Ellis Tinios

I-90: The Art of the Book in Edo & Meiji Japan, 1615-1912

3-7 October 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: Very useful, and I'll continue to use them in the future. 2: All of the pre-course readings were useful as an aid to understanding the course material. 3: Very useful, including the supplemental readings. 4: The pre-course readings were greatly helpful as introduction, especially to someone like myself with no previous background in Japanese studies. 5: Pre-course readings were very useful and content often reappeared in the context of the course. Connections were made! 6: Very useful to gain familiarity with the subject before the course, and important for understanding the lectures. 7: Very much so. 8: I received notification of admission in September—not enough time to both acquire and complete the readings. I will read them after the course. 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: Yes and yes. 2: Excellent information. Very useful for collectors. 3: Workbook was appropriate and promises to be useful for the long term. 4: The course book will definitely come in handy as the instructor has packed it full of useful information—charts dates and terminology not necessarily retained during class time. 5: The course materials were top-of-the-line. Invaluable and clearly created with great care. 6: Yes. I do wish there were a few more handouts or workbook pages with figures from the slides (like the colophon) or example catalog records/fields. 7: Immensely useful. I will use it all the time. 8: Excellent course materials. Yes, as future reference as well. 9: Didn't have much time during class to refer to the reference book. But anticipate that it will prove extremely 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: The course provided an excellent introduction and overview of the topic through lecture format and use of Edo period books to show specific examples. 2: All of the course content was of interest and relevant. The intellectual level was appropriate. 3: The interwoven discussion of both the mechanical process and the historical context were both extremely interesting and very relevant for my purposes. 4: The intellectual level was appropriately malleable—the instructor was able to mend his lectures throughout to meet the needs of each student. 5: Perfect level of content. This course also covered deep socio-historical content and went well beyond books as artifact. 6: Information that allows me to identify characteristics of the book (in terms of format and content both) was most useful. 7: Beyond what I expected to encounter in five days, everyday end with image accompanied knowledge of Ellis', supported by his strongly organized textbook [sic]. 8: The entire course was fascinating. Greatest relevance: the ways in which an expert/connoisseur such as Dr. Tinios discusses illustration fiction [sic] as works of pictorial art (e.g., what makes one of several impressions superior?) 9: Aesthetic considerations.

4)    What did you like best about the course?

1: The instructor was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the topic. 2: The free interaction with the instructor; access to actual objects discussed. 3: The deep, wide-ranging and detailed lectures on the Edo and Meiji era books that we had the opportunity to view and discuss. 4: Difficult to say—everything was wonderful. Ellis was engaging, exciting, and excited about the material being taught—an excitement that was entirely contagious. The materials and environment made available by the Smithsonian were unmatchable. 5: Ellis clearly loves the topic and was always eager to get our insights. He took a great deal of time to follow up on every question. 6: See above. I also enjoyed spending time with colleagues with shared interests, gaining an overall familiarity with the lineage and forms of these books, and studying them in-person through the extraordinary resources of the Freer. 7: Ellis' comments about each book, printer, artist. Fulfill the in between of lines [sic]. 8: Extensive expertise of Dr. Tinios and his profound passion for the material. 9: Seeing the actual books.

5)    Did the instructor(s) successfully help you to acquire the information and skills that the course was intended to convey?

1: Yes. 2: The instructor is an excellent communicator and teacher. 3: Absolutely. I could not have asked for a better, more engaging introduction to the topic. 4: Certainly. I can't imagine a greater wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject. 5: Yes. I would take any course taught by Ellis. 6: The instructor's strength was in giving a broad overview and a history of the material, and very energetically. Some formal elements were also taught well such as the colophon and some types of seals. 7: Yes. Even taught me to think, look, feel beyond the book itself but who involved with, how, with which purposes [sic]. 8: Yes. 9: I took this course with no particular expectations for what we would be taught or that I would learn. I feel like I have been exposed to all kinds of new information and knowledge, but have no way of knowing what or how it may prove useful in the future. I haven't begun to absorb, let alone synthesize, most of the information.


6)         Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn? Y/ N

1-8: Yes.


7)         Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course? Y/N


1-2: Yes. 3: Yes. I learned so much more than I expected. 4-5: Yes. 6: Yes/No. 7-8: Yes.

