The Archeology of Text

SYLLABUS VIEW, English 241.001, Fall 2011, MWF 2:30-3:20, Athenaeum  435

Weekly Schedule and Assignments  Last edited: 12/28/2011 15:43

Note: Assigned readings are in online full-text documents, public folder postings, photocopies, and printed texts.  Read the syllabus carefully, with an eye for typography and color, to know where assigned readings can be found.  Boldface type warns you when the assignment comes from required printed textbooks, an actual DVD (vs. a web video), or in photocopied handouts you should get in the preceding class.  A parenthetical black-text underscored message indicates readings that are located on GoucherLearnHyperlinks to online readings are underscored in blue textWords in italics, unless they are book or periodical titles per MLA style, are general discussion topics, but don't let them keep you from bringing up other issues.

        Because all class meetings will take place in the Rare Book Seminar Room (Athenaeum), wash your hands before each class so that we will be able to handle rare materials on any given day without special preparation.  If you make it a habit to do so before entering any rare book collection, you will have developed one of the first essential traits of the rare book researcher.  Also, even if you arrive in haste or distracted from another course, please take a moment on the way into the collection to slow down.  Haste and inattention are the enemies of fragile old documents.  First treat yourself with care, and you will be ready to treat them with care.  As often as necessary during the semester, refresh your memory about good behavior with old books by reading this web page.

Week 1 Texts, Archives, and Research Today--The Nature of the Problem

Monday, 8/29: Course introduction; choice of "cadaver books"; syllabus and web-site review; reading assignments in various textual media (original print, photocopy, scanned PDF, digital versions of print on GoucherLearn, "born digital" on the Internet); graded work (writing on digital, print and MS texts, your "cadaver book" description, and the independent research project); sharing our interests as researchers.  What brings you to this course?  What do you hope to learn to do?  What textual media do you think you will want to research independently?  Review of "seeing vs. reading" skills.  Click here to take the "How Do I Read?" survey:  Participation is ungraded but required to pass the course.  Completion of the survey is due by the Sunday afternoon before the course first meets. 

Wednesday, 8/31:  Book history in a time of rapidly changing technologies, social practices, and habits of mind.  Before class, please read  Jim Barksdale and Francine Berman, "Saving Our Digital Heritage," The Washington Post, 16 May 2007, A15; Lisa Rein, "Hello, Grisham--So Long, Hemingway?: With Shelf Space Prized, Fairfax Libraries Cull Collections," The Washington Post, 2 January 2007, A01;  Frank Ahrens, "Death by Wikipedia: The Ken Lay Chronicles," The Washington Post, 9 July 2006, F7; and Brian Vastag, "Digital Data Now Come in Exabytes," The Washington Post, 11 February 2011, .  For a provocative illustration published with Vastag's article on Martin Hilbert's study, please click here to see the wonderful graphic representation of the change in data storage between 1986 (when I graduated from Brown) and 2007, the last year included in Hilbert's study.  The whole Hilbert-Lopez article in Science Magazine is available inside the Goucher firewall by clicking through from that tech-fan aggregator site.  (All of these readings except the online image are short newspaper articles located on the "Archeology of Text" course on GoucherLearn).  What can print collections do with de-accessioned print materials? "LJ Talks to Terry Belanger," Library Journal, 11 October 2005, Available online at:  (Until his retirement in 2009, Mr. Belanger ran the Rare Book School at University of Virginia.)  Guest: Nancy Magnuson. 

Friday, 9/2: Hard Choices Dead Ahead!:  Logistics, economics, cultural change and modern technology vs. the survival of print media.  What was "microfilm" and how did it affect pre-digital attempts to solve archival storage space problems?  What will happen to "news" when newspapers go out of business?  Nicholson Baker, "Deadline" (in Writing Material, 9-34); Marlene Man off, "The Symbolic Meaning of Libraries in a Digital Age," Libraries and the Academy 1:4 (2001) 371-81; John Bohannon, "Searching for the Google Effect on People's Memory," Science 15 (333:6040), 277; and Michael Massing, "The News About the Internet," The New York Review of Books 56:13 (August 13, 2009) (This  is a short magazine article located on the "Archeology of Text" course on GoucherLearn.)  Also, test your initial bibliographic research skills by searching for your "cadaver book" using these four search engines: the Goucher Library's Advanced Keyword Search,'s advanced search,, the University of Karlsruhe Library virtual catalog., and the ABEBooks advanced search engine at  What have you learned about your book?  If you have trouble using any of these search engines, please let me know so that I may help you.

        Before class, also visit and explore these two web pages describing two major microfilming initiatives that have now gone digital: (formerly University Microfilms International, microfilm repository of all doctoral dissertations completed in the United States of America) and Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (an ongoing attempt to rescue images of unique Christian manuscripts stored in libraries vulnerable to destruction by wars, initially those in European states bordering the former the Soviet Union and thought likely to be destroyed in the event of nuclear war).   Guests: Nancy Magnuson (and Bill Leimbach?) [Note: Baker's New Yorker article and book made some amazing charges against libraries which Manoff does not exactly rebut directly.  To see a point-by-point answer from the Association of Research Libraries, click here.  For the ARL collection of related pages to help their members track and respond to the controversy created by Baker's article and book, click here.  Libraries probably have not had so much attention in headlines since the burning of the ancient library of Alexandria.]  What can newspapers tell the researcher?  See these images of the London Gazette for January 24 and October 1, 1688.  What do the digital surrogates conceal from you that handling the actual broadsheets might reveal?  If you have time, visit the London Gazette online archive.  Check out this "bad microfilm" picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson, of "Chicago Black Sox" fame.  Could you positively identify anyone in the picture? 

