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For a full discussion, see Fredson Bowers, Principles of Bibliographical Description (1949), esp. pp. 40-108, 393-426; and G. T. Tanselle, "The Bibliographical Concepts of Issue and State," PBSA, 69 (1975), 17-66.


As opposed to plates, or other illustrations, that individual owners have had bound into books. A descriptive bibliography is normally concerned with the printing and publication history of books, not with the subsequent alterations made by owners in particular copies. Of course, a bibliographical catalogue of a single collection is necessarily concerned with particular copies and may provide full descriptions of them; some "extra-illustrated" copies are in fact of great interest and are well worth describing in detail.


For a useful survey of the field, with many references to the earlier literature, see Robert W. Karrow, Jr., "Cartobibliography," AB Bookman's Yearbook, 1976, 1:43-52. The pioneer is usually considered to be Herbert George Fordham, who in 1901 set forth his methods for dealing with maps of Hertfordshire in the Transactions of the Hertfordshire Natural History Society and then printed a revised version in Studies in Carto-Bibliography, British and French, and in the Bibliography of Itineraries and Road-Books (1914) as the fifth chapter, "Descriptive Catalogues of Maps: Their Arrangement, and the Details They Should Contain" (pp. 92-118). In his recommendations for descriptions with "full detail," he recognized the importance of watermarks, and he specified that the book from which a map "is taken or with which it was published should be fully noted" (p. 99). R.A. Skelton, in Decorative Printed Maps of the 15th to 18th Centuries (1952), states that the "terms used in carto-bibliography . . . differ from those of book-bibliography" (p. 4), and his summary is based on the practice of the British Museum map catalogue, although he must admit, "There is no general agreement on the use of the terms 'issue' and 'edition' when applied to maps." Nearly two decades later Skelton could still say that "the sooner we have a common language of analysis, identification, and description in which to speak to one another, the better"; see his Maps: A Historical Survey of Their Study and Collecting (1972), esp. pp. 103-105. In the same year as Verner's essay, David Woodward remarked that carto-bibliography was "still in its infancy" and that it "does not yet even have established definitions of the terms used" (p. 113); see "The Study of the History of Cartography: A Suggested Framework," American Cartographer, 1 (1974), 101-115.


Two years later, in his summation at the 1976 ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Preconference, Verner mentioned Karrow's statement (in the paper cited in note 3 above) that the methods and terms of descriptive bibliography are applicable to maps and then added: "As a sometime cartobibliographer my first inclination is to support that position, yet the more I play at studying maps the more I come to realize that similarity does not justify an assumption of identicalness" (AB Bookman's Yearbook, 1976, 1:71-72). He is unfortunately correct when he goes on to say that bibliographers sometimes "tend to shun the maps contained in the books they describe" (although I would say they do so for different reasons from the ones Verner implies).


This is not intended as a comprehensive definition. I have attempted such a definition in "The Bibliographical Concepts of Issue and State" (see note 1 above), p. 65. The definitions set forth there are printed in shorter form in Bibliographic Description of Rare Books (Library of Congress Office for Descriptive Cataloging Policy, 1981), pp. 61-62.


Verner seems not to understand fully the two definitions he cites. He quotes McKerrow's definition as "'the whole number of copies of a book printed at any one time or times from one setting-up of type.'" He then says that "Bowers expands this to include '. . . all issues and variant states existing within its basic type-setting, as well as all impressions.'" Bowers's statement, however, does not expand or enlarge the definition; it is more precise and explicit than McKerrow's, but it coincides with McKerrow's perfectly.


Even so, neither "plate" nor "plates" seems a satisfactory collective noun to equate with "edition."


Or from substitutes for those formes, such as stereotype plates or photographic negatives.


An indication of the difficulty of comprehending this passage is afforded by the fact that this definition of "edition" is attributed to Skelton. Yet two sentences earlier Skelton's use of the term was apparently rejected: "By Skelton's definition . . . edition is synonymous with state as defined herein and is therefore redundant."


But not always: differences in inking, for example, or foreign matter on the type forme at the time of printing might create different states in the printed product, without reflecting differences in the type itself.


The ISBD (CM): International Standard Bibliographic Description for Cartographic Materials (1977) makes provision for "multi-level description," one level relating to the entire book, another to the individual maps. (Its focus, of course, is library cataloguing, not full-scale bibliographical description.)


Verner's final comment on "state" is hard to comprehend, especially in light of the fact that he accepts the term as a useful one in carto-bibliography. A paragraph headed "Variant state" reads: "Like the term issue, the term variant state has a very precise meaning in bibliographical description for which there is no equivalent in carto-bibliography, consequently the term variant state should not be used with reference to maps" (p. 86). What distinction he is making between "state" and "variant state" is difficult to see: there is no need to use the word "state" in the first place unless some difference is involved, and thus a state is by definition "variant" from another state.


