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Reading notes for the second volume and third issue of The Library Quarterly.
To return to the list of notes on this volume: volume-2
This entry is about:
Uhlendorf, B. A. (1932). The Invention of Printing and Its Spread till 1470: With Special Reference to Social and Economic Factors. The Library Quarterly, 2(3), 179-231. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301902
Note: The first article of the third issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “The Invention of Printing and Its Spread till 1470: With Special Reference to Social and Economic Factors.”
It was written by B. A. Uhlendorf, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: University of Michigan
Note: On research in early printing, its relation to “scientific investigation” and on “connecting it to other fields of human knowledge”:
When one reviews the literature on early printing, which, since about 1900, has been a field of thorough scientific investigation, one cannot but realize that the time has come when the student of incunabula must enliven the product of his labors by relating it to other fields of human knowledge (p. 179).
Uhlendorf claims that the “spiritual awakening” that took hold of Europe before the invention of the printing press was a necessary condition for the invention of the printing press.
And the rise of the city, in medieval society, was also a necessary condition. The exchange of goods and services enabled the exchange of print.
And the rise of the gild system in the city.
And the importance of the merchant at this time:
He [the merchant] provided himself with the new works at the spring and fall fairs, and thus contributed his share toward the promulgation of ideas (p. 182).
Note: As today (i.e., the web), the importance of “youth” to the rise and acceptance of printing:
The spirit of the German universities, if indeed their superannuated scholasticism can be called “spirit,” was lifeless, pedantic, factional, and it was youth which revolted against ossification in its attempt to open the gates of the universities to the new ideas, which many of them had imbibed during years of study at Italian universities (pp. 185-186).
Note: After describing the method of instruction given by professors at the time (they spoke mostly from memory) and the limited availability of poor copies of their lectures:
We feel that the great need for mechanical reproduction of manuscripts was not so much an economic necessity as it was a dire need for more—and, above all, for more correct—texts (p. 187).
Note: This is relevant today, as an important function of printing and the disruption of the web:
Indeed, the Chinese word for a print and for a seal is one and the same: it implies authentication (p. 187).
Note: The author notes the importance of Chinese experimentation with printing, preceding Gutenberg 400 years, and paper-making.
Note: This is interesting: print as a new type face or print as mimicry of handwriting:
While for Gutenberg it was an essential principle to reproduce handwriting with great accuracy, even to imperfect line-endings, Schoeffer abandoned this practice and did the best with the material he had. Comparing, for example, his Durandus with Gutenberg's Catholicon, one cannot but see that, while to Schoeffer the letter was more or less a unit which merely contributed toward forming a word, Gutenberg, like a copyist, must have considered for his unit the word, using all sorts of tied letters and frequently resorting to the file (p. 195).
Note: On Peter Schoeffer:
Besides introducing into printing the practice of using colophons, Schoeffer was the first to use more than one size of font of type in one book (p. 195).
Reflection: I keep wondering, who is Uhlendorf's audience? Is it librarians? Is it library science scholars? An interesting project would involve tracing this.
Note: More on Schoeffer and his contribution to printing:
Schoeffer, on the other hand, gradually freed printing from too slavish copying of manuscript books. He introduced almost perfect line-endings, which, however, was also striven for by Pfister in his later works, even if he had to divide a word in quite a ludicrous manner (p. 198).
Note: This seems important in regards to the universalizing (for lack of a better word at the moment) of print. That is, what we have here could be at least an early kind of Copernican Revolution, in the sense that the standardization of font and typeface away from the idiosyncrasies of personal handwriting functioned to de-personalize the author – to make less provincial. Furthermore, perhaps there is a relation here between the de-personalization of the author with respect to print and Merton's universalism norm with regards to the function of a scientist — it's not the scientist that is important, it is the science; it's not the author that is important, it's the content. And for that content to be disseminated, it could not be provincial or too personal or suffer from local “archetypes.”
While Gutenberg cut his types on local manuscript models and imitated manuscripts even in the composition of the page, and while later printers cut their own type after the style of writing of their region, perhaps even after the book hand of the particular manuscript to be copied, it is only natural that they should soon find out that it was much easier to design new type after printing books. Moreover, when the local market was well supplied and the sale of books began to depend upon more distant localities, they probably found it necessary to use fonts that were not of too local a character. In other words, the number of archetypes (Urtypen), as Haebler calls them, became less and less (p. 212).