Week 2:  Research in Digital Texts: Digital Text Construction, History, and Future

Monday 9/5: LABOR DAY HOLIDAY  To prepare for this week's classes on digital texts and archives, spend some time recalling and writing about how you first encountered digital words.  What hardware and software were you first aware of using?  How did it affect your training to read and to write?  Did you parents and/or teachers introduce you to this technology of literacy or did you discover it on your own?  What digital literacy technologies do you currently use, and how do they affect your reading and writing?  Consider both academic and private uses of literacy in your memoir.  Because you will have a long holiday weekend to think about this, you will have time to ask your parents and others who were witnesses at the time to help you fill in or check details.  Come prepared to help the class develop a picture of how digital literacy has overtaken print and manuscript literacy, and how the three literacies currently co-exist for each of you.

Wednesday 9/7:  How are digital documents made and read, from the "standalone word processor" era to the present day?  How do computers store and represent text to us?  What are the layers of digital code, file architecture, and other software and hardware that are required to operate digital media?  How do they compare with the apparatus needed to produce and read text in manuscript and print media?  Click here for some sample document codes.  Before class, read John P. Falcone, "Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-Book Reader Should You Buy," CNET (born-digital), June 27, 2011, and Nicholson Baker, "A New Page: Can the Kindle Really Improve on the Book?," The New Yorker, August 3, 2009.  Note that Falcone's article is accessed through the GoucherLearn "Documents" section but it is a "born digital" document, though you could print it out to read it.  You may read Baker either in the hyperlinked web version (blue underscore above) or in a MS-Word document version available on GoucherLearn, or you could print that version.  Which one did you choose?  Did you try to read more than one version, and did you read it on screen or print it first?  Keep track of your reading experience. Web page for "sample document codes" above.

"Writing" assignment: figure out how to write your first name in ASCII code. (For instance, "ARNIE" is 010000010 / 01010010 / 01001110 / 01001001 / 01000101.)  How many layers of "reading" stand between us and the machine code computers "read"?  Guest: Bill Leimbach  Web page for today and last Friday ["Baker Meets Manoff" on owning text vs. leasing the right to display digital text]

Friday 9/9: How are digital documents stored, retrieved, and archived on networks linked to the Internet?  Networks, packet-switching, and the history of the Internet and World-Wide-Web.  Spend a little while browsing this online Internet Timeline and watch this two-minute video excerpt, "Today Show January 1994...What is the Internet?!"  (The "people in California" who can't go to sleep had just survived the 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake.  But in '94, most people did not have dedicated Internet lines but rather used dial-up phone modems, instead, so this was what you heard at the start of every Internet "logon."  It's the sound of two computers "shaking hands" to synchronize their exchange of data packets.)  Then read P. Biddle, P. England, M. Peinado, and B. Willman (Microsoft Corporation), "The darknet and the future of content distribution," DRM 2002: 2002 ACM Workshop on Digital Rights Management (18 November 2002) available online.  Biddle, Peinado, and Willman mention "digital watermarking"--click here for an image that has been coded with a visible "digital watermark" to make it impossible to reuse without identifying its source.  What would be the function of an invisible digital watermark?  What did the original "watermark" look like, where would you find it, and why was it a mark made by water?  Guest: Bill Leimbach  Web page for today: use the Internet Timeline link for today to answer the questions on this page.  Some "darknet" portals (as of Fall 2011).

Week 3:  Research in Archives of Digital Texts: Digital Text Construction, History, and Future

Monday 9/12:   What factors affect the survival of digital documents, and what must be done to preserve digital information?  Jeff Rothenberg, “Ensuring the Longevity of Digital Information” (February 22, 1999 Rev. of 1995 Scientific American article): available in its most recent revision only online at  (Try to follow his somewhat technical description of the "bit stream" in the middle of the article, but the beginning and end contain the most important information for 241.);  "Warning of Data Ticking Time Bomb," BBC News, 3 July 2007.  Available online at:  (Note how many years have elapsed between Rothenberg's article and the BBC article!)  Also, browse the web site for LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe), especially the "About LOCKSS" page.  This project is an attempt to answer the needs raised by Rothenberg's article.  Vicky Reich, Director of the Stanford University Library  LOCKSS, Program, is a Goucher grad (1975). is a digital archive service for scholarly publication paid for by contributions from a consortium of academic libraries.  Access fees are based on a percentage of the participants' annual "Library Materials Expenditure" (the budget bottom line minus buildings and peoples' salaries), ranging from about $25,000 for a $25-30 million budget, to $1545 annually for a $150,000-250,000 budget.  They allege that their redundant server capacity will safely preserve our access to journals we have committed to digital-only access even in the event of natural catastrophes. They offer free access to journals whose access had been permanently ended by other means (publisher out of business, etc.).  Editorial, 2004, October 14: Digital Archives of Early Scholarly Journals: The Scholarly Societies Project and the Reportorium Veterrimarum Societatum Litterariarum (Inventory of the Oldest Scholarly Societies) support the digital preservation and reproduction of early modern scholarly journals now only rarely held in print collections, including those of the Royal Society of London (founded 1660) and the Académie Royale des Sciences (founded 1666).