He then lists two exceptions: when "plate wear has caused imperfect printing" (although, he points out, this process is so "gradual" that it does not "permit the assignment of the precise time the particular copy was pulled"), and when "dated watermarks in the paper show a sequence of printing over time." Both these kinds of evidence are tricky; and in any case the determination of "a sequence of printing over time" or "the precise time" when a copy was printed—obviously valuable information to establish—is not the same thing as assigning copies to discrete printings.


He adds that normal plate wear is "not considered to be a change in the plate," although evidence of wear "would be noted when appropriate." One can agree that normal wear does not necessarily produce a state, but it would be unfortunate if his discussion were taken to mean that states can be produced only by intentional action, for they can also result from accidents to which a plate is subjected.


Some differences might result from the process of printing. Cf. the discussion of "variant copy" that follows.


This problem is concisely illustrated by a passage in another of Verner's papers, "Carto-Bibliography," Western Association of Map Libraries Information Bulletin, 7, no. 2 (March 1976), 31-38. In a brief section on description, he says: "Although the description is derived from a printed map it is actually the plate from which the copy was printed that is being described. This is done indirectly, of course, since the plate itself can be studied only through an examination of the impressions pulled from it" (p. 35). (This paper is reprinted, slightly revised, as "The Study of Early Printed Maps" in AB Bookman's Weekly, 58 [12 July 1976], 194, 198, 200, 202-204, 206.)


A more puzzling, but less significant, question is why Verner felt the need to define "change" as a technical term, and one applicable only to maps: he had already defined "state" and indeed had said there that its use in letterpress description essentially coincided with its use in carto-bibliography.


As when he says that edition is "determined by one thing only—the imprint" (p. 88). He devotes a chapter to matters of "Cartographic Nomenclature" (pp. 83-89).


And before his earlier article on "Criteria for Classifying Hand-Printed Books as Issues and States," PBSA, 41 (1947), 271-292.


Krummel is said on the title page to have "compiled" the work, and he asserts in his "Acknowledgments" that the book should be "viewed as a group effort." Nevertheless, he is responsible for the final form of the text; and the section on terminology that is to be discussed here is one that he explicitly accepts more responsibility for (in that section, he says, "I will concede to having pressed the case for several favorite interpretations").


This position had previously been supported in general terms by some prominent writers on music bibliography. C. B. Oldman, for instance, in "Collecting Musical First Editions," New Paths in Book Collecting, ed. John Carter (1934), pp. 93-124, says that, although some modification of the usage of book collectors may be unavoidable, "there seems no justification for any radical departure from current usage" (p. 105). Cecil Hopkinson, in "The Fundamentals of Music Bibliography," Journal of Documentation, 11 (1955), 119-129 (reprinted in Readings in Descriptive Bibliography, ed. John Bush Jones [1974], pp. 57-70), asks whether the descriptive bibliography of music is "the same as that of books," and he answers, "I cannot see that it differs greatly" (p. 120 [58]). (Contrast the report of the panel discussion led by Hopkinson, "Towards a Definition of Certain Terms in Musical Bibliography," in Music, Libraries, and Instruments, ed. Unity Sherrington and Guy Oldham [1961], pp. 147-155, where Richard S. Hill is said to have favored "a more adult approach to music-bibliography . . . as he was fearful of it becoming far too much like book-bibliography"—because musicians are "not interested in variants of a typographical nature" [p. 152]. O. E. Deutsch also took the position that terms from letterpress bibliography are not appropriate for music [p. 149]. In a significant earlier article, "Music Bibliographies and Catalogues," Library, 4th ser., 23 [1942-43], 151-170, Deutsch had said that music books "are in many respects more closely allied to maps than to type-set books" [p. 151].)


The wisdom of saying "the same printing surfaces" can be questioned. For example, copies printed from standing type and from stereotype plates made from that type are parts of the same edition, but two different printing surfaces are involved. What links such copies (or others produced by offset from them) is that they all reproduce the results of a single act of typesetting. One should probably refer, therefore, to acts of typesetting, engraving, and so on.


That is, in this sense. "Plate" is of course commonly used as a collective noun when referring to pieces of silverplate and could be similarly used for a group of copper-plates or stereotype plates.


Cf. note 5 above.


The use of "re-issue" here could also be refined. The item is a reissue from the point of view of the publication history of each of the individual selections: part of the edition of each of the selections was reissued in the composite volume. But that volume of selections as an entity had not appeared before, and therefore the volume itself is not a reissue.