8)    How do you intend to use or apply the knowledge or skills learned in this course?

1: I'd like to build a small collection of Edo Period books to use as a teaching collection for graduate students at my institution. 2: In acquiring books for my collection. 3: Yes. I expect to be able to use what I learned in this course to help library researchers in the use of our institution's Edo and Meiji book and print material. 4: I will use the knowledge gained in this course during my further education in the history of the book, wherever that may go! 5: Work with the special collections department of my library to clarify the description of our Japanese book holdings. I'll also apply this knowledge to my own collection. 6: In work at libraries when processing collections and assisting researchers, as well as personal enrichment. 7: I will use website more for reference more [sic]. 8: In my current and future research that involves theater-related print materials. 9: No idea.

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: The course was 100% satisfactory. 3: The only improvement I'd like to suggest is a second supplemental course on Edo period books. 4: I just hope Ellis gets to do his Hokusai RBS class. 5: The timeline for the admissions process was a bit strained. The summer courses are very time consuming to administer and it felt as if this fall course was left to the last minute. This made arrangements for leave and financing a bit difficult. Environmental noise from the building was a challenge. 6: A course with more focus on practical issues for librarians, such as bibliographic description, digitization, &c. Some kind of meaningful project work might have been useful to apply knowledge learned in the course, but may not be necessary. 7: More recommended reading books in the list. 8: From a pedagogical perspective, I can offer no improvements. ET is a most knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and inspiring instructor. 9: It could be longer. I think it would be helpful to have some not-very-precious Japanese books on site for students to be able to handle.

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: N/A. 3: The class made repeated visits to the Freer/Sackler collections to view material relevant to the class discussion. These viewing sessions were extremely helpful and interesting. 4: The class was split between our lecture room and a viewing area for the FS collection. This was a great balance—learning through Ellis' lectures, and then fulfilling them during viewing time. 5: Perfectly planned. 7: Yes. 8: Not applicable. 9: N/A.

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: N/A. 2: There were no problems. 3: None. 4: None. All good, from my perspective. 5: Extreme care was taken in all situations. 7: Well-handled. 8: N/A. 9: Classroom handling seemed fine, since only ET and staff were permitted to handle the books. I personally would have liked to be able to examine certain details more closely—both amount of time allotted and occasionally hands on (but understand why this is not possible).

12)  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. 2: N/A. 3: I feel I got much more out of the course than I expected and am most grateful to have been taught so much by such a capable and knowledgeable instructor. 4: Of course! 5: Yes. I've waited to take this course for a number of years. One of my finest professional development experiences. 6: Yes, I did. 7: More than I imagined. Anyone who has any interests in Japan should take this course to understand. 8: My biggest dissatisfaction with the course concerns its administrative handling by RBS. The course was not only announced late, but acceptance was also late. I did not even receive my confirmation and tuition invoice until two weeks before the course started. Instead of spending time on a Vade Mecum listing past/current RBS donors, RBS needs to take better care of its actual applicant and consider the airfare difference when reserving flights two months or two weeks in advance. 9: I certainly feel that I got my money's worth, and I would recommend the course unreservedly. I would certainly consider repeating it myself. It seemed pretty intense for someone who does not speak/read Japanese, though. I would not recommend it to someone without a fairly strong interest in things Japanese or a professional reason for taking it.

13) Would you recommend this course to others?

1: Yes, I would.  2: Yes. 3: Absolutely. This was a fantastic course. I would recommend it even to the non-specialist as well as the specialists. 4: I would strongly recommend this course to anyone interested in East Asian history, art or the art/history of the book in general. 5: Without hesitation. 6: Yes, but somewhat depending on purpose and background of the prospective student. 7: Highly. 8: Yes, Dr. Tinios' course using the Freer materials was quite remarkable. The Freer staff was also supportive. Please make course announcements earlier in the future. Thank you very much! 9: Yes; see above.

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 travel




Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel




N/A: lived nearby









There were 1 general librarian with some rare book duties (11%), 2 general librarians with no rare book duties (22%), 1 teacher/professor (11%), 1 bookseller (11%), 1 book collector (11%), 1 RBS staff member (11%), 1 retired individual (11%), 1 other (11%).


Where did you stay?

Hotel Harrington: 5 (56%)

Hotel Lombardy: 1 (11%)

Other: 3 (33%)