Deborah J. Leslie

L-30: Rare Book Cataloging

4–8 June 2012


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: They were very useful. I practiced using RBMSB on books already on my desk—but did not contribute them to OCLC. 2: They were helpful—I appreciate that they were broken up into "Required" and "Recommended." 3: Very useful. 4: Very useful. I was conversant with terminologies, could visualize printing processes and collations. I would have liked more time for the homework! 5: Very useful. I slogged through DCRM(B), and it, along with the other pre-reading, helped more of what was explained in class to stick. 6: The readings were essential and will be valuable resources when I return home. 7: Very useful, especially Terry Belanger's article. 8: They were very useful and served as an introduction for what was to be covered in class. I did not have time to do additional preparations beyond required/recommended pre-class work. 9: I found the required reading very helpful. We covered everything in class, but having at least briefly read the assigned reading made things stick when we talked about them in class. 10: Everything assigned to do or read in advance paid off. 11: The pre-course readings were very helpful in bringing me up to speed on terminology end rules. I found it easier to follow class than if I had not been prepared. 12: Very helpful. Thank you for making the reading list available far enough in advance to get out-of-print items.

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, I will use them each time I do special collections cataloging. 2: Yes, they will be extremely useful, particularly the examples (photocopies of title pages and their bibliographic records). 3: Yes. 4: Thrilled to have these materials and sources; will definitely assist with my job assignments. 5: Very much so, to both parts. 6: Incredibly so! 7: Yes, I'll use the workbook in the future. 8: Yes, they were useful during class and will be a valuable reference source in the future. Having space on pages in them to write additional comments or notes was helpful. 9: Very. I expect to consult them frequently. 10: The course workbook and other materials are impressive in breadth and depth—truly a gift. 11: They were extremely useful—it is going to be very hard for me not to plagiarize them when creating my own guidelines! 12: Yes, great reference for later.

3) Have you taken one or more RBS courses before? If so, how did this course compare with your previous coursework?

1: No. 2: No, I have not. 3: No. 4: First course; finances available will do more! 5: No. 6: Coursework was approximately the same, which is to say appropriate. 7: No. 8: This is my first one. 9: No. 10: Yes. I have taken two courses prior to this one. This was a more challenging course for me because it is more technical in nature. More work was required, but justified. 11: I have not. 12: N/A.

4)    What aspects of the course content were of the greatest interest or relevance for your purposes?

1: Hands-on practice and group work through examples. 2: Everything—how to catalog rare books! 3: Title page transcription, collation, DCRM(B) rule interpretation, cataloging policy discussions. 5: A firm handle on DCRM(B) rules that I can apply to DCRM(B) and special collections cataloging work. 6: I found the involved exercises producing signature statements to be most valuable. This was an area where I have struggled in the past. 7: It's hard to say. All aspects of the course were relevant. 8: Instruction, being able to ask questions and having a chance to work with materials and practice. 9: The bulk of the course, the actual process of applying DCRM(B) rules to cataloging books. 10: Learning to catalog rare book materials. 11: I had many questions related to conduct and "best practices," and thankfully I now have a much better understanding of what to do in certain situations. 12: Hands-on practice and opportunities for discussion.

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

1: Yes. 2: Yes—if a specific skill was not taught/mastered, I am confident that we were at least given the resources to acquire the knowledge (further reading, websites, &c.). 3: YES. The intellectual level is often a function of the choice of participants. The choices were good. 4: Excellent all round. Great group of people very well led by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic instructor. 5: I'm impressed at how much we learned, and really retained, in this five-day time frame. 6: 100% so! 7: Yes. 8: Yes. The instructor presented the course materials with enthusiasm, humor, and was very well prepared and knowledgeable. 9: Definitely. I now feel confident in my ability to catalog rare books. 10: One of the best aspects of all RBS courses is the intellectual challenge they present in a worrisomely dumbed down cultural world. I worried that in this case I had bitten off more than I could chew. It would be more accurate to say that I have more to digest. 11: I never felt lost in this course, everything was clear and concise. I have gained so many new skills in just a short week! 12: Yes.

6) What did you like best about the course?

1: Hands-on work. 2: Practicum, going over all the examples of classmates. Examples, examples, examples! 3: Practice; discussion of cataloging problems with particular items. 4: Sharing ideas, discoveries. 5: DJL's knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the subject, along with her intellectualism and willingness to question herself along with everything else. 6: The course was perfectly balanced as far as lecture, guided practice, and independent work. DJL is a gem! 7: A lot of very important and relevant information condensed in five days. 8: See answer to #4. 9: The combination of cheerfulness and thoroughness of the instructor. 10: The camaraderie in this course, as in the other courses I have taken, has been memorable, but also the intellectual challenge and the knowledge acquired. 11: The transcription exercises and plethora of visual examples really helped me understand often complex topics. 12: Old books!

7) How could the course have been improved?

1: Perhaps some time could be found to devote to an area most difficult for each student or group of students. Not everything was equally hard-structured. Time with teacher in smaller groups would be good. 2: No suggestions for improvement. 3: Well, it could be longer. Some of us absorb information at a slow pace. 4: Not knowledgeable enough at this point to say. 5: It isn't very useful, but I can't think of much. Plenty more could have been discussed, but I don't know what I'd cut out to make room. 6: The only area where I would have wanted slightly more examples was in binding descriptions. 7: No suggestions; the course was very well prepared. 8: The physical space was a little cramped. It would have been nice to have a little more space to work with when using materials. 9: I would have liked to learn more about appropriate wording and construction of notes, and perhaps about how policies and procedures differ in different institutions. 10: Some technical snafus with blinking lights, cranky overhead projection need attention. Larger tables to accommodate the new chairs might be nice. On an intellectual level—more opportunities to try out writing your own field and then reviewing before being faced with an entire record to create. 11: The course is excellent; I would ask that other courses in advanced cataloging be added for other bibliographic formats (i.e., serials, cartographic materials).