Krummel glosses this sentence in his "Supplement to the Guide for Dating Early Published Music," Fontes artis musicae, 24 (1977), 175-184: "It should be understood that the word 'text' here refers to a physical presentation . . . but not necessarily a different content" (p. 176).


The same point is made again when the term "version" (referring to the "content" of a work) is introduced for the use of editors: "Different versions may be manifest in different editions or states, but rarely in different issues" (p. 48).


In discussing issue earlier, he claims that "most re-issues of music are the result of a new printing of copies" (p. 31).


The next paragraph, analyzing another example, cites the following among the characteristics producing a "new issue": "Title-page references changed," "New prices, engraved," "New street addresses," "New publisher." Impression is not mentioned; but if any of the changes mentioned coincided with a new impression, they would not be signs of issue, unless one defines issue in such a way that it subsumes impression.


In Krummel's impressive survey of the various physical aspects of musical documents and prints, "Musical Functions and Bibliographical Forms," Library, 5th ser., 31 (1976), 327-350, there is a section on engraved editions that continues to refer to "standard edition-issue-state-impression terminology" (p. 337). (He adds that his discussion of these matters in the Guide was "greeted with a mixture of indifference and hostility." The Guide, he continues, "offers nothing more than a sketchy outline for a bibliographical method appropriate to published music since 1700.")


The inclusion of the phrase "earliest copy" is questionable. Although one is interested in the earliest form of a publication, one must also—as a historian—be interested in every other form, so long as it is a form put on sale by the producer or publisher and not a form put together by someone else after publication. Two pages later Krummel defines "earliest copy" as "a hypothetical copy which was printed as part of the first impression and offered for sale on the very day of publication," and he then adds that this idea is "a counterpart to the general bibliographer's concept of 'ideal copy.'" But ideal copy refers not simply to the earliest published form but to any published form—as opposed to forms produced, by accident or design, in the course of the post-publication history of the copies. (Cf. note 54 below.)


This is not the place to present detailed definitions of these terms. Their signification should in fact be evident from the foregoing discussion; and full definitions can be found in print in the Bowers and Tanselle works cited in note 1 above.


Just as the context will normally indicate whether "plate" is being used to refer to the printed impression or to the engraved plate itself—though to avoid possible ambiguity, "copperplate" or simply "copper" should be used in the latter instance. (On this and related matters I have benefited from discussions with Thomas V. Lange.)


Printings are often, but by no means always, labeled for what they are or readily distinguishable by date or other prominent feature. In any case, since printing subsumes issue in the classification, the determination of separate printings takes precedence over the establishment of characteristics of issue. A new printing is regarded bibliographically as a discrete group of copies representing a publishing decision, even when it is not easily distinguishable from the preceding printing and when the publisher is not taking a different approach to the marketing of the work. Bibliographers must be concerned with both production and publication history, as the terms printing and issue suggest; that a given group of copies comes from a separate press run is a basic physical fact that is unavoidably a fact of publication history as well. (There are instances when it is more difficult to accommodate printing and publishing history at the same time, as when duplicate sets of stereotype plates produce separate, but simultaneous, sequences of printings. For such situations, James L. W. West III has suggested the term "plating," falling between edition and printing in the hierarchy; he is presently doing further work on this concept, which he introduced in William Styron: A Descriptive Bibliography [1977], where he attributes the idea to Joseph Katz. For some further comments on this general problem, see my discussion of Bowers's term "subedition," in "The Bibliographical Concepts of Issue and State" [note 1 above], pp. 57-62.)


"Bibliography—An Apologia," Library, 4th ser., 13 (1932-33), 113-143; reprinted in his Collected Papers, ed. J. C. Maxwell (1966), pp. 239-266. The discussion of illustrations from which the quotations here are drawn is on pp. 117-118 (243-244).


He says that "All illustrations are of course recorded in the list of contents" (p. lxiv); but they are not described because his practice is to reproduce most of them in his section of plates. However, states of engravings "are described so far as they have been ascertained" (p. lxxii). (See also pp. xlviii, cxxxiv, and cxliv.) Because inserted plates occur infrequently in the books Greg describes, he did not find it confusing to include references to them in his signature collations, even though the method he used (e.g., "C3+1") is the same as that employed for letterpress insertions.


He also treats engraved title pages very briefly (p. 76), suggesting that the engraved part be identified by a reference to a published illustration or described in the notes at the end of the whole description.


Depending on whether signature or page references are used elsewhere in the description. For modern books page numbers may prove more convenient (see p. 446).


As Bowers points out, engraved leaves or folds that were also put through the printing press to receive letterpress would qualify for inclusion in the signature collation.


He also introduces a convenient device of using the Greek letter lambda (followed by a plate number) to "signify an unsigned, unpaged leaf of letterpress opposite (or associated with) a plate" (p. cxlvii).