Wednesday 9/14: How does online reading, especially hypertext reading, affect readers' experience of the text?  Jay David Bolter, "The New Dialogue" (in Writing Material, 75-87); Schneider, Ralf.  (  "Hypertext narrative and the reader: a view from cognitive theory."  European Journal of English Studies; Aug2005, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p197-208, 12p.  Available at:  Web pages for today. 

 Friday 9/16: What challenges do digital surrogates pose for print literature and the future of the book?  Sven Birkets, "Into the Electronic Millennium" (from The Gutenberg Elegies [N.Y.: Faber and Faber, 1994], Writing Material, 62-74); Stephenson, Wen. "The message is the medium: a reply to Sven Birkerts and 'The Gutenberg Elegies'." Chicago Review 41.n4 (Fall 1995): 116(15). Goucher College - Julia Rogers Library. 8 Jan. 2007.  Available online from this stable URL:

Week 4:  Research in Archives of Digital Texts: Digital Text Archive Construction, History, and Future

Monday 9/19:  How has Wikipedia become so many people's online "library," and what makes Google the "librarian" or "curator" controlling our access to the World-Wide-Web? and what do we pay for our dependency upon it and other search engines whose designs are even more commercially motivated?  Everyone should read Lisa Rein, "Nation Archives Hires First 'Wikipedian'," The Washington Post 6/2/2011 (available at or on GoucherLearn), and watch Eli Pariser's TED talk about "the Filter Bubble," and read the reviews of his book by Sue Halpern and Evgeny Morosov (all three linked to this web page).  The McCright-Dunlap Sociological Quarterly study ("The Politicization of Climate Change and Polarization in the American Public's Views of Global Warming, 2001-2010," March 2011) to which Halpern refers is available the hyperlink above.  If you have time, visit and explore the following web pages: Google's Version of Its History,  Google "Page-Rank" Search Algorithm. Google Book Search., and Google Hot Trends.  The following links take you to pages which explain the operations of search portals other than Google: DuckDuckGo;; Yahoo.  If you are specifically interested in digital text archives, you can find further reading in these examples of Modern Literature Online Surrogate Sites.  (Current examples include Rossetti, Blake, and a German Emblem Book aggregation.  Please send me URLs for others as you find them!)  [If you are especially interested in digital archives, etc., read more in Batelle's The Search (2005), located in the Library print collection:  John Battelle, The Search: The Inside Story of How Google and its Rivals Changed Everything. N.Y.: Portfolio, 2005, “The Database of Intentions,” “Who?, what?, where?, why?, when?, and how (much)?,” “Search before Google was born,” “Google.” 338.761 B335s 2005]   Two relevant web pages.

Wednesday 9/21:  How do digital text archives affect the design and operations of "bricks and mortar" sites like the Julia Rogers Library?  ACADIA 1998 International Design Competition for a Library for the Digital Age:  (Winners Page—click on individual designs for explanations of their construction.)  Also see the rationale for Medieval MS vs. early print vs. digital media work spaces at:, and the three rare book collections at Johns Hopkins University, the Eisenhower Library Rare Book Collection (a closed-stack university collection), the John Work Garrett Library (a closed stack research library that was formerly a wealthy man's private collection), and the Peabody Library (an open-stack university collection).  Take a few minutes to explore the digital competition, Project Gutenberg and The University of Virginia's EText InitiativeHow would you compare the experience of reading from those online archives of text with reading printed books?    Guest: Nancy Magnuson  Some relevant web pages re: libraries of the distant past.  [NOTE: after class, roughly from 3:30 to 4:30, Tara Olivero will introduce us to the Special Collections of the Library.  Please make time for this.  Once you know how to use the Special Collections, you will be able to take advantage of them with greater confidence for the rest of the semester.  If for some important reason you cannot attend this session, please let me know and we will arrange a make-up session for you.]

Friday 9/23 [Saturday, 9/24 is [National Punctuation Day!]What is the "past," and what is the "future" of digital archives and digital documents?--First, take a look at these two images of two famous scholars in their personal libraries: James Wilson Bright (Johns Hopkins University) and  which should take you to an image of J. R. R. Tolkien (Oxford University).  They are sitting amid their "database" of print documents.  Modern scholars now increasingly rely on digital texts.

Access to Information, Expense of Information, and Power:  Access to scholarly publications is controlled by a few large conglomerate corporations.  Among the most prominent and profitable are Elsevier (2576 journals in 2011) and Lawrence Erlbaum, now a subsidiary of Taylor & Francis.  Click on those hyperlinks and look at some of the journals.  For a quick idea of the costs, see Elsevier's U.S. institutional print subscription prices of the journals Gene and Neuroscience.  These corporations allow you "display rights," not ownership as in the physical print copies we still have sometimes in the library stacks.  They grant it in milliseconds, and can withdraw it that quickly.  It also can be taken down by a power failure.  For the class's main reading, see the linked Guardian article (below) about one man who attempted to hack around the JSTOR "gate-keeper" function limiting access to digital archives of scholarly work: Ben Goldacre, "Academic Publishers Run a Guarded Knowledge Economy: The Business Model for Scholarly Papers forms a Barrier to the Public, But Can Such Walls Remain Standing?"  The Guardian, September 2, 2011:  available online at Click here for links to current articles on digital scholarly publishing.  Especially if you intend to pursue graduate study, this issue will be extremely important to you.  Guest: Jeff Myers, Associate Professor of English

