«The day has not yet come…»: book-jackets in library catalogue

Puglisi, Paola «The day has not yet come…»: book-jackets in library catalogue., 2014 . In Faster, Smarter and Richer. Reshaping the library catalogue, Roma (Italy), 27-28 February 2014. (Unpublished) [Presentation]

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English abstract

In 1971 the eminent American scholar G. Thomas Tanselle wrote: «the day has not yet come when one can learn anything of a library’s holdings of jackets by consulting its catalogue». Forty-three years after, library catalogues are tools that welcome lots of users’ instances; but although, they remain sealed regarding the book-jackets issue, in relation to that one, though it came from a very central area of book disciplines (especially in Anglo-American studies). Book-jackets, whose “original sin” is their being physically separate from the book, are nevertheless essential documents for the history of publishing. Their first purpose nowadays is to induce to buy the book, and, for this reason, they carry important paratextual information – both as author’s will and as a part of a marketing strategy; so that they are also, in itselves, a means to promote reading. Librarians always made use of book-jackets in indexing practices – but, paradoxically, they still don’t allow credit to them as object of catalographic description. Many libraries still do not keep book-jackets, or just keep them by sample: and so do many legal deposit libraries, whose mission should be the national publishing heritage preservation. Only a few specialised libraries somehow describe the book-jackets they keep. That being stated, this paper aims at meeting the FSR Conference issue about «the value of cataloguing and “real” library»: in fact, it intends to examine whether – and how – the item «book-jacket» is met in some of the greatest catalographic tools (codes, guidelines, standards); it proposes to consider the reason why cataloguers usually “distrust” book-jackets; and it also aims at checking, in recent professional literature, if there is any changed attitude in taking into account book-jackets and their library management (e.g. as authoritative source): and especially whether conditions exist in order to change for the better, that is up to the point to consider the book-jacket no more just as a source, but as an object of cataloguing. Anyhow, the author’s intention is to represent the necessity, for every scholar interested in it, to access to the information about a single book’s book-jacket directly from the library catalogue, or at least from the national bibliography; furthermore, to access to the information (if given) about the responsibility for the graphic design of the book cover. Any problem related to the physical separateness of the book-jacket (e.g. the possibility to make a mistake in matching a book-jacket and a single edition of a book) nowadays is to be solved, in the author’s opinion, thanks to the many tools at the professional community’s disposal; while the scholar community could receive a great advantage by such an enriched information.

Item type: Presentation
Keywords: bibliographic description, book-jackets, dust-jackets
Subjects: I. Information treatment for information services > IA. Cataloging, bibliographic control.
Depositing user: Ilaria Fava
Date deposited: 07 Mar 2014 15:36
Last modified: 02 Oct 2014 12:30
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/22690

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