Particularly, one may suspect, for someone like Stevenson, who was not a botanist.


Further discussion of analytical and descriptive bibliography supported by the Hunt Botanical Library includes Ian MacPhail's "An Introduction to Bibliography for Botanists," Huntia, 1 (1964), 103-115. See also W. D. Margadant, "Descriptive Bibliography Applied to Botany," in Early Bryological Literature (1968), pp. 1-33.


"The Treatment of Plates in Bibliographical Description," Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History, 7, part 4 (1976), 469-488.


Cf. G. T. Tanselle, "Tolerances in Bibliographical Description," Library, 5th ser., 23 (1968), 1-12; reprinted in Readings in Descriptive Bibliography, ed. John Bush Jones (1974), pp. 42-56.


Bridson says, "It is essential that a bibliographical description of a plate should enable a distant reader to make a critical comparison with his own copy of a book, a situation that letterpress bibliography already fulfils" (p. 474). Although this statement is overly sanguine about the accomplishments of letterpress bibliography, the general approach it endorses is obviously to be encouraged.


This practice would be useful, for instance, in a case where one picture replaces another as the illustration for a particular quotation from the work being illustrated.


"The bibliographer," in his words, "needs to be able to describe some of the elements of syntax involved in making different processes of printed picture as well as being able to describe the graphic medium" (p. 473). One should consult Bridson for a concise listing of some of the variations in the ways etchings or lithographs or photoengravings can be produced, and for citations of books that may be of help with this matter (pp. 482-483). See especially William M. Ivins, Jr., Prints and Visual Communication (1953); Estelle Jussim, Visual Communication and the Graphic Arts: Photographic Technologies in the Nineteenth Century (1974); and Frank P. Restall, "The Printing of Illustrations," in Catalogue of the Edward Clark Library, ed. P.J.W. Kilpatrick (1976), pp. 407-524. For maps, see Five Centuries of Map Printing, ed. David Woodward (1975), and Woodward's "The Form of Maps: An Introductory Framework," AB Bookman's Yearbook, 1976, 1:11-20. For music, see the Guide for Dating Early Published Music, esp. pp. 75-101; D. W. Krummel, English Music Printing, 1553-1700 (1975); Richard J. Wolfe, Early American Music Engraving and Printing (1980); Krummel, "Graphic Analysis: It's Application to Early American Engraved Music," Music Library Association Notes, 2nd ser., 14 (1959), 213-233; and H. Edmund Poole, "Music Printing," in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), 15:232-260.


Cf. G. T. Tanselle, "The Identification of Type Faces in Bibliographical Description," PBSA, 60 (1966), 185-202.


Cf. G. T. Tanselle, "A System of Color Identification for Bibliographical Description," Studies in Bibliography, 20 (1967), 203-234; reprinted in Selected Studies in Bibliography (1979), pp. 139-170.


Bridson reports that color plates sometimes have pin-holes or register marks that may be useful evidence for bibliographical analysis (p. 474).


Cf. G. T. Tanselle, "The Bibliographical Description of Paper," SB, 24 (1971), 27-67; reprinted in Selected Studies, pp. 203-244. (This essay includes comments on the important contributions of Allan Stevenson to paper study.)


One should turn to his descriptions in the Hunt catalogue for examples of variations in treatment according to the perceived significance of individual books.


As in Lorene Pouncey, "The Fallacy of the Ideal Copy," Library, 5th ser., 33 (1978), 108-118, which quotes the statement in a climactic position as "approbation for the preceding discussion" (p. 117)—a discussion that grossly misunderstands ideal copy as a concept related to "the human 'habit of perfection'" (p. 115).


See G. T. Tanselle, "The Concept of Ideal Copy," SB, 33 (1980), 18-53.


Especially since the production of plates sometimes fell behind the production of letterpress, and the plates therefore did not always relate to the text in the same fascicle.


For an excellent description of a botanical plate book in fascicles, see Günther Buchheim, "A Bibliographical Account of L'Héritier's Stirpes novae," Huntia, 2 (1965), 29-58. See also Ian MacPhail, "Titford's Hortus botanicus americanus," Huntia, 1 (1964), 117-135.


When the plates are not numbered, one can give only a bracketed total—e.g., "plates [5] (B2v, B6. . .)"—as Bowers explains on p. 288.


A similar point could be made about typography and lettering, although it is complicated by the fact that some letterpress can appear on the same page as an engraving. But should the hand lettering in an engraved plate (transcribed as part of the contents of the plate) be described in the account of plates or in the paragraph on typography (enlarged to include lettering)?


Prints and Visual Communication (1953), p. 158.