     Also, for the far more vast portion of the Internet which is not peer reviewed, visit and explore the following online archive sites: The Internet Archive (esp. "The WayBack Machine" search engine)  If you don't know of any sites that have disappeared, try searching The Wayback Machine for a very cool, very gone site called; California Digital Library.  (a print/digital hybrid--some titles are public access and some are subscriber-based); "Richard Baraniuk: Goodbye, textbooks; hello, open-source learning" available online at: (18:45), and "Blaise Aguera y Arcas: Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo," available online at: (I know it sounds like a huge PR puff, but see if your mandibles don't loosen just a bit.)  Other relevant web page URLS. (visit these if you have time) 

Sunday, 9/25:  First written assignment due by noon in my Inbox as a MS-Word or Rich Text Format (.rtf) document attached to an email, or a URL in an email that directs me to some web-writing (using standard academic English and MLA format, of course).  Click here for possible topics and specific instructions.  For writing tips and my chief hopes for these papers, which you can treat as an evaluative rubric, click here.

Week 5:  Print Text Construction: the Print Shop, Type Fonts, and Paper   

Monday 9/26:  How are hand-press books printed and bound?  Over the weekend, go to the Library circulation desk, get and watch the English 241 reserve copy of The Rare Book School's two-part DVD, The Anatomy of a Book: Part I: Format in the Hand-Press Period and The Making of a Renaissance Book (running time for both, approximately one hour).  Before you watch the DVD, using this hyperlinked page, print at least four pages of paper with watermarks and countermarks on them to practice bindery folding and format detection.  For an online refresher about identifying format from chain lines and watermark positions, see this online guide from the Japanese Diet Library.  Before class, read Richard W. Clement, ORB Online Encyclopedia, Books and Universities, Medieval and Renaissance Book Production, “Printed Books,” available at:; look at the images on Sanders, "Inking, Paper Registration, and Pulling: Hand Press Printing, c. 1460-1800", and skim the Chronological Table of Printed Book Production (National Diet Library, Japan), and the Harry Ransom Center's selected images from The Gutenberg Bible (circa 1454) (U. Texas, Austin). The point is to familiarize your eyes with an older type font and page layout--don't try to read the whole Gutenberg Bible!  The main points relevant to our discussion of early printed books can be absorbed from looking at the typography and page layout of just a few pages, or even one page.  The Print Cycle (hand-drawn by Paul Needham, Librarian of the Scheide Library, Princeton!).  The Print Cycle in a "Dance of Death" engraving.  The Golden Section ("Phi") in Book Format Dimensions and in the Cosmos

Wednesday 9/28: How do bibliographers describe hand-press books, what kinds of books were first printed, and how did they make the paper on which most of the books were printed?  Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Chapters 1 & 2 ("Introduction" and "Analytical Bibliography") 1-35.  Also, spend an hour or so reading and looking at these four web pages and accompanying exercise on typography, the forensic analysis of hand-press printers' type fonts.  This is not a lot of "reading," just some intense "looking."  Williams and Abbott's discussion of type fonts as evidence (19-20) has no illustrations, but typography is a supremely visual science.  For an amusing way to view font design, see The Periodic Table of TypefacesGuide to today's discussion.  Type Identification Exercise.

Friday 9/30:  How should we analyze the papers from which early printed books were made, and what kinds of evidence do they reveal?  The Paper Museum--samples of paper from many nations and for many uses.  Alan Stevenson, "Paper as Bibliographic Evidence," The Library 5th Series XVII:3 (September 1962) [photocopied excerpt] 197-204, and "Watermarks Are Twins," Studies in Bibliography 4 (1951-52) 57-91.  "Watermarks" is available online at: (Use the "Browse by Volume" menu in the left frame and click on "4"--Stevenson's article is the fourth.  Why might this digital copy be preferable to a photocopy?)  See this site for images of watermark types used in the first century of printing, many of which continued to be used in later papers--Watermarks in Incunaula Printed in the Low Countries: The early paper market was based on exports from countries like France and Italy which grew large flax crops, and their low costs of production enabled them to capture the market in most places to which printing had spread.  Choose the "browse by main group" option to see examples.  The "Bologna Stone" and standard hand-press-era paper sizes. 

     For more information on and illustrations of watermarks, see the English language index of   Digital "watermark" example. 

    Illustrations of the making of  handmade, "laid paper": Italian paper mill site that illustrates, with photographs, the machines used in the stages in the production of hand-laid paper such as that used in Medieval manuscripts and printed books until around 1800.  The image on this Basel (Switz.) paper mill site shows a "vatman" lifting a paper making frame out of the vat of "stuff" composed of pulverized and soaked linen.  He will give the frame a shake to settle the stuff on the frame's wire mesh, and hand it to his partner, the "accoucher" ("coucher"), who will lay the newly made wet sheet of paper on a felt atop a growing stack.  Presses will be used to squeeze more water out and to flatten the sheets, and when dry, they will bear the impress of that specific frame's pattern of wires, including the watermark and countermark.  Like the grooves left on a bullet by a gun barrel, those wire patterns and marks can be microscopically examined to tie each sheet of paper to the frame that made it, hundreds of years ago.  Today, pay special attention to your cadaver book's paper! The making of machine-made, "wove paper": The Fourdrinier machine (ca. 1801)
        For a quick introduction to the early history of papermaking in Asia, see the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild "Paper" page.   Click here to read Brian Palmer's article, "Green Your Notes! Is taking notes on a notepad or an iPad more environmentally responsible?," September 6, 2011.

