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section heading icon     libraries and archives

This page points to some studies of libraries and archives.

It covers -

section marker icon     institutions

The literature on libraries as a field of study and on individual institutions or collections threatens to become overwhelming.

Among recent works of interest are Abigail Van Slyck's Free to All: Carnegie Libraries and American Culture, 1890-1920 (Chicago: Uni of Chicago Press 1995), Bernhard Bischoff's Manuscripts and Libraries in the Age of Charlemagne (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press 1993) and Lionel Casson's crisp Libraries in the Ancient World (New Haven: Yale Uni Press 2001). For circulating libraries see in particular David Kaser's A Book for a Sixpence: The Circulating Library in America (Pittsburgh : Beta Phi Mu 1980)

section marker icon     catalogues

Charles Cutter identified the functions of a library catalog as being to

a   enable a person to find a book of which either the author, title or subject is known
b   show what the library has by a given author, on a specified subject or in a specified kind of literature (eg history, poetry, drama)
c   assist in the choice of a work on the basis of its edition (bibliographically) or its character (literary or topical)

Literature on catalogues and the challenges of arrangement and retrieval (or merely where to store books) includes Georges Perec's 'Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One's Books' in Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (London: Penguin 1998), Lunacy and the Arrangement of Books (New Castle: Oak Knoll 2003) by Terry Belanger, A history of cataloguing and cataloguing methods 1100-1850: with an introductory survey of ancient times (London: Grafton 1939) by Dorothy Norris, Two Kinds of Power: An Essay on Bibliographical Control (Berkeley: Uni of California Press 1969) by Patrick Wilson, Future libraries: future catalogues (London: Library Association Publishing 1996) by Pat Oddy, .

More technical studies include 'Forging the Anglo-American cataloging alliance: descriptive cataloging, 1830-1908' by Virgil Blake in 35(1) Cataloging & Classification Quarterly (2002) 3-21, 'Treated with a degree of uniformity and common sense: descriptive cataloging in the United States 1876-1975' by Kathryn Henderson in 25(1) Library Trends (1976) 227-71, 'The place and role of bibliographic description in general and individual catalogues: a historical analysis' by George London in 30(4) Libri (1980) 253-83, 'Subject Catalogs, Classifications, or Bibliographies? A Review of
Critical Discussions, 1876-1942' by Raynard Swank in 14 Library Quarterly (1944) 316-32, Jesse Shera's 'The Book Catalog and the Scholar: A Re-examination of an Old Partnership' in Book Catalogs (New York: Scarecrow Press 1963) edited by Robert Kingery & Maurice Tauber.

A discussion of online directories features elsewhere on this site. The online WorldCat provides access to major library catalogues; Libraries Australia covers Australian institutions.

section marker icon     archives

Dust: The Archive and Cultural History (New Brunswick: Rutgers Uni Press 2002) by Carolyn Steedman and Archives & the Public Good: Accountability and Records in Modern Society (Westport: Quorum 2002) edited by Richard Cox offer an introduction to the archive.

section marker icon     bookplates

French collector Baron Jéhan de Witte huffed in 1904 that

a book without an ex-libris is like a body without a soul, a noble without a parchment, a building without a deed of property, a shop without a sign.

For bookplates see Brian Lee's Early Printed Book Labels (Newton Abbot: David & Charles 1976) and British Bookplates: A Pictorial History (Newton Abbot: David & Charles 1979), The golden era of American bookplate design, 1890-1940 (London: The Bookplate Society 1986) by William & Darlene Butler and A treasury of bookplates from the Renaissance to the present (New York: Dover 1977) by Fridolf Johnson and L'ex-libris: Histoire, Art, Techniques (Paris: Picart 1989) by Germaine Meyer-Noirel. Charles Allen's 1894 American book-plates; a guide to their study. With a bibliography by E N Hewins has been republished several times, most recently by Hacker Art Books (New York, 1968). Scholars will presumably turn instead to Bookplates. A selective annotated bibliography of the periodical literature (Detroit: Gale 1971) by Audrey Arellanes and her supplement published in Bookplate International in 1995.

For Australia the major blibliographical resource remains Australian literature on bookplates: a bibliography, 1899-1988 (Sydney: Book Collectors' Society of Australia 1988) by Mark Ferson, updated in 2007 (PDF).

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version of May 2008
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