Note: On the beginnings of publishing houses:
Again very early there prevails a certain commercial aspect; the business of printing became associated with the art of printing. A master printer perhaps hired helpers on short-term contracts, or even for the printing of a certain book only; printers banded together to form organizations; scholars either made financial arrangements with printers for the publication of one or several works, or hired some artisan, financed the establishment of a shop, and legally assured themselves of a certain percentage of the earnings—in short, we have the beginning of the publishing business (p. 225).
Note: More on the universalism:
While the German printers tenaciously held to their local type faces, the typographers of Italy, especially those of Venice, created characters which could be adopted universally, for, indeed, they had to count upon the sale of their works in all parts of Europe (p. 229).
This entry is about:
Oehler, Richard. (1932). Buch und Bibliotheken unter der Perspektive Goethe / Goethe's Attitude toward Books and Libraries. The Library Quarterly, 2(3), 232-249. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301903
Note: The second article of the third issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Buch und Bibliotheken unter der Perspektive Goethe / Goethe's Attitude toward Books and Libraries.”
It was written by Richard Oehler, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main / Frankfurt University Library
Note: The article is published in both German and English – alternating pages between each language. Interestingly, and I don't know if this is common practice when journals do this, the page numbers are continuous despite the breaks in language.
Reflection: I wouldn't have guessed that I'd be reading about Nietzsche, Shopenhauer, and Goethe in a library science journal.
Reflection: I think one reason why I keep returning to the idea that the people of this era's experience is not much different than ours, and that their questions are not much different than ours, is because their experience of their own information explosion is quite similar to our own experience of information explosion. While their experience may have been a physical one, and ours a digital one, it seems qualitatively the same in many ways. In fact, our experience seems entailed by theirs – not necessarily an inevitable outcome but a highly likely one.
One characteristic seems to distinguish our age from all that has gone before; this is our vivid personal interest and deep-seated intellectual curiosity in everything, men and objects, outside of ourselves (p. 233).
We strive to comprehend concrete reality and we reproduce more often than we create. This is the source of our superabundance of factual literature that endeavors to include the least detail. We are, above all else, men who have read and have written excessively (p. 233).
Note: The book and the self; the book and universalism. One of the most important statements on reading that I have seen in our literature:
The book is one of the most important and—let us say it frankly—one of the most baneful links between our intellectual and spiritual lives and those of other men of the present and past. Without the book we cannot get out of ourselves or back into what has gone before. A Crusoe ideal of life would be madness. That is why we live with books and value them as our very lives. We must thus value them, and yet we constantly strive against them, for they carry a threat to “snuff out the vital spark of independent thought” (p. 237).
Note: Doing and reading:
To Goethe action and reality are everything. “In the beginning was the deed.” He finds it impossible to grant equal value and dignity to the word, which is written and read. And today, a century and a half later, that is still the best description of the disharmony of our inner spiritual life, real accomplishments versus literary production. Actual deeds, on the one hand; the book, on the other—real life or the book—present the same problem to us today as they did to Goethe (p. 239).
Note: Powerful stuff:
Goethe battled against excessive writing and excessive reading, much as Shopenhauer and Nietzsche did later, and as much as the Old Testament preacher, thousands of years before Goethe, with his plaint: “And furthermore, my son, be admonished, of making many books there is no end.” Goethe, before all of his contemporaries, foresaw prophetically the coming mass production of books“ (p. 243).
And then he quotes two passages from Goethe, one on the production of books and writings and the other on “voracious reader”, which sounds like a description of present-day times and the madness of production (e.g., blogs):
And about the voracious reader:
Nowadays everybody reads, and many readers run through a book precipitately, and then take pen in hand themselves to propagate with remarkable facility a book of their own from the book just read! “Do you want me, my friend, to write about other literary productions, and thereby increase the existing mass of writing? Shall I thus spread my views, to afford others an opportunity to proclaim their views about my views, and thus keep in action the swaying of the groaning scales?” (p. 243).
Note: See my notes about the theme of decentralization, which seems to be a result, as I'm coming to believe, of the increased result of the production of information:
Possibly the almost insurmountable problems of space in the metropolitan libraries of the future could be anticipated through the following steps. Goethe disclaimed a desire to consolidate physically the libraries of several cities, though they were close to one another. One might easily conceive a plan to protect the metropolitan libraries of the future from making accessions to the limit of possibility by establishing special reserve stocks at certain points and thereby relieving the burden of the central libraries. In that way one would, to a certain extent, curb the tendency to a physical concentration in one place, as is now the case. This thought can only be suggested here. In actual experience its practicability will be increased more and more with the amplification and multiplication and cheapening of the means of transportation from city to city, from country to country, and across the seas (p. 247).
