to tailor it to each class. So, I don't know how to improve it, really. 12: The videos shown were useful. However, the time was less optimal. I'm aware other times were tried in the past. I found extending the day by an hour meant I was at a low ebb in terms of attention to them. Perhaps taking a half hour for lunch would work?


7) We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by UVa's Special Collections. If relevant, what suggestions do you have for the improved classroom handling of such materials used in your course this week?


2: No suggestions. 4: I think DJL provided appropriate instructions on how to handle the material used in class. 9: Stricter rules about food and drink in the classroom, although this was a very conscientious and careful class. 10: Can't think of anything I'd change. 11: Perhaps having a place nearby where we could put our "stuff" while working on the books (notebooks, textbooks, purses, &c.) 12: I've received good basic guidelines, which gradually became more second nature as the week progressed.


8) If you attended the Sunday and/or other evening lectures, were they worth attending?


1: Yes—the Sunday evening lecture was great. 2: Mark [Dimunation]'s lecture on Jefferson's books was entertaining and informative. 3: Monday night lecture was fantastic! 4: Yes, I just wish I'd had more time to attend them. 5: Yes. MD's lecture was especially enjoyable. 6-7: Yes. 8: Monday's lecture on the Jefferson Collection was most interesting and enjoyable. 9: Yes. I always enjoy TB's comments and MD's lecture was riveting! 10: Yes! Sunday and Monday lectures were very interesting. I was happy I chose to attend. 11: I enjoyed both lectures, particularly the one on Monday night with MD, perhaps because I had seen the Jefferson exhibit at the Library of Congress last year! 12: As a first timer here, I appreciated the variety of the offerings. MD's lecture was most enlightening.


9) 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: More than my money's worth! Do the reading and be prepared for an intense week of learning. 2: Definitely got my money's worth. Please offer a Rare Book Cataloging 2 class. To any rare book catalogers: take this class. 3: It was a financial stretch for me to attend this session (had previously received institutional support) but nevertheless—coursework that will hopefully serve me well in the future. 4: Yes, I did get my money's worth—all the training and instruction I received will be used extensively in my job. I have minimal cataloging experience, and I was able to follow most lectures with no problems. DJL was quite willing to take the time to explain certain points further if extra instruction was needed. 5: Yes, and I'm sure that my employer will agree. 6: Thank you for this thoughtful program. 7: Yes, got my money's worth. How about a Rare Book Cataloging 2 class? 8: Yes! Would love to take another course. Course was intense, but well worth the effort. DJL is able to combine her knowledge and expertise—and share that with us in a way we could understand. 9: Yes, or rather my institution will get a good return on my experience here. Be rested. Be well. Be prepared. It is a rigorous, highly enjoyable experience. 10: Worth every penny my institution paid for my training here. I will be a much better rare book cataloger when I return to work. I recommend this course to anyone aspiring to be or improve as a rare book cataloger. 11: I definitely think I got my money's worth and would recommend this course to colleagues who are serious about their work with rare books. 12: Most useful, intellectually engaging. I hope to return.


Number of respondents: 12





Institution gave me leave: 100%

I took vacation time: 0%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or had summers off: 0%



Institution paid tuition: 75%

I paid tuition myself: 8%

N/A: self-employed, retired, or scholarship: 17%



Instution paid housing: 75%

I paid for my own housing: 17%

N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home: 8%



Institution paid travel: 75%

I paid my own travel: 25%

N/A: lived nearby: 0%


There were 5 rare book librarians (42%), 1 archivist/manuscript librarian (8%), 3 general librarians with some rare book duties (25%), and two cataloging librarians (17%).