G-30: Printed Books Since 1800: Description & Analysis
4-8 July 2011
1) How useful were the pre-course readings? (Leave blank if you applied and were accepted late for the course, and thus did not get the list in time.)
1: Excellent choice. I needed to re-read (especially Gaskell) over and over (and still miss things) during the week. I intend to add most of the "extended" reading titles to my collection. 2: Gaskell's New Introduction to Bibliography is, as is well-established, a great source for introductory learning in the history of the book. It was therefore a perfect requirement for the class, providing a background knowledge to allow more time for other lessons during class time. 3: The readings were very useful. 4: Reading the Gaskell and Carter were helpful in providing a sense of recognition during lectures. I felt more prepared to come in and fully understand after class discussion. 5: Pre-course reading were essential to the class. Without them it would have taken much more time to teach and learn. 6: Very useful. Some books took more time, but were very helpful in understanding the terms that were used in class. 7: Helpful, but Gaskell seemed to focus more on English printing than American. A supplementary book on the States would have been good. Quizzes on ABC would have been a welcome addition. 8: Yes. 9: Very useful.
2) Were the course workbook and other materials distributed in class appropriate and useful (or will they be so in the future, after you return home)?
1: We each had a copy of Carter, but we never really used it. Perhaps classroom exercises could be designed that would encourage us to dive into these very helpful books. 2: For the most part, yes—our materials were typically illustrated packets that also appeared in slideshow form and again in our mini-museums, but the opportunity to take the images home is certainly appreciated. 3: Yes, they were appropriate and useful—I intend on putting them in a three-ring binder as a reference guide. 4: The pamphlets that TC prepared were very useful. The pictures were great examples of books and their characteristics. A definition attached to some more obscure characteristics or types of books would be nice. 5: Some of the materials were quite useful. Others were simply aesthetically pleasing. The latter could use more descriptive text. 6: Yes, all the materials that were distributed will make my job easier. Great reference material. 7: Yes, very useful. The graphics and color really help you to learn the terms. 8: Yes and yes. 9: Yes, the guidebooks were useful. An additional guide on book illustration would have been 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: Detailed analysis—most important. Learning to "read" the artifact-paper, type, printing process, binding, questioning what we see, being creative in constructing possible explanations. 2: The most interesting (and useful) aspect of this course was the interactive teaching between TC, a bookseller, and KR, a librarian. Seeing the two sides of the book market was fascinating, and great discussions emerged during those periods. 3: I fear the course was a wee bit too basic and that more time could have been better spent on the history of book production in the nineteenth century (Gaskell), and perhaps less time on things like national utilities and catalogs. 4: The level was appropriate. I felt very novice at the beginning of the week and now I am more confident in my ability to analyze the book physically. The understanding of physical qualities will augment my research well. 5: The entire course was relevant. The intellectual level was highly appropriate for me. 6: I found the discussions on the evolution of book covers and dust wrappers to be very interesting. I enjoyed the panel by booksellers and found their insights useful. Because I am fairly novice at my job, I found all the information discussed extremely relevant. 7: All aspects relevant. It was a comprehensive introduction from many points of view in the book world. 9: General information of placing the book as object into context. Descriptive terms commonly accepted in field and the relationship between dealers and institutions.
4) What did you like best about the course?
1: Candidness. This topic of book collections can be rife with all sorts of subterfuge and part truths—both instructors carefully explained how institutions, collections, and dealers view the issues. 2: I liked the fact that I learned just as much from my classmates—both in class discussion and in conversations during breaks—as I did from my teachers. 3: The best part of the course was getting to see actual examples of things discussed in class (bindings, dust jackets, &c.)—I learned the most from these examples than anything else. 4: I liked our discussions and mini-museums. The various class members had unique perspectives and diverse understandings of certain topics. I most liked the discussions about usefulness of books in libraries. 5: I especially liked the visual and interactive portions following each lecture to solidify what had been taught. 6: I felt the interaction between the two instructors to be very useful as to the fact that they were coming from different areas in the field. 7: The show-and-tell museums and the self-text exercise. 9: Discussion about dealer catalogs and institutional buying.
5) Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?
1: Yes—having a study collection to work from is vital, the actual artifact being used to illustrate a point is the best way to really learn—to put that part into one's toolkit. Now I have some experience with what a relief process will look like on the page. I have some idea of the historical development of the ways illustrations were made, &c. 2: The instructors were certainly successful in conveying information, and I definitely learned a great deal and enjoyed doing so, but perhaps the class' title is a bit misleading. 3: For the most part, yes. 4: Yes. The explanations were detailed (as much as possible) and the physical examples were particularly key in grasping some concepts. 5: Yes. 6: Our last project was a bit ambiguous, but otherwise everything was presented well. 7: Yes, definitely. I feel confident that I would like to continue learning descriptive bibliography. 8: Yes. 9: For the most part I felt it did,
6) Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn? Y/N
1: Yes. 2: Yes, though there was more of a focus on the book market than the physical book. 3-9: Yes.
7) Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N
1-2: Yes. 3: Yes, but more on book illustrations, bindings, please. 4: Yes. I wanted to know more about the actual factory methods of book making and reading culture of the post-1800 world. 5: Yes. I was quite pleased that I was able to learn and understand quickly. 6: Yes. I think this was an absolute perfect fit for me—I'm in the process of learning the antiquarian book-selling business and I needed this basic info to work off of. 7-9: Yes.
8) How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?
1: First, I need to continue learning about the book using what I know to experience the books for which I am responsible at my own institution. Then I need to find ways to engage my staff in this—they need this information even more than me because they are doing extensive reference work. And—ultimately, the public needs to really understand "their" collections. 2: In many ways, not only directly in my knowledge of book terms, but also in my greater understanding of the various roles in the book market. 3: I'm certain my research skills have been enhanced and I'll be applying my newly gained knowledge in my cataloging. 4: I will hopefully continue to do research using rare books in the RBS or [UVA] Special Collections Library throughout the year, the knowledge of book making history and the trajectory of different methods will be very useful. 5: I will use the skills daily in evaluating and organizing our collection. 6: I think the knowledge of typeface and various illustrations will help me identify correctly what I am looking at in the future—also the dust wrapper info will change the way I look at books. 7: For research toward my dissertation on American poetry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 9: Doing more accurate research before purchasing books for my institution.
9) How could the course have been improved? If you have a suggestion for a new course (and—equally important—a person who could teach it), please contact the RBS Program Director.
1: I can think of a lot of small ways that would please me—but I also respect each person's teaching style—for me—I'd have the students "build" their notes into a real reference book they could use—so there might be an institutional one, a collection, etc. place to put quick pictures of examples examined, reference citations, etc. 2: I think that perhaps another "field trip" could be used for some greater market interaction. 3: See [answer to question] number three. 6: I'm not sure the final project made use of our limited time here. 7: More explicit writing exercises and correction by instructors. A visit to SC? 9: A little more discussion of illustration.
10) 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, all trips were fine. Well-planned and to the point. 2: The time away from class was spent in the RBS collections. This was well-spent, but I do think another trip could have been useful—perhaps to the Rotunda exhibition, or something similar. 4: We made a trip to Lower Tibet twice—once to see the Jane Eyre collection and another to pick a book for research. I loved seeing the stacks and noting all the different books. 5: Yes, all time in this class was well used. 6: Yes, very much enjoyed the panel of booksellers. 8: We went to RBS's library and picked materials to use for a project. This was an excellent idea, and worked well for the class. 9: Yes.
11) 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?
1: None. I learned from you! Thank you. 2: The handling of materials was entirely acceptable. 4: No, it seemed we used our books gently and respectfully. 5: None. 6: More emphasis on how to handle books. 7: Mandatory use of foam and book holders for all items—just to keep everyone in the habit. 8: None. 9: You are doing a good job.
12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g. RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?
1: Yes—the Kiffer lecture was really outstanding—Wednesday evening not so much. We seem to really like those "descriptive" lectures. Perhaps other perspectives ... advocacy? Or ?? 2: They certainly were. These are a wonderful and necessary aspect of the school. 3: Yes, the lecture this year was excellent. 5: There was enough variety in the evening events that each attendee found at least one or two worth attending. 6: Very much. I especially loved the Independence Day lecture. I learned a great deal. 7: I attended the lectures. They were informative. 8: I attended the lecture and Booksellers' Night. Both were highlights. 9: Some were.
13) Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year?
1: Yes, money well spent. I think incoming students should really do the reading—I might find another way to make this easier. Use a mystery book or something and have students readings during the week. I've re-read lots of stuff because I had questions and was curious. 2: I would say so! 3: Yes. 4: Yes! 5: Yes. For future attendees do your reading before the course. 6: Yes. 7: Yes, I would like to come back next summer. This is what they should teach you in graduate school. 9: Yes.
14) Would you recommend this course to others?
2: I would. 3: Yes. 4: Yes! 5-8: Yes. 9: Yes, in the proper context.
Number of respondents: 9
Institution gave me leave
I took vacation time
N/A: self-employed, retired or had the summers off
I am self-employed
Work has nothing to do with RBS course
Institution paid tuition
Institution paid tuition ___%
I paid tuition myself
Exchange or barter
N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship
Institution paid housing
Institution paid for ___% of housing
I paid for my own housing
N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home
Institution paid ___% of my travel
I paid my own travel
N/A: lived nearby
There were 1 special collections manager (11%), 2 antiquarian booksellers (22%), 1 museum manager with some rare book duties (11%), 1 historian with some rare book duties (11%), 1 acquisitions technician for museum (11%), 2 full-time students (22%), and 1 unanswered response (11%).
Where did you stay?
Brown College: 3
The Lawn: 2
Hampton Inn & Suites: 1
Red Roof Inn: 1