Week 6:  Print Texts: Construction as Evidence of History 

Monday 10/3: What did print do to the way we read, and how did circulation of print documents leave evidence of their use by readers?  How did manuscript punctuation conventions change when printers marked up MS copy for editions?  Paul Duguid and John Seely Brown, "The Social Life of Documents"; and Elizabeth Eisenstein, "Some Features of Print Culture"; both in Writing Material, 104-22 and 124-33.  David R. Thomas, "Whence the Semicolon?: Thoughts on Sign and Signal in Western Script," in Early English and Norse Studies: Presented to Hugh Smith in Honour of His Sixtieth Birthday, ed. Arthur Brown and Peter Foote (London: Methuen, 1963), 191-5.  [photocopy: click here for a translation of the passage from Alcuin's Latin poem about punctuation]   Also, think about the significance of the data in this spreadsheet and two tables that summarize printed book production by country and by language in the first century of print--the first era of "imaginary worlds" produced by printers:  the lifetime press output of William Caxton, England's first printer;  Incunable Production in the Fifteenth Century (Sanders ex-Rudolph Hirsch and George Painter). 

Additional Web page for today--talking points from Duguid and Brown, Eisenstein, and Thomas.  Web link from Thomas re: standardization of punctuation.

Wednesday 10/5: When we hold a book in our hands, what are we really holding and how might it relate to other versions of itself?  Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Chapter 3  ("Descriptive Bibliography" 36-56).  Be prepared to do some formal "desbib" on your cadaver book.  Post your initial results to the GoucherLearn Forum.  Note that, if you have a known print edition, you can "cheat" by consulting your book's entry in WorldCat for the proper edition, but be careful!  Many similar editions of popular titles exist, and only careful scrutiny of what you hold in your hand will tell you which WorldCat edition you are looking at.  It's also possible you have a "nondescript" print edition (way cool!) or a manuscript book, which would not be registered in WorldCat for obvious reasons.


Week 7:  Print Text Archival Research Methods-the Edition, and the Book, and the Library 

Monday 10/10: When we hold a book in our hands, what are we really holding and how might it relate to other versions of itself?  Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Chapter 4 ("A Text and Its Embodiments," 57-70).  Guest: Nancy Magnuson.  Jonathan Evans (U. Georgia), "Walter F. Oakeshott and the Discovery of the Winchester MS," and British Library Web Site for Images of the Malory MS (British Library Additional MS 59678--i.e., that is its accession number and its identifying name in their collection, corresponding to an LC number or DD number for a copy of a printed edition).  What is a "manuscript," an "edition" of a manuscript, and an "impression" of an edition?  Click here for a diagram showing the Textual History of Malory's Morte Darthur  What Tolkien edition are you holding and what is its relationship to the other editions?  Scottish Printers' Editions 1600-1630.  Scottish Printers' Editions 1600-1630 Title-Sorted.

Wednesday 10/12: When we hold a book in our hands, what are we really holding and how might it relate to other versions of itself?  Read and prepare to discuss  Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Chapter 5, "Textual Criticism" (71-89) and Chapter 6, "Editorial Procedures" (90-126).  (Just skim the examples of bibliographic descriptions at the end--we won't be doing the full-dress version, but they will give you some idea of how much a trained eye can see in a book and how bibliographers communicate with each other about what they hold in their hands.)  Some terms and illustrations for Williams and Abbot on "Textual Criticism" and "Editorial Procedures."  Why "modernizing" editors' punctuation decisions about manuscript- and Early Modern Print-Era texts matter. Distinguishing print editions (the Lear quartos); distinguishing photo editions (Kate and Will and Others, Summer 2011); Tombaugh, the blink comparator, and Pluto; Charles Hinman, the Hinman Comparator, and the Shakespeare First Folio (1623).

Friday 10/14: How were the earliest libraries constructed, and how did the advent of print and serious book collecting reshape libraries?  Kenneth M. Setton , “From Medieval to Modern Library,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 104, No. 4, Dedication of Library Hall of the American Philosophical Society, Autumn General Meeting, November, 1959. (Aug. 15, 1960), pp. 371-390. Available online from this stable URL:  Spend a little while exploring the Library of Congress Classification System and the Dewey Decimal Classification System, both of which are now in use in the Julia Rogers Library.  Some other manuscript and print libraries (ex-Maureen Price's blog entry, "Limitless Libraries," 6/13/2010).  Available at:

        After discussing early print library design and construction, we will begin The Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory.   See this page for some Introductory tips.  Each of you will be assigned one of the laboratory book leaves.  For each leaf, we want to know: what is it?; how should we describe it?; and how do our pages relate to one another?  (Refresh your memory about good behavior with old books by reading this web page.)  

October 16,2011-January 1, 2012  "Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes," a manuscript exhibit opens at The Walters Art Museum in downtown Baltimore.  Please consider visiting this exhibit in the context of our study of manuscript texts and libraries.  The artifact in question is an unique "palimpsest" containing hitherto unknown writings of the Greek mathematician, Archimedes, as well as orations by the fourth century B.C.E. orator, Hyperides.  The exhibit will show how the manuscript was taken apart for analysis using advanced techniques, including multi-spectrum imaging, X-Ray  fluorescence imaging, and optical character recognition.