Note: And we are simply carrying out the work that our predecessors began:
After all, what we are concerned with is “virtual consolidation”–we always go back to Goethe–i.e., the possibility of encompassing the material in libraries by means of catalogues, and, at the same time, of making the deposits accessible and useful, whether in the local library or elsewhere (pp. 247-249).
Thus throughout the world an active effort is actually being made to master, by means of bibliographic organization, the flood of scholarly publications. At the time time this method will serve future generations, as an organization of scholarship itself (p. 249).
This entry is about:
Reece, Ernest J. (1932). The Student Load in Library Schools. The Library Quarterly, 2(3), 250-267. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301904
Note: The third article of the third issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “The Student Load in Library Schools.”
It was written by Ernest J. Reece, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: Columbia University
Note: This article should be interesting. The aim is to simply gather an understanding of the norms around course loads. The data is based on a survey sent to schools that are members of the then Association of American Library Schools. Members of the individual schools collected data in a number of ways, and Reece comments on this in the first page or so of the article.
Note: Here is one area that computers may have helped solve or lessen the problem of:
There might seem to be an element of bad management in expecting the student who has spent several hours on a book selection problem to devote further hours to typing it (p. 253).
Note: Lot of discussion about what is a proper work load for students. Good stuff but also ordinary. However, the gist of Reece's argument can be summed up with this thoughtful closing remark:
The aim should be to compose courses not only in such a way as to obviate congestion and panic but so as to permit the serving of readily assimilable rather than large portions, and so as to leave leisure for the imagination of the student to play upon the material presented; and finally to bring classes to the close of the year with a sense of having done not too superficially the work undertaken, and with the vigor and enthusiasm necessary for effective effort in the library field (p. 264).
This entry is about:
Reeves, Floyd W., & Russell, John Dale. (1932). The Administration of the Library Budget. The Library Quarterly, 2(3), 268-278. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301905
Note: The fourth article of the third issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “The Administration of the Library Budget.”
It was written by Floyd W. Reeves and John Dale Russell, who were affiliated with:
Affiliation: University of Chicago
Note: An extension of their earlier study, also published in LQ. My notes on that: The Relation of the College Library to Recent Movements in Higher Education, //LQ 1//(1), 57-66.
Note: This study was the result of quite a bit of travel:
Although the great majority of the colleges studied are in the Central West, information was gathered from institutions located in twenty-two different states. All the data are based on information gathered by personal visits in either the year 1928-29 or the year 1929-30. The studies related to financial matters are based upon a painstaking analysis of the accounts in the business offices of the institutions.
Note: When did people stop using the median! It seems common practice during this time (and more accurate than today's common use of the mean):
Investigation as to the amount of expenditures for the library in the various colleges included in this study showed that the median annual expenditure per student for this purpose is $12.25. Institutions holding the highest type of accreditation, i.e., those on the approved list of the Association of American Universities, spend notably more per student ($14.21) than is spent by institutions not on the approved list ($9.03). The typical sum spend for library services is 4 1/2-5 per cent of the entire educational expenditure (p. 269).
Note: Quite a bit of discussion about how libraries allocate book collection funds. One dominating practice of the day was to allocate book collection funds by college department. Some libraries even went the route of a flat tax–so that no matter the department, its needs, or its use of the library, each department received the same base allotment.
Note: The authors discuss a number of important factors in book fund allocation:
The development of a satisfactory distribution of book funds among departments is actually a rather complicated matter. There are at least six important factors to be taken into account in allocating funds for new books to departments (p. 271).
Note: The authors comment on the above six factors:
A review of the six factors which should be taken into account in allotting funds for new books to various departments shows how complex the problem is. Clearly, no cut-and-dried formula, applicable alike to all institutions, can be expected to work satisfactorily. Two of the factors–the amount of new material coming out in the several fields, and the cost of books per volume unit in the several subjects–can well be reduced to a constant which is valid for all colleges alike. Another factor, the enrolments in the respective departments, can be reduced to statistical terms; and the keeping of adequate circulation statistics will yield valuable data on the relative use of library materials by the several departments. The last two factors discussed–the existing condition of the library collection, and the needs of new instructors–require individual attention in each college (pp. 273-274).
