Titles on Spines for Books in Arabic or Hebrew
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Hello to everyone. I thought posting an odd question on libraries here was the best place to get an answer...
In another thread in another group, we discussed lately of the way titles are written ALONG spines, and of the pros and cons of the English/American standard (top to bottom) vs the "Continental" standard (bottom to top).
A good reason (IMHO) to adopt the first standard is that, in a library, books are classified from left to right on the shelf, and it is more logical to progress along the shelf from left to right while being able to read the titles correctly.
Discussing this, we were wondering how libraries in, say, Cairo and Jerusalem, classified books on the shelves. From right to left, which would be logical with the way Arabic and Hebrew are written, or from left to right? If they classify books from left to right on the shelves, the logical way to write titles along the spines would be from top to bottom, so that it would be easier for somebody walking along the shelf from right to left (ie following the alphabetical order for instance) to read them.
Is there anybody here, well-aware of customs in Arabic and Hebrew libraries, who could comment on this? Thanks in advance.
Discussing this, we were wondering how libraries in, say, Cairo and Jerusalem, classified books on the shelves. From right to left, which would be logical with the way Arabic and Hebrew are written, or from left to right?
I can't answer your question generally, but I can tell you that I've seen a multivolume Arabic work (an encyclopedia, perhaps?), whose volumes were supposed to be placed from right to left on the shelf, because the spines made a beautiful design if they were placed that way. (Our library, being an English-speaking library, had put the volumes in order from left to right. I switched them because I wanted the spine design to look right and because I figured that anyone who wanted to refer to the work would be familiar enough with Arabic to figure it out.)
Pepys good question. I have a lot of Arabic titles in our library and in nearby libraries but I never really paid attention to how the spine is written (oddly enough). I'm on vacation now but I'll check when I get back in a couple of days and let you know if you're still looking for an answer that is.
The titles on most Hebrew volumes I own do indeed read from bottom to top when the book is placed upright on a shelf.
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