Week 8:  Print Text Archival Research Methods--the Book, its Readers and its Authors 

Monday 10/17:  The Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory: Sharing Our First Evidence--Bring the results of your research to class.  (Refresh your memory about good behavior with old books by reading this web page.)   Also bring your lab kit (magnifier, light, tape measure).  When you are not in Special Collections, you still can work with your book leaf's digital images to extract as much information as they can reveal, and plan what you will try to learn from the leaves, themselves, when you have hands-on access to them.  Remember to share what you learn with your colleagues by posting your findings on the Discussion Forum of the  "Archeology of Text" GoucherLearn course. 

Wednesday 10/19: The Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory:  Questions about our individual leaves: What do we know?  What don't we know?   Bring your lab kit (magnifier, light, tape measure). 

Friday 10/21:  The Hand-Press Book Leaf Laboratory:  Putting All the Evidence Together. Questions about the edition from which the leaves came: What do we know?  What don't we know?   How do your pages relate to one another?  How do they relate to other copies of this edition, and to other editions of this text, in the libraries of the world?   Bring your lab kit (magnifier, light, tape measure).  Library Home Page link to WorldCat.Com  English Short Title Catalog (SSTC)  1488 copy.  1489 copy.  Ihesus.  London: de Worde, 1510.

Week 9:  Manuscript Texts--Construction and Analysis / Modern and Early Modern Manuscript Hands--Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1

Monday 10/24:  How is manuscript text created and what kinds of character shapes do manuscript readers and writers recognize?  Dennis Baron, "Pencils and Pixels" (first part, to "Telephone"), 35-45; Naomi Baron, "Art and Science of Handwriting," 54-61, both in Writing Material.  Click here to sample some standardized lessons teaching the Palmer Method of cursive handwriting, a standard K-12 instruction strategy in America until the late twentieth century.   Plumbago Mine graphite, Borrowdale, England  (Note the proximity of Borrowdale, the famous source of pencil "lead," to the birthplace and muse of one of England's greatest poets.)  Click here for two typical late medieval and Renaissance Chaucer portraits that show the poet holding a "penner."  Also, this is the introduction of Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1.  Before the next class, spend some time with the digital image of the digital images of the recto and verso of the leaf assigned to you and your partner.  You should be able to read it within ten minutes, especially if you read with your partner and use the largest image (click on the first one).  Transcribe it as you figure it out.  When you have deciphered some of the text, can you determine what it is and (in some sense) "who wrote it"?  (Hint: use your modern Internet tools.)  Thinking specifically about your manuscript leaf as an object, itself, who is its "author"?

Tuesday 10/25: Second written assignment on the hand-press book lab is due by noon in my Inbox as a MS-Word or Rich Text Format (.rtf) document attached to an email.  Or for 2011's course, you can take advantage of an automatic extension until noon, Sunday, 10/30.  Click here for specific instructions.  For writing tips and my chief hopes for these papers, which you can treat as an evaluative rubric, click here.

Wednesday 10/26:  Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1.  What do we know?  What don't we know?  Bring laptops to class if you have them, but as always, wash your hands before class and don't bring food or drink to this one.  We will discuss the document as a source of evidence which hand-written documents contain that most printed documents do not.  Our goal is to describe it, decipher it, identify it, and finally to understand its existence in terms of Chartier's chapter, "Figures of the Author."  What kind of "author" wrote that MS?  If you are interested, this manuscript also can be part of your independent research project.  Bring your lab kit (magnifier, light, tape measure) (Review Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Chapter 4, "A Text and Its Embodiments," for clues about how to interpret this evidence.) 

Friday 10/28:  Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1.  What do we know?  What don't we know?  Bring laptops to class if you have them, but as always, wash your hands before class and don't bring food or drink to this one.  We will discuss the document as a source of evidence which hand-written documents contain that most printed documents do not.  Our goal is to describe it, decipher it, identify it, and finally to understand its existence in terms of what we mean when we use the term "Author."  What kind of "author" wrote that MS?  If you are interested, this manuscript also can be part of your independent research project.  Bring your lab kit (magnifier, light, tape measure) (Review Williams and Abbott, An Introduction to Bibliographical and Textual Studies, Chapter 4, "A Text and Its Embodiments," for clues about how to interpret this evidence.) 

Week 10:  Parchment and Early Modern Manuscript "Hands"--Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1a

Monday 10/31:  Parchment Museum Day--Christopher Clarkson, "Rediscovering Parchment: The Nature of the Beast."  The Paper Conservator.  16 (1992) 5-16 [photocopy] (Note that only pages 5-7 are text--the rest contain images illustrating parchment manuscript features.) 

        If you are interested in learning more about how parchment fits into the Pre-Modern economy, a good place to start would be these excerpts from two books about Renaissance cooking: Bill Buford, Heat (N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006) 239-75 & 285-301, and Giovanni Rebora, Culture of the Fork Tr. Albert Sonnenfeld (N.Y.: Columbia UP, 2001) 40-51 [photocopies available if you give me advanced notice].  Why "cooking?  Think about producing books that, if they are big enough, require you to slaughter a calf for every folded leaf (i.e., four "pages").  The cowherd, the cook, the shoemaker, the tanner, and the parcheminiere or parchment maker all worked closely together.

