DIFFERENT editions of a book are distinguished by Roman numerals in bold type, I, II, etc, and they are so referred to in the text, as for example, ‘edition III‘, not ‘the 1908 edition’. For each edition the description follows a uniform plan in six sections as follows:
Other publication data
Pagination and contents
Location and description of individual copies
The first five sections are somewhat formal in layout and concisely worded so as to provide the maximum possible information in a limited space. The reader is recommended to study the following explanations with the aid of an actual example, preferably of a large book like the current edition of the Scots’ Guards collection (No. 374 below).
Title and imprint. These are quoted verbatim from the title-page, with original spelling and punctuation, and with the original line endings indicated by the customary slant dashes (/). When the wording is divided into two or more columns, this too is indicated by means of multiple slant dashes. At the beginning of the first column a triple dash (///) is used, followed by single dashes at the end of each line in the column, then a double slant dash to mark the end of that column and the beginning of the next, and so on until at the end of the last column comes another triple dash. Ornaments, ruled lines, woodcuts etc, are not usually described, although there may be some appropriate mention later in the discussion. No distinctions are drawn between varieties and sizes of lettering (italic, bold, CAPITAL etc). All initial capitals are reduced to lower case except of course in proper names. Incorrect or archaic spellings are reproduced, with [sic] in square brackets following in one or two instances where there might otherwise be doubt. The long S which occurs in some older books is reduced to s, but y for th is retained in such words as ye and yt (short for that). The various forms Mac, Mc, Mc, have been retained, and likewise the use of capitals in MacDonald as distinct from Macdonald. The form M’ with the reversed apostrophe, favoured by some nineteenth-century printers, has however been changed to Mc.
The distinction between title and imprint is easier to observe than to describe. The title usually contains some description of the contents, the name of the author, editor or compiler and possibly some abbreviated form of dedication. The imprint gives the name and address of the publisher and/or the printer, and sometimes the date. Usually the two are separated by a ruled line, or an ornamental woodcut, or are distinguished by different typography, but sometimes they run on continuously. I have found it convenient in all cases to separate title and imprint into two paragraphs of my description. Then in describing later editions it becomes possible to say merely ‘Title as in edition 1’, or ‘Imprint as II except for date, 1883‘. The exact wording of an imprint, or the complete list of the publisher’s addresses in various towns, is often most important evidence as to the date of publication.
Other publication data. Under this heading are listed various other wordings which appear on the title-page, such as ‘Entered at Stationers’ Hall’, ‘Second revised edition’, the price, and the engraver’s signature. It is usually quite clear from the typography or layout that these are not to be regarded as integral parts of either title or imprint. In successive editions of the same book they may be changed while the rest of the title-page is preserved unaltered; sometimes they may be printed from moveable type while the rest of the page is engraved or lithographed. Even when the entire page is done from a single copper plate at the same time, these details may be placed in characteristic positions independently of the main wording. In describing them, I have quoted the exact wording and punctuation used and have tried to give an adequate indication of position on the page. Here and elsewhere it should be appreciated that my aim is not to give an exact visual impression of the original page (that can be done easily and cheaply by photocopying) but to enable the reader to match a particular copy of a book with the descriptions given, and so identify the edition.
Some books have half-titles, i.e. separate pages with shortened or different titles; some have differently worded titles on the cover or spine; some have titular headings on the first page, or running throughout every page. These may be quoted wholly or in part, in the description, but usually only if they contain some additional information. In the same way the dedication may be quoted wholly or in part if it seems relevant.
