Friday, January 16, 2015

Binding research

It's been a while since we last posted. Our holiday break has come and gone and we are FINALLY getting back into the swing of things in the cataloging department.

I have been working on these lovelies, also known as government documents. They can be kind of dry sometimes and since we aren't having a lot coming down from Special Collections, they have been filling my time nicely. 

Sometimes they can be a little...what's the word....monotonous, so I've been doing a little research. Call it a filler project or what have you, but it's been so much fun and interesting. I've been doing a little binding research. By research I mean going through the New York Times and Publisher's Weekly advertisements looking for the phrases: "cover design by", "cover designed by", "binding design by", "binding designed by", etc... So far I have nine pages of identified binding designers paired with their work, which is going to be so helpful down the line. I made sure to save a copy of the advertisement too, so I can go back and verify my information any time I want. This will be helpful to researchers with their binding identifications and research on their favorite artist. 

I'm very glad to say that the research has already paid off (I mean, there does need to be some purpose to this project, right?). 

The beauty shown above didn't have a binding designer listed, no signature or attribution whatsoever. During our busy times, we don't really have a lot of time to go out and research to get ALL the information on a binding. We generally just take what we see and go on (for the most part anyway. If we suspect the binding is from a specific artist we might check the key websites for more information, but that's about it). The other day I stumbled across an advertisement that identified Julia Ward Richards as being responsible for this binding. We have other designs by her which can be viewed here (that link doesn't include the one above because I haven't fixed the CONTENTdm record yet--this is hot off the press!). It was so nice to have spelled out, black and white proof that she did the binding, especially since it wasn't signed. 

Thank goodness for digitized resources (in this case the digital copies of Publisher's Weekly) that help make more information available at just a few clicks of a button (I promise you, this will not be the last time I make this statement, either). A few years ago, not many people would have sat at a microfilm reader (or with the actual volumes themselves) to find this information. The internet has made it possible for us to give more detailed and useful cataloging records for all our patrons, which this cataloger thinks is pretty awesome.