Wednesday 11/2:  Review some of the available online and print resources for the study of English "indentures," scribal documents produced for a variety of legal functions between medieval and modern times.   For basic paleography, explore English Handwriting 1500-1700:  Andrew Zurcher's site is often recommended as the best online teach-yourself program to learn to decipher Early Modern manuscript hands.  Early Modern hands tend to be tougher than Medieval hands because it became fashionable to personalize your script, and the proliferation of literacy led to variants in the construction of letter forms, so there were many ways to represent all the letters of the alphabet.  Each writer used her/his own, so once you learn your author's hand, you can read it reliably, but until you become familiar with the typical variants, it can seem pretty hard.  As always, practice makes good, if not perfect.  Click here for Arnie's suggested "multi-window" strategy for using Zurcher's tools and exemplary texts to teach your eye to read Early Modern English hands.  Click here for our first examples of Early Modern MS hands, which we will read together in class.

Thursday, 11/3: This year's Schroedl Lecture on material culture is by Will Noel, Walters Art Museum curator of rare books and manuscripts, and Abigail Quandt, Senior Conservator of Books and Manuscripts.  (Kelley Lecture Hall, 6:30-8:00)  Their topic will be the restoration, recovery, and interpretation of an unique medieval manuscript book that contains previously undiscovered mathematical theorems by Archimedes and orations by the Athenian, Hyperides.  Once you see the manuscript problem they are working with, I believe you will find Manuscript Lab 1a to be far more easy than it looked at first.  By coincidence, we will be hosted by Will at the Walters rare book library the following day.

Friday 11/4: Manuscript Laboratory, Part 1a.    This parchment manuscript is written in an older script than Manuscript Laboratory Part 1, and you may need both Postle's descripton of legal indentures' structure and Zurcher's "hand alphabets" to help you decipher it.  Click here for Arnie's suggested "multi-window" strategy for using Zurcher's tools and exemplary texts to teach your eye to read Early Modern English hands.    We will work together in class to examine this document.  What are its parts and what is it intended to do?  Who is mentioned in it and when and where did they live?  Can we discover more about them?  As in our previous laboratories, our goal is to describe the document, decipher it, identify it, and finally to understand its existence in terms of what we mean when we use the term "Author."  What kind of "author" wrote that MS?  Especially because you will find more than one hand in the same manuscript, you will have differing answers for different hands, much like when teachers write comments in the margins of your papers.

Friday, November 4, 2011, immediately after class at 3:30, leave for the Walters Art Museum Rare Book and Manuscript Collection for a tour of the Reading Room.  (Refresh your memory about good behavior with old books by reading this web page.)

Week 11: Early Modern Manuscript Documents--Manuscript Book Laboratory 2

Monday 11/7:  Manuscript Laboratory, Part 2  You will study one of six parchment manuscripts in teams of two and three.  These are older examples of the same type of document that we studied in MS Lab 1a, so its parts and function should be very similar, but the scribal hands are more difficult.  But first, make sure you record the most basic information about your document, as you should for any book or manuscript you are studying: Indenture MS Reading Lab Basics  Then, use Zurcher's "hand alphabets" to help you decipher it.  Click here for Arnie's suggested "multi-window" strategy for using Zurcher's tools and exemplary texts to teach your eye to read Early Modern English hands.    As before, our goal is to describe it, decipher it, identify it, and finally to understand its existence in terms its means of production and the people/places/things it served. What kind of "author" wrote that MS?  Who and what is named in it, and why was it written?  Especially because you will find more than one hand in the same manuscript, you will have differing answers for different hands, much like when teachers write comments in the margins of your papers.

Wednesday 11/9: Manuscript Laboratory, Part 2  What do we know and what don't we know?

Friday 11/11: Manuscript Laboratory, Part 2  Sharing our final conclusions about the documents in MS Lab 2.

Week 12: Medieval manuscript books and scribal hands--MS Lab 3

Monday 11/14: How do medieval manuscript books relate to early printed books, and how were manuscript books made?  Johannes Trithemius, From In Praise of Scribes (De laude scriptorum), in Writing Material, pp. 469-75; Marc Drogin, Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique (N.Y.: Dover, 1980), “Introduction,” “The Scribes,” “The Patron Demon of Calligraphy,” (1-20) and Richard W. Clement, ORB Online Encyclopedia, Books and Universities, Medieval and Renaissance Book Production, “Manuscript Books.” Available at:   Drogin and Clement: Scribal Manuscript Book Production  Illuminated MS leaves for descriptive vocabulary practice

        If you are curious about medieval scribes' practices, you read further in Making the Medieval Book: Techniques of Production, ed. Linda L. Brownrigg (Los Altos, Cal.: Anderson-Lovelace, 1995).  Oversize 090.94 S471m   A good place to start is Michael Gullick's essay, “How Fast Did Scribes Write? Evidence from Romanesque Manuscripts,” 39-58 [can be available in photocopy if you give me advanced notice].