Pagination and contents. This is simply a list of the contents of the book, page by page. Many books have more than one series of page numbers, the commonest arrangement being a series of small roman numerals, i, ii, etc, for the preliminary pages, followed by arabic, 1, 2, etc, for the main text. Some pages are unnumbered but have implied numbers as may be seen from the numbering of preceding or following pages. Thus pp 1-15, , 17-32 means a run of thirty-two pages, all numbered in arabic numerals except that the page which ‘should’ be numbered 16 is unnumbered. Most commonly, the first few pages of a book are unnumbered, and the numbering sequence actually begins at some number higher than one. In that case the implied numbers of the early pages can be obtained by counting backwards, with some such result as: p [i], title; p [ii], index; pp [iii], iv-vi, introduction, etc. In many books, however, none of the preliminary pages is numbered, and to overcome this difficulty I have simply introduced a complete series of numbers, all shown in square brackets, thus: p [i], title; p [ii], index; pp [iii-iv], preface; pp 1-32, music, etc, meaning that there are two unnumbered leaves, comprising four pages, followed by the main body of the text, numbered upwards from 1 in the usual way. Unnumbered pages at the end of a book are treated in a similar way by counting onwards from the last numbered page. One further convention of numbering remains to be mentioned, namely that when one side of a leaf is described and not the other, the side omitted is assumed to be blank. This usually happens among the preliminary pages, as p [i], title; p [iii], contents; pp v-vi, preface; etc. This indicates that the title and contents are printed on two successive leaves and that pages [ii] and [iv], the reverse sides of these, are completely blank. When there are no implied numbers the description might run simply: title; preface; pp 1-32, music; etc, and this would indicate that again the title is printed on one side of the one leaf, the next side being blank; the preface on one side of the next leaf, the other side being blank; after which the first numbered page is page 1 of the music. The same description could have been written out at greater length as p [i], title; p [ii] blank; p [iii], preface; p [iv] blank; pp 1-32, music; etc, and indeed wherever it seems necessary to avoid confusion, I have indicated the blank pages explicitly.
Each major subdivision of the text is mentioned in the description. Subtitles and headings are sometimes quoted verbatim (and hence placed in quotation marks), but more often not. A book may possess a foreword, a preface, an introduction, or all three. The terms are not synonymous but they are sometimes used incorrectly, and where this has happened I have reproduced the incorrect usage. I have not however distinguished between a table of contents (items listed in order of appearance) and an index (items listed alphabetically) unless both occur in the same book.
If tunes are numbered, the numbering is given; if not, the total number is given.
Entirely blank leaves at the beginning or end of a book are usually part of the binding and therefore not included in the description, but occasionally they are uniform with the printed pages – in technical language they form part of a signature. This is usually stated, but some may have been overlooked since it is difficult to determine the physical make-up of a tightly bound book.
Location and description of individual copies. This paragraph gives the location of every copy of the edition in question known to me, and appends further details applicable only to individual copies.
The library symbols used are tabulated below. Asterisks are used to denote the copies I have examined personally. The binding is mentioned if there is good reason to think that it is original, or if it has some bearing on the history of the book. The dimensions of the pages are given in inches (I inch = 25.6 mm), with the rule that the ‘vertical’ dimension parallel with the spine is given first. The commonest size for a large music book of 12 staves or more is folio, or about 14 x 10″. A few are oblong folio or 10 x 14″. The commonest smaller size is oblong quarto, usually about 7 x l0″, but the earliest small books are smaller still, about 4 x 9″. Although the terms folio, quarto, octavo, etc have precise meanings, I have not used them since there are many exceptional sizes.
Any serious imperfections in a book, such as missing pages or faulty binding, are briefly noted, and so are any manuscript notes, owners’ signatures, etc which seem likely to be of historic interest.
Library accession dates are also shown at this point whenever they have a bearing on the dating of a book.
Discussion. In this section are given sources of information and critical notes on the preceding sections, together with any ancillary information relevant to the dating, or authorship. With books of more than ordinary interest there may be notes on historical background or influence, or perhaps more details of the contents. The books and articles cited as authorities here are listed on p. 74 below.
Multi–volume sets. All of the above applies to books of one volume only. Sets of more than one volume are mostly treated in the same way, however; for an example see Holden’s collection (105). The description follows the same sequence of paragraphs, and where nothing is said to the contrary it is to be assumed that what is said applies equally to each volume. Often the title-pages are printed from the same plate. Small differences between titles are shown by interpolations in square brackets, e.g., ‘The first [second etc] part of a collection of . . .’ but titles which differ extensively are given in full. Sometimes the volume number is placed on the title-page in the same way as the edition number, that is, close to the title or imprint but not integral with either, in which case it is placed where it belongs, with the other publication data. With large numbers of volumes in a series it becomes convenient to show pagination and contents in tabular form.
Further difficulties arise with long series, when the earlier volumes pass into second and later editions while the later volumes are still to appear. It may happen that title, imprint or arrangement of contents change in the course of production, so that the last few volumes of the series must be considered to begin in a later ‘edition’ than the first few; and all is compounded by the fact that by no means all of the earlier editions have survived. The greatest complexity is reached with the three-volume collection of J. & R. Glen (315) and the seventeen volumes of David Glen (316), issued over a period of 25 years with numerous subsequent alterations. The reader may well disagree with the decisions made in these and similar cases; the most I can hope is that the information available to me at the time of writing is correctly and clearly displayed.