Articles or books about cataloging notable people's personal libraries?
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Does anyone on this group know of any good articles or books on how best to create an "official" (i.e., non-LibraryThing) catalog or bibliography of a famous person's personal library? I'm thinking of works from the library science / archives / bibliography literature. I've done a bit of searching, and these are the likeliest-looking sources I've found so far:
1. Steven L Hensen and Library of Congress, Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts: A Cataloging Manual for Archival Repositories, Historical Societies, and Manuscript Libraries (Washington, D.C: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 1983).
2. David W Carmicheal, Organizing Archival Records: A Practical Method of Arrangement and Description for Small Archives, 2nd ed., American Association for State and Local History book series (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2004).
Probably some basic works about how to compile a good descriptive bibliography, too, would help, whether or not they focus on famous people's libraries.
I'd say the best way would be to look at some good examples (like Kevin Hayes' bibliographies of Ben Franklin or William Byrd II's libraries, William Trevor et. al's "The annotated library of Graham Greene", &c. - if you want more examples I can put together a more complete list); they'll give you a good sense of what you want to include (which will differ of course depending on the person and their books, &c.).
My masters' thesis included one of these (of a college library, not a person's, but they work similarly); I found it easiest to figure out what information I had and what information I wanted to include first, then looked and experimented until I found a good format for the data. There's no "one-size-fits-all" recipe book out there for this sort of thing (at least none that I've seen; it sort of depends on the data available and, most importantly, the purpose of the list, since depending on the audience you may want to include more or less data as appropriate).
It would be great to hear from others on this too!
> 2. I'm interested in what you said about your master's thesis. Which college library did you work on? Do you have an electronic version that you'd be willing to share?
I did actually find a pretty good article on this -- it's aimed at fairly big college libraries, but is nevertheless useful: Joseph R. Nicholson, “Making Personal Libraries More Public: A Study of the Technical Processing of Personal Libraries in ARL Institutions,” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Cultural Heritage 11, no. 2 (2010): 106 -133.
See link (paywalled) at http://rbm.acrl.org/content/11/2/106.short
The most important point it made, for me, is that personal libraries are both bibliographic and archival collections. Here I'm thinking mainly of physical collections, mind you, where the books have marginalia and inclusions. University libraries mostly created both MARC records *and* finding aids for personal libraries. Basically, "cataloging" a personal library can draw on the disciplines of cataloging, archiving, and descriptive bibliography, depending on what kind of thing you want to output. As you said, Jeremy, the format of the data will depend on the use you want people to make of it. And there aren't any real standards for personal libraries, really.
There's probably also some discussion in the descriptive bibliography literature, and I found one or two sources aimed at small historical / literary associations that I need to look at.
> 4. Thanks for the link. I downloaded the article and it was worth it for the footnote references alone.
>3 - Sorry for the delay! My thesis was an essay on and bibliography of Union College's "First Purchase," the library originally ordered for the college in 1795-6. The article was published in Libraries & the Cultural Record in '08 (wow, I can't believe it was that long ago!).
I'm going to be working on getting the data into LT soon, actually, since I'm giving a talk at Union in November and want to be able to demo LLs with an appropriate example :-)
>4 - Thanks for that; hadn't seen that one (sadly my journal backlog is terribly long ... I need to devote a month or two of reading-time to journal catchup!)
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