Wednesday 11/16:  How were medieval manuscript books stored, organized, retrieved for use, and protected from destruction Hereford Cathedral Chained Library;  three web pages from "600 Years of Cambridge University Library: An Exhibition at the Cambridge University Library, 8 October 2002 to 15 March 2003," "Library Beginnings," "Medieval Library," "Filling the Library"; Virtual Tour of the library.   Christopher de Hamel, Cutting Up Manuscripts for Pleasure and Profit (The 1995 Sol  M. Malkan Lecture on Bibliography) (Charlottesville, VA: Book Arts Press, 1995, rpt. March 2006) [photocopy].  Solomon Schechter and the Ginezah fragments; Visit this web site and explore at least three instances in which MS leaves were sold on eBay: CHD Center for Håndskriftstudier i Danmark, Dismembered Manuscripts,  This was an online project reclaiming digital images of Medieval manuscript leaves that have been sold on eBay and, in most cases, lost to scholarship forever.  It was active from 2002 to 2006.  Can you locate any other similar sites that attempt to reunify dismembered MSS?  Please let me know.  Click here for the home page of "Parker on the Web,"  Survey some of the MSS to get an idea of what they typically look like (i.e., functional, not beautiful), but concentrate on MS #61, perhaps the second most famous Chaucer manucript that has survived.  Before you look at the images, be sure to consult both descriptions ("desbib") of the MS, and when you get to the images, you might want to take a look at the upper left margin of folio 101v.  They occur beside lines 575-81 in Book IV of the poem.  ["Parker on the Web" is a joint imaging project of Corpus Christi College (Cam.) and Stanford University that has digitized all of Matthew Parker's manuscript collection.  (Full subscriptions that would enable actual reading access start at $3500, so no, we don't have that--but you can analyze the mise-en-page of the MS!)

        If you are especially interested in early manuscript libraries, you should see Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c. 1400-1580 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992),  274.2 D858s 1992 and this Columbia University online exhibit on Manuscript Fragments and Typical Surviving Manuscript Books.  For this class, we will examine some of the Goucher collection's incunabula ("cradle books," pre-1500) to rethink book construction and preservation during the era in which print competed with manuscript book production.

Friday 11/18:  Manuscript Lab 3--What techniques and vocabulary do scholars have for analyzing Medieval scripts?  How did Medieval scribes abbreviate and punctuate?  Marc Drogin, Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique (N.Y.: Dover, 1980), “The Scripts,” (21-75).  Steven Reimer,  "Manuscript Studies--Medieval and Early Paleography: Scribal Abbreviations" and "Punctuation."  Hereford Cathedral, Oxford (Bodleian), Cambridge and Aberdeen University Libraries: links to digital images including chronological sequence from the Bodleian for practice with Drogin 25-78.  For help identifying manuscript hands in addition to Drogin's book, attempt some of Diane Tillotson's paleography exercises using Flash  Click on the hyperlink for Manuscript Lab 3 for instructions and for hyperlinks to preview digital images of the actual manuscript fragments we will be analyzing.

Week 13: Individual Research Projects

Monday 11/21:  Introduction to Individual Research Projects in Special Collections: James W. Bright Collection, Alberta Burke Collection, etc.  

Tuesday, 11/22--arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, decompression, subscapularis repair, with interscalene nerve block and sedation (wheee!).  Don't expect any email or phone contact until Monday, 11/28, or later.  If you have questions about the third paper, now due Saturday 11/26, please ask them by Monday evening, 11/21, and remember the Writing Center tutors can help you even when the Center is closd.

 Wednesday 11/23 through Sunday 11/27--THANKSGIVING VACATION. 

Saturday, 11/26, or sooner, Third written assignment is due in my inbox by noon reflecting upon and analyzing the second manuscript book lab, your experiences as you worked with it, and the text's relationship to its origins and to our era.  Click here for specific instructions.  If you were to turn in this assignment earlier in the week, I probably won't be able to read it any sooner but having the paperwork under control would make my life easier!  For writing tips and my chief hopes for these papers, which you can treat as an evaluative rubric, click here.

Week 14: Independent Research Projects

Monday 11/28:  James Work Garrett Library Tour:  Please meet at the lower entrance of the Athenaeum promptly at 2:30 for our departure by car for Evergreen Mansion (4545 N. Charles Street, between Loyola and the College of Notre Dame, both of which were built on the former grounds of the Garrett estate).  The library tour will last about an hour (until around 4:00 PM), and we should be back on campus by 4:30 or 5:00.  Please volunteer to drive if you are able.  My car will hold up to four other people, three in comfort.  That leaves eleven seats for the rest of the class.

Wednesday 11/30: Research Project Workshop:  Plan and research individual projects on manuscript, print, or digital texts and archives.  Studies of volumes from the James Wilson Bright Collection are encouraged, of course, but students should pursue their intellectual curiosities.  Research will be independent, but I am happy to help in any way I can, and please remember the valuable expertise on hand from the Library staff.  Tara Olivero knows the collection extremely well.  Melissa Straw is an expert in analysis of the material construction of documents.  Nancy Magnuson is an experienced researcher familiar with neighboring rare book collections' holdings that might be helpful to you.

Friday 12/2: Research Project Workshop:  Research individual projects on manuscript, print, or digital texts and archives.

Week 15: Independent Research Project Workshop and Preliminary Reports

Monday 12/5: Research Project Workshop:  Research individual projects on manuscript, print, or digital texts and archives.

Wednesday 12/7:  LAST CLASS--Independent Research Project Preliminary Reports. Show us what you have found about the subject of your research so far.  Be sure to make available, either online or in a printed handout, a bibliographic description of the subject text and a bibliography of works you consulted while working on it.  A completed written version of the report will be due the Monday after the last week of classes.  The deadline is, as always, negotiable, but my grades have to be delivered to the Registrar by the 23rd.   If you have time, read "The Jewel Game", an excerpt from Rudyard Kipling's Kim.  It seems to be about what we are trying to learn to do.

The Monday of Exam Week: Written version of Independent Research Project Report due by 12:00 Noon (either as MS-Word or web page or other format--please negotiate to insure that I can access and read it!).