Note: An important comment, which I'm glad to see, because it hasn't and will most likely always be this way:
A matter that complicates still further the allocation of book funds to departments is the fact that colleges are utterly lacking in uniformity in their departmental organization (p. 274).
And, they shouldn't be classified as such:
Furthermore, these departmental groupings do not correspond closely in detail to the systems used in classifying library books (p. 274).
Note: This problem went away a long time ago, but I can see, for reasons I'll skip now, a possible resurgence:
A final problem relates to whether the funds allotted for the purchase of new books for the several departments shall be considered a part of the departmental budget or a part of the library budget (p. 275).
This entry is about:
Mackensen, Ruth Stellhorn. (1932). Four Great Libraries of Medieval Baghdad. The Library Quarterly, 2(3), 279-299. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301906
Note: The fifth article of the third issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Four Great Libraries of Medieval Baghdad.”
It was written by Ruth Stellhorn Mackensen, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: Hartford, Connecticut (No affiliation)
Note: Begins with a brief overview of libraries in Baghdad and their collections and then “describes four of the great libraries of Baghdad and the institutions which housed them” (p. 280).
Probably the most interesting aspect of these libraries is the important place they held in the cultural life of the time. They were no musty storehouses where books lay seldom used and at the mercy of ignorant attendants. Instead, one sees them as centers in which assembled literary men and learned doctors. Books were gathered by men who loved them, and were in constant use by scholars and eager students. These libraries were busy places. The librarians, frequently men noted for their attainments in many fields, went out or sent others to gather rare and precious books which, if necessary, were copied and translated into Arabic. The position of librarian in Muslim lands during the medieval ages must have been an honorable one, for in these four libraries, as in others, it was often filled by great scholars, chosen apparently for their knowledge of books. They were figures important in the society of their times and often at court, members, rather than mere servants, of the cultured and learned groups which gathered in the libraries (p. 281).
Note: The article is interesting, beautifully written, and I'm learning a lot because much of the topic lies outside my scope of knowledge.
Note: I like this passage:
Abd al Salām recalled an occasion when he was present at a class conducted by a noted grammarian, Abu Saīd al Sirāfi. A student was reading aloud from a philological work, and the master interrupted him to dissertate on a fine point of grammar illustrated by a quoted poem. Abd al Salām differed openly with the professor's explanation, thereby humiliating Al Sirāfi's son who was present. He arose at once, returned to his shop (he was a butter merchant), sold his business, and took to study. He devoted himself exclusively to learning until he became a scholar of the highest rank, and then composed a treatise in which he explained the troublesome verses which had brought embarrassment to his august father (pp. 291-292).
Note: Another nice remark (leaving out the anecdote, which is delightful):
The somewhat trivial anecdote shows the concern of a librarian for the books in his care, and also that librarians were not above playing the sort of pranks one might rather expect from run boys (p. 293).
Reflection: A few weeks ago I was telling someone about this reading project of mine and I said that if I were able to teach a library history doctoral seminar, I could see myself assigning at least the first couple of volumes of LQ for reading. I think that leads to an important argument for my thesis about the importance of the journal as a whole unit as opposed to an isolated reading of selected articles. I'll need to pursue this in my paper.
Note: The author takes a jab:
Perhaps it is an early example of the type of school which seeks to attract students by imposing buildings and modern equipment rather than by high standards of scholarship (p. 298).
This entry is about:
Hanson, J. C. M. (1932). Dr. Gottlieb August Crüwell, 1866-1931. The Library Quarterly, 2(3), 301-302. url:http://www.jstor.org/stable/4301907
Note: The sixth article of the third issue of the second volume of The Library Quarterly is titled “Dr. Gottlieb August Crüwell, 1866-1931.”
It was written by J. C. M. Hanson, who was affiliated with:
Affiliation: University of Chicago
Note: I wasn't planning to comment on non-research or non-scholarly articles, but I also didn't realize that I had saved such a piece. The last article in this issue is a notice that Dr. Gottlieb August Crüwell had passed away. Hanson writes a little about his life and his contributions, which include a piece that was published in the previous issue. Hanson comments are touching and I'm surprised to find myself a little sad. A photograph of Dr. Crüwell resides on the europeana.eu digital library Crüwell, Gottlieb August.