8)    Did you learn what the course description/advertisements indicated you would learn?

1–8: Yes. 9: Yes. Emphatically. 10–12: Yes.

9)    Did you learn what you wanted to learn in the course?

1: Yes. Would have liked extra time to devote to aspects most difficult for me.  2–7: Yes. 8: Yes. Some things I learned were unexpected. 9: Yes. Again, emphatically. 10–12: Yes.

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

1: Develop rare books cataloging policy, workflow, and to actually catalog a lot of rare books. 2: In my work cataloging rare books. 3: I will write a rare books cataloging policy for my library. I will apply the knowledge and skills to the truckloads of rare books that are awaiting my return. 4: I hope to be able to encourage the development of cataloging policy—a great beginning. 5: I hope to assume more rare book responsibilities in my position. 6: Everyday I am faced with situations where I will be applying these skills. Moreover, I will be able to more ably instruct our staff. 7: I will feel much more confident cataloging rare book materials in the future. 8: In my work I will definitely be able to apply what I learned and when appropriate share with other colleagues. 9: Begin cataloging rare books at the library where I work. 10: To become more adept in my internship. 11: I will be developing a rare book cataloging policy for my institution. 12: Begin using DCRM(B) at my institution.

11)  If your class made any trips away from your classroom, was the time devoted to this purpose well spent?

1: Yes. 2: Yes, very much so. 3: Most definitely! 4: Oh, yes. Comparison of c17 publications of same title. 5: Very much so. 6: Yes, our trip to SC was valuable. 7: Very much so. 8: Yes. We spent an afternoon in UVA's SC Library and were given a chance to look at some books that we were discussing the issues of in class. 9: Yes. Very interesting and helpful in illustrating differences between edition/issue/impression/state covered in lectures. 10: Excellent presentation by David Vander Meulen on Hinman. 11: Absolutely. The time at the Small SC Library was very useful. 12: Yes.

12) If you attended the optional evening events (e.g., RBS Lecture, Video Night, RBS Forum, Booksellers' Night) were they worth attending?

1–2: Yes. 3: YES. I attended all of them except the Booksellers' Night. 4: All well done and useful. "Printing in Williamsburg" was less than informational; more like a commercial promotion of Williamsburg or salute to the flag. 5: Generally yes, though one lecture was more engaging than the other. 6: Yes. 7: Yes. All events were interesting and thought-provoking. 8: Yes, especially the lectures were very interesting. 9: Yes. Both for the content and for the building of relationships with colleagues. 10: Lectures were excellent as always. Videos less so, and after going to John L. King in Detroit, other booksellers pale. 11: Definitely. Video Night was particularly fun. 12: Yes—lectures were great.

13)  We are always concerned about the physical well-being both of the RBS teaching collections and of materials owned by the 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: No. 2: No suggestions. 4: Very carefully done; no suggestions. 5: I think our materials were treated as well as was practical. 6: None. 7: N/A. 8: No real suggestion to improve—we were shown and told how to handle them properly. 11: A handling demonstration might be useful for less experienced users of rare materials.

14)  Did you get your (or your institutions) money's worth? Would you recommend this course to others?

1: Yes. 2: Yes; yes. 3: YES. YES. 4–5: Yes and yes. 6: Absolutely. What a bargain, considering the amount of personal attention. 7: Yes, absolutely. 8: I believe so, and I would recommend it but I would also say to anyone to be serious about doing the pre-class readings and to be prepared to do some out-of-class work as well as spend five full days engaged in the course. 9: Yes. Yes. 10: N/A. 11: I absolutely did. I am grateful to have been a recipient of the RBS scholarship, and I will be recommending this class to my staff. 12: Yes.

15)  Any final or summary thoughts, or advice for other persons considering taking this course in a future year? (If you have further RBS praise or concerns, or if you have suggestions for a new course, please contact Amanda Nelsen [] or Michael Suarez [].)

5: I'd heard great things about this course, and it was as advertised. A great week. 6: Thanks! 7: I would like to have an advanced rare book cataloging class in the future if possible. 10: Many thanks as always for the work you do at RBS and the opportunities you offer. 11: Do yourself a favor and take this class! I have never felt more confident about my skills.

Number of respondents: 12





Institution gave me leave


11 (92%)


I took vacation time




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


1 (8%)


I am self-employed

Work has nothing to do with RBS course






Institution paid tuition


9 (75%)


Institution paid tuition ___%




I paid tuition myself


1 (8%)


Exchange or barter




N/A: Self-employed, retired or scholarship

2 (17%)




Institution paid housing


5 (42%)


Institution paid for ___% of housing




I paid for my own housing


5 (42%)


N/A: stayed with friends or lived at home


2 (16%)





Institution paid travel


7 (59%)


Institution paid ___% of my travel




I paid my own travel


3 (25%)


N/A: lived nearby


2 (16%)





There were eight catalogers (67%), one library administrator (8%), one archivist (8%), one technical services librarian with rare book duties (8%), one retired librarian (8%)


How did you hear about this course?


RBS Website

4 (33%)

Work Colleague

6 (50%)


1 (8%)



Word of mouth

1 (8%)





Where did you stay?

Brown College: 7 (59%)

Cavalier Inn: 3 (25%)

Other: 2 (16%)